May 17, 2024

Continuing rare birds include Mottled Owl (ABA Code 4) and Brown Jay (4) in southern Texas and Slate-throated Redstart (4) in west Texas.

This week brings quite the collection of interesting birds to the ABA Area. We start in Washington, where the state’s 1st Great Knot (4) was seen among a flock of Red Knots in Pacific Co. Most records of this large migratory shorebird in the ABA Area come from Alaska but there are a small handful of records in the Lower 48, scattered across the the continent. This is the fourth for the Pacific Northwest though, following records from Oregon and British Columbia.

Also in Washington, the state’s 2nd Cook’s Petrel (3) was seen from a repositioning cruise in Pacific Co waters.

Over to New Jersey, where an apparent Common Swift (5) was photographed in Cape May Co on the morning this report was written. This is a 1st state record and the third Lower 48 record for this enigmatic Old World species following records in California and North Carolina. Most ABA Area records of this bird come, unsurprisingly, from the ends of the continent, with both Alaska and Newfoundland hosting multiple past records.

Speaking of enigmatic wandering species, Minnesota hosted a shocking 1st record of Black-Rosy-Finch, photographed at a feeder in Lake Co and present for just one day. Of the three North American rosy-finch species, Gray-crowned is the only one with a regular pattern of vagrancy, but there are historic records of this species from South Dakota and Missouri, and even a previous, unaccepted, sight report from Minnesota.

And in California, the latest discovery of a Yellow-headed Caracara (5) was seen in urban Los Angeles Co which, if accepted, would represent a 1st record. This species is seeing something of a surge in the ABA Area, with recent sightings in Florida and Texas, the former recently accepted by local authorities and added to the ABA Checklist. The presence of this bird in a highly urban landscape and close to a major shipping terminal certainly prompts questions about how much, if any, assistance could have given to this bird by a friendly boat crew, but this species seems particularly prone to wandering at the moment under it’s own steam or with the help of humans.

Also in Los Angeles, California, the state’s 2nd Tropical Parula (3) has been well-documented by local birders.

Up to British Columbia, where the province’s 2nd record of Temminck’s Stint (4) was well-photographed in Victoria. This is only the third record of this species away from Alaska.

In Wyoming, two Gray-cheeked Thrushes in Goshen Co and Niobara Co represent the state’s 7th and 8th records.

A spectacular male Yellow Grosbeak (4) was visiting a feeder in Pueblo Co, Colorado, for one day this week, the state’s 2nd.

And in Michigan, the state’s 2nd White-winged Tern (3) was seen by many in Bay Co.

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.