December 22, 2023

Continuing rarities in the ABA Area this week include most of the incredible south Texas finds including Bare-throated Tiger-Heron (ABA Code 5), Roadside Hawk (5), Gray-collared Becard (5), Golden-crowned Warbler (4), Crimson-collared Grosbeak (4), and Brown Jay (4). The Red-flanked Bluetail (4) was seen at least into the beginning of the week, and a Gray Heron (4) continues in Nova Scotia.

An exciting 1st record for Alabama this week as a White Wagtail was wekk -photographed in Mobile. It is not clear which subspecies this bird represents but almost all of the east coast records of White Wagtail in the ABA Area represent the widespread ocularis, which breeds broadly across northern Asia.

It’s been a fun period in Georgia as a couple 1st records have turned up in recent weeks. What appears to be the state’s 1st Lesser Nighthawk was photographed at Sea Island in late November, and more recently, a Couch’s Kingbird was well-photographed and recorded on the Augusta CBC in Richmond Co.

In Vermont, a Dovekie was picked up and taken to rehab in Maine, but the state’s long-awaited 1st record of Ash-throated Flycatcher was a nice find in Middlebury.

And in Nebraska, a Whooper Swan (3) photographed in Douglas Co would be a state 1st, but records like this are always muddied by the prevalence of this species in private avifauna collections. Most records away from the edges of the ABA Area are heavily scrutinized, and there is a cluster of apparent escapee birds in the Great Lakes and upper Midwest. In any case, this is a tough job for the relevant records committee.

In Nova Scotia, a Black-throated Gray Warbler is a nice find in Barrington.

Maine enjoyed an apparent Spotted Towhee in Kittery, though those birds are always difficult to discern given the regularity of hybrids.

Good birds in Connecticut this week include a Thick-billed Murre in Stonington and a Tufted Duck (3) in East Haven.

Ontario boasted a surprising Limpkin on a CBC in Wheatley, and an Ancient Murrelet was seen in Thunder Bay, a remnant of the recent irruption of the species to the Great Lakes.

Ohio also gets on the board with an Ancient Murrelet in Lorain Co this week, the state’s 2nd.

Michigan’s 2nd record of Hammond’s Flycatcher was discovered on a CBC in Berrien Co.

Delaware had a Western Tanager this week in Kent.

In North Carolina, a Harris’s Sparrow in Buncombe Co is the latest of a dozen or so records.

Nice finds in Arkansas include a Say’s Phoebe in Lonoke Co and a Townsend’s Solitaire at Mt Magazine.

In Kansas, a Sage Thrasher was found in Johnson Co.

Texas’s latest Common Crane (3) was among wintering Sandhill Cranes in Castro Co.

And in British Columbia, a Pinyon Jay in West Vancouver is only the province’s 2nd record. The precense of the bird was made public this week, but it has apparently been visiting a feeder at a private residence since October.

Omissions and errors are not intended, but if you find any please message blog AT aba.org and I will try to fix them as soon as possible. This post is meant to be an account of the most recently reported birds. Continuing birds not mentioned are likely included in previous editions listed here. Place names written in italics refer to counties/parishes.

Readers should note that none of these reports has yet been vetted by a records committee. All birders are urged to submit documentation of rare sightings to the appropriate state or provincial committees. For full analysis of these and other bird observations, subscribe to North American Birds, the richly illustrated journal of ornithological record published by the ABA.