December 4, 2020
Because of rising COVID-19 cases in many states and provinces, the purpose of this report is to keep homebound birders caught up rare bird sightings across the ABA Area. We do not endorse the pursuit of rare birds beyond your local area. The ABA urges readers to respect state, provincial, and local restrictions on non-essential travel. The ABA’s Recording Standards and Ethics Committee has released guidelines on how birders should approach this ongoing pandemic and we urge birders, whether they are members of the ABA or not, to consider them when deciding whether to travel to see a rare bird. Stay safe and healthy, everyone.
Florida boasts a healthy mix of continuing ABA rarities in the southern part of the state, with Cuban Pewee (ABA Code 5), Red-legged Thrush (5), and Black-faced Grassquit (4) still being seen. In Arizona, the Northern Jacana (4) was seen again this week. Nova Scotia has more than one Little Egret (4), and a Garganey (4) continues in California.
The ABA Area’s rarity eyes turn to Texas this week, as we come into the peak period for Valley rarities. The latest is a stunning male Blue Bunting (4) in Hidalgo, which is the second individual in the last couple weeks.
That wasn’t all for Texas, though, as a Crimson-collared Grosbeak (4) was also seen in Hidalgo. Up the river a bit in Del Rio, a Rufous-capped Warbler (3) has been wowing birders. And in the western part of the state, a Clark’s Nutcracker turned up in Brewster.
Even our 1st records this week have a bit of a south Texas feel, as Illinois’s 1st Great Kiskadee was photographed in Will. Also good for the state, a Golden-crowned Sparrow is visiting a feeder in Rockford.
And in Virginia, a Couch’s Kingbird in Accomack, well photographed and recorded, is a 1st as well.
North Carolina was hopping this week, as the state’s 4th MacGillivray’s Warbler was found (by yours truly) in Dare, and the state’s 5th Varied Thrush turned up in Wake, not far from a Black-chinned Hummingbird.
Good for Delaware was a female-type Painted Bunting in New Castle.
Maine’s 2nd record of Rock Wren, a species having a very good irruption year, was seen in York.
In Quebec, it’s a sparrow double with a Golden-crowned Sparrow in Bas-Saint-Laurent and a Spotted Towhee at Gaspésie.
In Ontario, a Razorbill was seen in Niagara.
Notable for Minnesota was a White-eyed Vireo in Winona.
Always a good bird in the middle of the continent, a Gyrfalcon was seen in Greene, Iowa, this week.
Kentucky had both a Western Grebe in Jefferson and a surprising Northern Shrike in Muhlenberg.
In Missouri, the state’s 14th Vermilion Flycatcher was photographed in Dunklin and a Anna’s Hummingbird was visiting a feeder in Stone.
Evening Grosbeaks made it as far south as Lee, Alabama, this week.
Arizona had a Common Crane this week, in Cochise in the southern part of the state rather than the long-staying bird in the north.
Oregon’s 2nd record of Red-bellied Woodpecker was photographed in Cottage Grove.
And in British Columbia, an Arctic Loon was seen offshore in Qualicum.
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.
The Ontario Razorbill report was retracted shortly after it was posted.