March 29, 2024

In continuing rarities, the Gray Gull (ABA Code 5), first seen in Florida this past summer, turned up again on the Alabama side of the border. Berylline Hummingbird (4) continues in Arizona, as does Red-flanked Bluetail (4) in New Jersey. And in Texas, the Cattle Tyrant (5), Roadside Hawk (4), Mottled Owl (5), Gray-collared Becard (5), Bare-throated Tiger-Heron (5), Brown Jay (4), and Crimson-collared Grosbeak (4) were all seen this week.

The first potential ABA Area 1st record of 2024 comes, perhaps predictably, from Florida who comes into the new year as hot as they left the old one. A Pearly-eyed Thrasher was discovered and subsequently photographed at Key West in Monroe Co. This is a fairly common and famously aggressive resident of the smaller Caribbean Islands, though it is absent on the large ones, save for Puerto Rico where it prefers disturbed, species-poor habitats.

The species is known for being a notorious colonizer and nest predator with the ability to fill unexploited niches throughout the Caribbean, and whose presence is partially blamed for depleted birdlife on a number of islands. It’s generalist ecology, however, means it has trouble competing in places with other larger generalist species, which explains its unusual absence on islands like Cuba and Hispaniola. It is found on the Bahamas, a short hop from Florida.

We don’t often have cause to mention DC in this species, but a Trumpeter Swan in the district this week represents a 1st.

Connecticut also boasted Trumpeter Swan this week, with a bird in Tolland Co representing that state’s 3rd.

Pink-footed Goose is increasingly regular in the northeast of the ABA Area, but one in Clinton Co, Pennsylvania is still notable enough for mention here.

And in California, a Piping Plover photographed in San Mateo Co this week is only the 6th for the state.

Omissions and errors are not intended, but if you find any please message blog AT 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.