October 16, 2020

As it has all summer and well into the fall, the southwest part of the ABA Area has been full of great birds. This week is no exception, especially with continuing rarities like European Golden-Plover (ABA Code 4) in New Mexico, and Eared Quetzal (4), Northern Jacana (4), and Berylline Hummingbird (4) in Arizona.

Alaska has been quieter this year because of the pandemic, but birders willing to travel round the mainland have had some luck. Mostly notably with a Song Thrush (5) in Utqiagvik. This is not only an Alaska 1st but an ABA Area 2nd record following a bird from Quebec in 2017. And that wasn’t the only Eurasian surprise in Alaska this week. A Hooded Crane was killed by a hunter in the Delta Junction, another state 1st, but a bird that will undoubtedly re-open the debate surrounding the long-staying Hooded Crane of 2011-12. That bird was not accepted by the ABA Checklist Committee–a decision that was criticized by many ABA Area birders at the time–but a future acceptance of this Alaska bird would see that bird removed from its listing purgatory. Interesting questions to be sure!

Florida also had an great ABA Area duo this week, when 3 Bahama Swallows (4) were seen at the Florida Keys hawkwatch in Monroe and a Red-legged Thrush (5), the ABA Area’s 4th record, was seen in Key West. Notably, the thrush represents the Cuban subspecies rather than the Bahamanian, as with ABA’s previous Red-legged Thrush records.

In addition to the Alaska double, Virginia also checks in with a 1st record, appropriately a Virginia’s Warbler at even more appropriate Virginia Beach. 

It continues to be a great fall for western birds in the east, as further down the coast South Carolina had its 2nd record of Townsend’s Solitaire, in Georgetown.

Along the same lines, Louisiana’s 2nd Brewer’s Sparrow was seen in Bossier. 

Mississippi had two individual Vermilion Flycatchers this week, a sharp adult male near Biloxi and younger male in Jackson.

New Jersey becomes the latest state in the east to record a Northern Wheatear, when one was discovered this week at Forsyth NWR.

Pennsylvania also had a Vermilion Flycatcher in Philadelphia. 

And in New Hampshire, a Black-headed Grosbeak was visiting a feeder in Deerfield.

Maine had not one, but two Northern Wheatear this fall, one at Kennebunkport and another in Freeport. But the biggest find of the week was the state’s 2nd Gray Kingbird in Cumberland. 

Into Canada, where in New Brunswick a Townsend’s Solitaire was seen near Greenlaw.

Notable for Newfoundland was a Glossy Ibis near Shearston.

In Quebec, a Yellow-throated Warbler turned up at Côte-Nord.

Heading out west, Montana had its 2nd Heermann’s Gull in Lake. 

In Utah, the state’s 10th Broad-billed Hummingbird was visiting a feeder in Grand. 

At least two Nazca Boobies (4) were in California, in Del Norte and San Francisco.

Good for Oregon was a Wood Sandpiper at Ankney NWR in Marion. 

And in Washington, a White Wagtail was seen near Seattle, and two male Black-throated Blue Warbler was seen concurrently in the state, one in King and the other in Chelan.



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.