January 22, 2021

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.

It’s a familiar slate of continuing rarities in the ABA Area headlined by the Spotted Rail (5) in Texas, along with Crimson-collared Grosbeak (4) and Blue Bunting (4). The Northern Jacana (4) is still in Arizona, as is the Cuban trio of Cuban Pewee (5), Black-faced Grassquit (4), and Red-legged Thrush (5) in south Florida. In waterfowl news, a Garganey (4) is still being seen in California, and the Tundra Bean-Goose (4) was seen early this week in Pennsylvania.

January always seems to be a good time for Euro thrushes in eastern Canada, and a Fieldfare (4) in Lévis, Quebec, makes that case convincingly. MOst of the ABA records of this migratory thrush comes from Quebec and the Atlantic provinces, though there are a few oddball records scattered throughout the continent.

One 1st record to report for this week, and it’s a spectacular one. A Ferruginous Hawk in Orange, New York, represents an Empire State 1st, and one of only a few records of this Great Plains raptor in the east.

Back to eastern Canada where a Gray Heron (5) in Burin, Newfoundland, is a provincial 6th.

Nova Scotia’s 3rd record of Spotted Towhee was photographed on Cape Sable Island this week.

In Maine, a Purple Gallinule that turned up at a Portland home got a little attention from the regular media.

Always exciting away from the far Arctic, a Ross’s Gull was a brief visitor to Hammonassett State Park, Connecticut.

New Jersey had a Townsend’s Warbler in Bergen. 

In Indiana, a Say’s Phoebe was seen in Gibson. 

Minnesota had an Ancient Murrelet in Lake Superior near Duluth, the second in the Great Lakes in the last couple weeks.

Mississippi’s 2nd record of Chestnut-collared Longspur was a nice find in Panola. 

Texas welcomes its third Blue Bunting of the winter, a stunning male in Victoria, and a Golden-crowned Warbler was seen in Cameron. 

California’s 3rd record of Baikal Teal was a male taken by a hunter in Colusa. 

And in Oregon, a pair of nice birds in the state’s 8th Vermilion Flycatcher in Linn and the state’s 15th Mountain Plover in Lane. 



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.