Rare Bird Alert: August 26, 2016


Out well-trodden ABA notables continue in both Arizona and Maine, as the Tufted Flycatcher (ABA Code 5) and Plain-capped Starthroat (4) continue into the week, along with the on-again-off-again Flame-colored Tanager (4) in the former, and the Little Egret (4) persisting at least into last weekend in the latter.

It’s getting to be that special time of year in Alaska, and the fall season rarities begin to come in larger numbers as birders stake out the far reaches of the ABA Area in preparation of avian riches in the coming months. The bgiiest find so far comes from the mainland, however, even if it’s the farthest reaches of the mainland. A Pacific Swift (5), well-photographed in the Colville River Delta in North Slope, is only the 2nd mainland record of the species in the ABA Area. On the rarity magnets in Bering Sea, things are starting to heat up. On St. Paul Island, a second Marsh Sandpiper (5) joined the one reported last week, along with a Siberian Rubythroat (4), and on Gambell, the first Dusky Warbler (4) on the island in many years was found this week.


This Pacific Swift in Alaska’s far north is only the 2nd mainland record of the species in the ABA Area. Photo: Isaac Helmericks

One 1st record this week, from Ontario where a Common Ringed Plover has been seen by many birders near Toronto this week. Interestingly, this is the second individual in eastern Canada in the last two weeks following a bird in Quebec last week.

Speaking of Quebec, a Swainson’s Hawk was photographed this week at Bas-Saint-laurent.

In Newfoundland was a pair of Yellow-crowned Night Heron near the town of Freshwater.

Notable for Pennsylvania was a Lark Sparrow photographed in Lancaster.

Delaware’s 2nd record of Gray Kingbird was found near Little Creek this week.

And it was a good week for vagrant flycatchers in the Mid-Atlantic, as in Maryland a likely Tropical Kingbird in Baltimore is that state’s 2nd. A Masked Booby (3) was also seen in Maryland waters from a boat out of Lewes, Delaware.

Exceptional onshore, particularly when not associated with a tropical storm, a Bridled Tern was photographed in Georgetown, South Carolina.

In Georgia, a Ruff (3) was found in Decatur.

Tennessee had a Red Phalarope in Cocke.

In Illinois, a Roseate Spoonbill was found on an Air Force base in St. Clair, and is unfortunately inaccessible to the public.

Iowa becomes the latest midwestern state to host Swallow-tailed Kites this summer, as a pair were found in Johnson.

An unidentified Frigatebird sp was a shock in Ramsey, Minnesota, this week. The bird was a male and unidentifiable based on photos taken, but Magnificent Frigatebird has been recorded in Minnesota before, and is the most likely species though nothing can be ruled out.

Notable for the ABA Area, a Jabiru (4) was photographed in Victoria, Texas, this week. The bird was seen again as recently as yesterday. This is Texas’s 11th record.

In Arizona, a Ruddy Turnstone was photographed in Maricopa.

Wyoming had a Nashville Warbler in Cheyenne.

California has had an exceptional summer for Craveri’s Murrelets (3), being seen regularly as far north as Half Moon Bay in San Mateo. A second Bar-tailed Godwit in as many week in California was seen in Santa Clara.

And from British Columbia, a report of two young Short-tailed Albatrosses (3) off Cape Scott at the beginning of the month.


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 <aba.org/nab>, the richly illustrated journal of ornithological record published by the ABA.


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