November 27, 2020
Because of rising COVID-19 cases in many states and provinces, the purpose of this report is to keep homebound birders caught up rare bird sightings across the ABA Area. 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 ongoing pandemic and we urge birders, whether they are members of the ABA or not, to consider them when deciding whether to travel to see a rare bird. Stay safe and healthy, everyone.
Lots of continuing rarities in the ABA Area here in the last week of #Novembird. The Common Pochard (ABA Code 4) is still relatively easily found in southwest British Columbia. Arizona still has a spectacular duo of Eared Quetzal (4) and Northern Jacana (4) along with a Streak-backed Oriole (4). The Black-faced Grassquit (4) in Florida is joined by continuing Red-legged Thrush (5) and Cuban Pewee (5). And in California, a Streak-backed Oriole (4) and a Garganey (4) are still being seen.
For the last few years, December in Florida has meant the return of La Sagra’s Flycatcher (4) at some location in the southern part of the state, typically the Keys. 2020 has been many things, but an exception to the La Sagra rule it is not, as the season’s first individual of this Caribbean Myiarchus showed up near Key Largo.
Some fun 1st records for this week, particularly in Michigan where a Cassin’s Finch in Keneewaw represents the first for the Great Lakes State of this finch that is, perhaps, undergoing a quiet irruption eastward this year. With Michigan’s 11th record of Sage Thrasher, also in Keneewaw, that county might feel more like Wyoming than Michigan these days.
The 1st Prince Edward Island record of Rock Wren was photographed in North Cape this week. This is a species that has been documented on the east coast with some regularity in recent years.
And in Virginia, a possible Brown Crested Flycatcher was found in Virginia Beach. This would be a 1st record, though caution is perhaps appropriate given the difficulty in identifying vagrant Myiarchus flycatchers. The consensus seems to be leaning towards the rare bird here, but we await further confirmation.
Maine also has a western vibe this week with a Bullock’s Oriole at a feeder in Freeport and a Black-throated Gray Warbler in Biddeford, both species that have seen many individuals show up in the east this fall.
Good for Nova Scotia, was a Bell’s Vireo at Cape Breton, along with a Little Egret (4).
New York had a Brown Booby (3) flying down the Hudson River in Manhattan.
Good for New Jersey but increasing in the Mid-Atlantic, a trio of Trumpeter Swans were seen in Monmouth.
In Alabama, a Buff-bellied Hummingbird was visiting a feeder in Foley.
Notable for Missouri was a Ferruginous Hawk in Barton.
In Iowa, a Lesser Goldfinch at a feeder in Burlington is one of only a few for the state.
Minnesota’s 6th a Glaucous-winged Gull, a young bird, was seen near Rosemount.
Nebraska becomes the latest state to host a Yellow-billed Loon, another species having a low-level irruption into the interior of the continent, in Lincoln.
Oklahoma hada Magnificent Frigatebird, the second for the fall, in Payne.
Texas’s 8th record of Elegant Trogan was found in Hidalgo, and the state’s 6th Heermann’s Gull was seen in Abilene.
Arizona has had a impressive couple weeks for Field Sparrow, with two this week representing the state’s 11th in Santa Cruz and 12th in Cochise.
And in British Columbia, a Dickcissel was a nice bird in Saanich.
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.
Brown-crested Flycatcher. The crest is brown, not the bird (unlike Great Crested Flycatcher)
No mention of VA’s state-first Thornscrub (Couch’s) Kingbird in Chincoteague?