Continuing rarities of note in the ABA Area include the small flock of Brown Jays (ABA Code 4) in south Texas, both La Sagra’s Flycatcher (4) and Bahama Mockingbird (4) in Florida, and the remarkable Red-flanked Bluetail (4) in California.
Mid-March is the peak time for records of Common Crane (3) in Nebraska, as the birds are regularly seen among large flocks of migrating Sandhills along the Platte River. That was the case this year as one was seen in Garden.
The strangest rarity news this week was not related to a bird seen in March, however. A photo of a Yellow-headed Caracara in Miami-Dade, Florida in January of this year surfaced this week. This widespread and nomadic raptor is one of the most common birds of prey in the tropical Americas and has been expanding northward, albeit slowly, in the last decade. Interestingly, this is not the first account of this species in the ABA Area, there are at least two others, from California and North Carolina, that were not accepted by local committees due to questions about provenance. Those questions are no doubt relevant when considering this individual, and anything frequently goes with regard to exotic species in south Florida. If more Yellow-headed Caracaras follow, this could be the beginning of a real movement but at this point it’s very difficult to say.
Out to Hawaii, where the state’s 2nd record of American Pipit was photographed at Alakai Swamp on the island of Kauai. The previous pipit record was one collected on the northwest Hawaiian Islands in the 60s, so this is a fairly exceptional record and only the second vagrant passerine ever recorded in Hawaii Volcanos National Park.
And in Washington, a Laughing Gull is a noteworthy find in Tokeland. There are fewer than 20 records for the state.
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.