May 22, 2020

Because of COVID-19 related Stay-at-Home orders in many states and provinces, the purpose of this report is to keep homebound birders caught up rare bird sightings across the ABA Area during spring migration. 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 unusual time and we urge birders, whether they are members of not, to consider them when deciding whether to travel to see a rare bird. Stay safe and healthy, everyone.

Arizona is still hopping with rare birds, with continuing Crescent-chested Warbler (ABA Code 4), Berylline Hummingbird (4), Common Crane (4), and Flame-colored Tanager (4) all seen this week. And in Maine, Little Egret (4) is sticking around into this week.

A unique storm system in the north Pacific earlier this week was pegged by the migration wizards at Birdcast as being potentially good for entraining trans-Pacific migrating shorebirds and dumping them on the Pacific coast. And like clockwork, a Bristle-thighed Curlew was seen not long after in Marin, California, representing what appears to be a 3rd record for the state.

Bristle-thighed Curlews breeds in Alaska and undergo an impressive cross-Pacific migration that takes them to southeast Asia, one of the longest migrations in the bird world. So while there are breeders in Alaska and frequent migrants in Hawaii, records in the rest of the ABA Area are exceptionally rare and pretty much only associated with this sort of north Pacific weather system.

Also in California, a Yellow-throated Warbler was seen in San Benito. 

There’s one 1st record to report, in Arizona, where a Clay-colored Thrush in Cochise would add that species to the state’s list. A previous account of this species in 2015, was evidently not accepted by the Arizona bird records committee on account of questionable provenance, but may well be re-evaluated in light of this bird, which would retroactively make it the 2nd, I suppose. Also, good for Arizona was the state’s 7th Arctic Tern in Pima. 

Notable for Utah, was a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Utah (the county in addition to the state).

Colorado had a Black Phoebe in Rio Grande this week.

British Columbia’s 10th record of Prothonotary Warbler turned up in Osoyoos.

A Black-headed Gull (3) in Iqaliut, Nunavut, would represent the territory’s 2nd.

Good for Michigan is a Mountain Bluebird in Marquette.

Indiana had a Ruff (3) in Marion. 

Always a nice bird inland, a Brown Pelican was seen in Dekalb, Tennessee, this week.

Sussex, Delaware, hosted a pair of nice birds this week in a Curlew Sandpiper (3) and a Long-tailed Jaeger.

In Mississippi, a Neotropic Cormorant was photographed right on the beach in Gulfport.

And in Florida, a Black-faced Grassquit (4) was well-photographed in Miami-Dade.  



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.