Rare Bird Alert: December 16, 2016


It’s finally Christmas Bird Count season, which means more eyes in the field, more complete coverage of much of the ABA Area, and generally an uptick in the number of noteworthy birds discovered. And, of course, there’s the hope that any number of the exceptionally birds continuing in the ABA Area will stick around to be counted.

The Oregon Common Scoter appears to have moved on, as it wasn’t seen despite some serious searching. The Rustic Bunting (ABA Code 3) in Washington was present at least into the beginning of the week. At least two Western Spindalis (3) continue in south Florida, the long-staying Amazon Kingfisher (5) in Texas was also around as recently as yesterday. The Streak-backed Oriole (4) continues in Portal, Arizona, and the intermittent Yellow-legged Gull (4) was seen again this week in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

It’s always a big deal with an Ivory Gull (3) makes it south to the part of the ABA Area where people can see it. One was seen in Newfoundland this week, adding its Arctic presence to the menagerie of gulls near the St. John’s harbour.

Photo: Allison Mews/Macauley Library (S32932926)

In Quebec, a Say’s Phoebe has spent the last few days in Centre-du-Québec.

Increasingly found into the northeast of the ABA Area, a White-winged Dove was still noteworthy in Halifax, Nova Scotia, this week.

Ontario had a Black-throated Gray Warbler in Chatham-Kent.

New York is the latest state with a Barnacle Goose (4) this winter, in Suffolk, but the biggest find was the state’s 2nd Virginia’s Warbler, which was discovered inside a Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Glemnont. The bird unfortunately died soon after.

In New Jersey, a Townsend’s Warbler was present in Somerset.

Maryland had a Black-headed Grosbeak visiting a feeder in St. Mary’s.

In North Carolina, a Trumpeter Swan was found among a large flock of Tundra Swans in Washington.

Tennessee had an Ash-throated Flycatcher this week, well-photographed in Davidson.

A Calliope Hummingbird was banded at a feeding station in Jefferson, Alabama.

Notable for Louisiana, a Groove-billed Ani was found in Plaquemines.

In Michigan, a Mountain Bluebird has been present for several days in Macomb.

Manitoba had a Varied Thrush, photographed this week in Clanwilliam.

We don’t always note subspecies in this spot, but a “Gray-headed” Junco in Scotts Bluff , Nebraska, was a particularly neat one.

In British Columbia, a Brambling (3) was present in Alberni early in the month, and a Hooded Oriole was found in Surrey.

Typically found someowhere in the northwest every winter, Oregon had an Emperor Goose in Clatsop.

And in Nevada, a Black Scoter was a very nice find in Washoe.


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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