September 3, 2021
We should be mostly familiar with the continuing rarities in the ABA Area this week, as Berylline Hummingbird (ABA Code 4) in Arizona, Inca Tern (5) in Hawaii, and Little Egret (4) in Delaware have been mentioned for a few weeks now. They are joined by the young Common Shelduck (4) still being seen in Quebec into this week.
The big weather story of the week was the landfall of Hurricane Ida on the northern Gulf coast. The ABA hopes that those birders who live in the path of the storm are managing to stay safe. It is always a bit incongruous for birders to look at these tropical storms for their potential to bring interesting birds but also stay aware of their incredible destructive power and impact on those in their path.
So with a nod towards those affected, we turn to the birds. While gulf storms do not tend to be as birdy as those that strike the Atlantic coast, Ida sent some surprises to the Gulf coast of Florida. Two 1st records for Florida were seen in the wake of the storm, the most surprising of which was a Wedge-tailed Shearwater photographed just offshore in Pinellas. This represents only the 3rd Atlantic Ocean record of this primarily Pacific species, and the second this year following a bird seen in the Gulf Stream out of Hatteras, North Carolina.
The second surprise came the same day, when a wrecked Bulwer’s Petrel (3) was picked up on the location no more specific than “panhandle”. The bird was alive, and was taken to a rehab facility where it currently remains. This is about the 5th record of the Atlantic coast. There are two previous, unaccepted, sight records for Florida.
We have two additional 1sts to report this week, both of which are just a tad stale. A video taken in August of an apparent Carolina Wren in Battle Harbour, Labrador, would be a 1st record for the province of Newfoundland & Labrador. A more recent Ash-throated Flycatcher in Upper Ferry is also noteworthy, representing the province’s 3rd record.
And in Texas, photographs of a Small-billed Elaenia in Cameron in May sat unidentified in iNaturalist for several months. This is a potential 1st ABA Area record, though it should be noted that a elaenia in Chicago, Illinois, in 2021 is widely considered to be this species. Regardless, this would be a Texas 1st. More recent, but frustratingly equally gone was a Piratic Flycatcher (4), also in Cameron, found this week.
It’s that time of year where the Bering Sea islands in western Alaska begin to produce, and good recent finds on Gambell include Dusky Warbler (4) and Common Chiffchaff (4).
Nevada had a run of seabirds with both Long-tailed Jaeger and Magnificent Frigatebird seen in Clark.
A Pacific Golden-Plover in Maricopa, Arizona, would be the state’s 3rd accepted record. Also good were Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, and Least Flycatcher all in Coconino.
Likely remnants of Hurricane Ida’s push inland, at least seven individual Magnificent Frigatebirds were seen in Chicot, Arkansas.
In Missouri, a young Long-tailed Jaeger was seen in St. Clair.
Minnesota had both a Ruff in Freeborn and a Swallow-tailed Kite in St. Louis this week.
Michigan’s 10th record of Ash-throated Flycatcher was seen at Whitefish Point in Chippewa.
Vermont’s 2nd Brown Booby was visiting a small lake in North Bennington.
And Connecticut continues to pull in southern waterbirds, this time a small flock of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks in Rocky Hill Meadows, the state’s 3rd record of the species.
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.
A Short-tailed Albatross was seen on a pelagic off Tofino, BC on Aug 29, 2021
The Small-billed Elaenia in Texas was in Nueces County, not Cameron.