May 4, 2023

On a quick programming note, there will not be a Rare Bird Alert post next week, as I will be up at the Biggest Week festival. We’ll reconvene the week after with what will almost certainly be a full docket of rare birds.

Continuing rarities in the ABA Area include the flock of Brown Jays (ABA Code 4) in Texas, and both Bahama Mockingbird (4) and Red-legged Honeycreeper (5) in Florida.

Who would have pegged Wisconsin as the site for one of the best rarities of the year? The state has seen a run of southwestern species of late including a Band-tailed Pigeon followed by the state’s 3rd Painted Redstart in Sauk this week. But the real banger came later with an extraordinary Flame-colored Tanager (4) in Milwaukee. This species has previously been recorded within the ABA Area only in Texas and Arizona, where it has nested, frequently with Western Tanagers, and it was not a particularly likely candidate for vagrancy in Wisconsin. But there is not doubting the identification. The bird has been seen by many birders during its stay so far.

The tanager slightly overshadowed what was also a mind-bending wandered in Georgia. A Baird’s Sparrow was seen in Fulton, in the Atlanta area, this week. This species is only slightly more expected than the tanager, with previous records from West Virginia, Maryland, and New York. This is the 1st not only for the state, but the entire southeast.

But that’s not all, up to Minnesota where an overshooting Swainson’s Warbler in Hennepin is a state 1st. And makes a very unlikely rarity pair with the discovery of a Brambling in Pine.

New Jersey enjoys a run of Caribbean rarities following sustained winds from the south and southeast that included a surprising Red-footed Booby (4) well inland in Burlington, a 1st for the state. Also noteworthy were a Gray Kingbird at Barnegat, and a White-winged Dove in Atlantic City that was wearing a MOTUS tracker fitted to it in southern Ontario.

And as Ohio becomes the center of the ABA Area birding world this coming week, they celebrate with another state 1st, a Heermann’s Gull in Lorain, which is the third new gull species for Ohio since the end of December. Also noteworthy was a Townsend’s Warbler in Lucas.

A Townsend’s Warbler seen this week at Point Pelee, in Ontario, might be the same individual previously seen in Ohio, as the sites are on opposte sides of Lake Erie.

Indiana’s 3rd record of Bullock’s Oriole was photographed this week at a feeding station in Greene.

Michigan enjoys a little of this southwestern flight with a Vermilion Flycatcher in Macomb.

Kentucky’s 3rd record of Limpkin was seen in Shelby. As is typical for this species now, the first was only last year.

One of the more surprising birds of the week comes from Labrador, where a Eurasian Jackdaw (4) was photographed in Muskrat Falls Labrador. This is perhaps the first record of this European corvid in the ABA Area in about 30 years. But it comes at a time when Northern Lapwing (4) and European Golden-Plover (4) was also showing up in St. John’s, on Newfoundland island.

Notable for Rhode Island was a well-documented King Rail in, appropriately, South Kingston.

New York had a Swainson’s Warbler in Suffolk.

Good for Kansas, was a Painted Redstart in far southwest Morton county.

In Louisiana, a Lazuli Bunting was photographed at a feeder in Mansfield.

Texas becomes the latest state to host a Garganey (3) this spring, with one in Floyd. Also a Slate-throated Redstart (4) was discovered in Lubbock.

In British Columbia, the province’s 9th record of Black-tailed Gull (4) was photographed near Victoria.

And in Washington, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was in Grays Harbor.

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.