September 4, 2020

Familiar faces among the continuing rare birds in the ABA Area, with Arizona leading the way again in the form of a Plain-capped Starthroat (4), Berylline Hummingbird (4), and multiple Eared Quetzal (4) in the state. California also hosts a Common Crane (4) for another week and the Thick-billed Vireo (4) was seen again in Florida along with the long-staying Black-faced Grassquit (4).

The bird-moving effects of Hurricane Laura have been felt by birders across the midwest, but we’ll start this week in Alaska, where an absolutely stunner of an adult Steller’s Sea-Eagle (4) was photographed in Denali National Park last week. This species is not unheard of on the islands of western Alaska, but a mainland record, of an adult bird no less, is pretty spectacular.

There are a couple 1st records to report this week, starting with an apparent Eastern Yellow Wagtail photographed by a shorebird researcher in Gulf, Florida. This would represent a 1st for the state, and despite valiant efforts by all involved, could not be turned into that 1st ABA Area record of Western Yellow Wagtail we’ve been waiting for.

Hurricane Laura brought a spate of Band-rumped Storm-Petrels into the midwest. We’ll touch on the live birds next, but an individual salvaged in Monroe, Indiana, represents a 1st record for that state.

Missouri’s 2nd record of Band-rumped Storm-Petrel turned up at a small lake in Stoddard, and though it was the not the first it certainly felt like it given the last one was from a similar storm in the 1950s. Also likely storm driven was a Magnificent Frigatebird on the Mississippi between Hannibal, Missouri and Quincy, Illinois.

Tennessee also saw a Band-rumped Storm-Petrel as a result of this storm, this one in Hardin. 

And in Oklahoma, a Magnificent Frigatebird turned up in Tulsa and flew around for a while before disappearing.

Ontario also had a Magnificent Frigatebird as a flyby in Whitby, along with a Brown Pelican farther to the east in Mallorytown.

Good for Quebec was a Prothonotary Warbler in Percé.

A fishing boat in Labrador was attended by a Brown Booby (3) for a couple days near Forteau.

Good for Alberta, was a Ruff (3) near Calgary.

Montana had an apparent Parasitic Jaeger at a lake in Flathead.

British Columbia’s 13th record of Curlew Sandpiper (3) was discovered near Delta.

Likewise, Washington also had a Curlew Sandpiper this week in Grant, which happened to be its 13th as well.

And in California, a boat out of Los Angeles had Townsend’s Storm-Petrel (3), which are reported more regularly as birders get a better handle on that tricky identification.



Omissions and errors are not intended, but if you find any please message blog AT 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.