October 8, 2021

The irresistible pull of migration has once again worked its seeming magic on a great many continuing rarities that had been continuing in the ABA Area. As such we are left with one, this week, the lost Inca Tern (ABA Code 5) in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, still being seen off Oahu in Hawaii.

But that fall zugunruhe has brought a lot of new birds to various spots around the ABA Area, and the first week of October sees more 1st records that we’ve been able to report on in many weeks. The most notable of which comes from Louisiana, where a Golden-crowned Warbler (4) in Cameron represents not only the 1st record for that state, but only the 3rd for the ABA Area seen away from Texas. Golden-crowned Warbler is a somewhat regular vagrant to the immediate north of the Rio Grande, but has been known to wander with single records from New Mexico and Colorado in addition to this one.

That wasn’t even the only warbler 1st this week. In Maryland an accommodating young Kirtland’s Warbler in Baltimore is the 1st confirmed record for this species that for years for known to be difficult to find in migration. The improving fortunes of the species’s population is almost certainly behind this turnaround, and birders are no doubt enjoying the fruits of this conservation success story.

Staying in the east, a well-documented sight report of Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher in Cumberland, Maine, would be, if accepted, a 1st for that state. However, given the possibility of other streaky-faced flycatchers (Maine has a record of Variegated Flycatcher, after all) it seems a long shot for acceptance.

Less equivocal was the discovery of a Fork-tailed Flycatcher (3) in Chatham, Georgia, a long anticipated 1st record for this species that has turned up in many many states and provinces in the ABA Area.

And out west to Nevada, where a Nelson’s Sparrow in Clark is a 1st for that state, and no doubt redemption for those birders frustrated by one seen just miles on the wrong side of the California border earlier this fall.

And up to Saskatchewan, where a stunning Kentucky Warbler in Saskatoon is a confirmed 1st for the province, which is seeing a nice influx of southern species that also included a Crested Caracara in Saltcoats.

That pattern continues next door in Alberta, where a young Yellow-crowned Night Heron in Calgary is the province’s 2nd.

In Washington, a flyby Emperor Goose in Seattle was a lucky find.

Good birds in California include a Dusky Warbler (3) in Marin and a young Emperor Goose in Tehama for the north part of the state, and a Black-throated Blue Warbler in Orange for the south.

Idaho also had a Black-throated Blue Warbler this week, the state’s 10th banded at a station in Ada. 

To Ontario, where the province’s 2nd record of  MacGillivray’s Warbler was a skulky individual in Toronto.

Quebec had a Steller’s Eider (3) at La Haute-Côte-Nord, the province’s 3rd and considered by many to be the same individual that represented the province’s 2nd earlier this year.

In New York, a Varied Thrush in Nassau is much earlier than usual for vagrants of this species.

Nova Scotia had a nice young Swainson’s Hawk visiting Cape Breton this week.

A Great Crested Flycatcher on St Pierre et Miquelon is a good find for the island.

And in Newfoundland, a sharp Blue-winged Warbler at Cappahayden is very unusual for the 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.