October 21, 2022

It was a sensational week for rarities in the ABA Area, with greta quality and quantity of rare birds across the continent and more 1st records than many can remember in a very long time. Let’s jump right into it.

We start in California, which had a wild few days with two different Phylloscopus warblers turning up at opposite ends of the state, both representing 1st records. What was originally identified as an odd Tennessee Warbler in Los Angeles, itself a good bird for California, was shortly identified as the ABA’s 11th record of  Wood Warbler (5). This widespread European species was previously known only from the western Alaska islands, so southern California is quite a jump. In the days since its discovery it was been remarkably confiding and has shown well for many visiting birders.

California birders were stunned only a couple days later when word came out of another 1st record Phylloscopus, this time in Marin.  A Willow Warbler (4) was well-photographed, forcing many California listers into a difficult decision whether to go north or south.  Fortunately, both birds have stuck around.

It seems unfair for Michigan to go second, but that’s what happens when you double up on Old World warblers in the Lower 48, but the Great Lakes state had an absolutely incredible week itself. The discovery of the ABA’s 8th or so Variegated Flycatcher (5) in Huron, a state 1st, would be enough for many of the state’s birders, but the subsequent discovery of another state 1st, a Bar-tailed Godwit (3) at Whitefish Point in Chippewa, the very next day was nothing short of extraordinary.

And Wyoming also had an exceptional week, with both a Groove-billed Ani in Teton and a pair of Northern Hawk Owls in Park both representing 1st records. And if that wasn’t enough, an Ancient Murrelet was photographed at Yellowstone Lake in Teton, representing the state’s 3rd record.

North Dakota also boasts a 1st this week, with an Anna’s Hummingbird in Bismarck.

Birders on a pelagic out of Brooklyn, New York, were treated to an excpetional encounter with that state’s 1st Bermuda Petrel (3).

And to little District of Columbia, which had its 1st MacGillivray’s Warbler this week, not more than a few days after its 1st Say’s Phoebe as we noted last week.

And we haven’t even gotten to the absolutely min-blowing movement of Red-legged Honeycreepers occurring in Florida and around the Gulf of Mexico this week. We mentioned notable records in Florida and Louisiana last time, but Texas joins the fun this week with its 2nd record of Red-legged Honeycreeper (5) in Jefferson. Florida continues to add records of Red-legged Honeycreepers (5) from an ever-growing number of counties including Palm Beach, Monroe, and  Miami-Dade. This influx certainly suggests that these birds are of natural origin rather than from the cage bird trade as has been suspected with previous sightings.

Texas also had a Fork-tailed Flycatcher (3) this week in Cameron . 

Notable for Kansas was an Anna’s Hummingbird at a feeder in Garden City.

Oregon had a pretty remarkable week with the state’s 5th and 6th Red-headed Woodpeckers in Harney. Malheur NWR also hosted Oregon’s 9th and 10th Prothonotary Warblers, and a trio of Prairie Warblers in Coos, Clatstop, and Curry represent the state’s 18 through 20th records.

Connecticut’s 5th Smith’s Longspur was seen in New Haven.

And Labrador firsts Prairie Warbler and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher were seen in the same flock in Forteau, though both have been recorded before on Newfoundland island.

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.