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Rare Bird Alert: November 26, 2016

Saturday, November 26, 2016 7:02
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We joke every year that November is better called “Novem-bird” (or, at least *I* do) because of the high quality and numbers of rarities that are found throughout the ABA Area in this month. This November started a bit lighter than in years past, but the last half has been exceptional. This week is no different, with a number of 1st records from all corners, and at least one exceptional record from western Alaska. All that in addition to the continuing ABA Area rarities, Amazon Kingfisher (ABA Code 5) in Texas, the ABA’s 2nd Common Scoter (5) in Oregon, and a Streak-backed Oriole (4) in Arizona.

That aforementioned big Alaska rarity was the ABA Area’s 4th record of Pine Bunting (5), found at Gambell, St. Lawrence Island by Clarence Irrigoo, a local birder with a very good track record for rarities after most other birders have vacated the Bering Sea. The bird has been present every day since its discovery, no doubt tempting the Big Year birder willing to brave the cold and dark of northern Alaska in winter.

The ABA Area's 4th record of Pine Bunting has been present for at least a couple days on Gambell, St. Lawrence Island. Photo: Clarence Irrigoo

The ABA Area’s 4th record of Pine Bunting has been present for at least a couple days on Gambell, St. Lawrence Island. Photo: Clarence Irrigoo

This week say an amazing 5 1st records in various states across the ABA Area. We’ll begin with the more or less expected and end with the more remarkable.  In Oklahoma, a Common Crane (4) in Texas was a great find and one undoubtedly on the radar of Oklahoma birders following records in Texas and New Mexico in recent years, not to mention the long track record for the species in Kansas and Nebraska.

In Nebraska, an Anna’s Hummingbird in Omaha is a state 1st, and not an out of the ordinary one given that species’s ability to wander. Also in Nebraska, a Canyon Wren in Cherry is the state’s 4th.

In the more unusual vein, Tennessee had a surprising Bohemian Waxwing among a flock of Cedars in Knox, a 1st record for the state and perhaps a sign of things to come this winter in the upper South.

And while neither of the species in Washington were completely unexpected, but their proximity was something special. Birders chasing the state’s 1st Dusky-capped Flycatcher in Neah Bay, Clallam, found the state’s 1st record of Blue Grosbeak nearby!

Up in British Columbia, a Field Sparrow in Victoria is the province’s 2nd record.

Good for Oregon, an Iceland Gull was found in Fernhill.

California had a Little Gull (3) in Ventura, the first record for the county in a very long time.

In Idaho, a Winter Wren was discovered in Twin Falls.

Notable for Nevada were Purple Finches  near Verdi.

In Utah, a Broad-billed Hummingbird was found near Hurricane.

The rarest of the scoters inland, a Black Scoter was noteworthy in San Miguel, New Mexico.

In Texas, a Masked Duck (3) was reported in Santa Ana NWR in Hidalgo.

Good for Saskatchewan was a Black-throated Gray Warbler near Hanley.

In Minnesota, a White-winged Dove was visiting a feeding station near Minneapolis.

Wisconsin had a pair of noteworthy birds this week, a King Eider on the Milwaukee lakeshore and an Anna’s Hummingbird in the town.

Michigan’s 7th record of Bullock’s Oriole was present in Ontonagon.

In Florida, an Elegant Tern in Sarasota and a Western Spindalis in Miami-Dade were highlights.

North Carolina’s 12th record of Black-headed Grosbeak  was a one-day wonder in Union.

In New Jersey, a Say’s Phoebe was found in Cape May and a Harris’s Sparrow in Ocean.

Massachusetts also had an Elegant Tern, the state’s 2nd record, on Cape Cod in Barnstable, and a Black-throated Gray Warbler reported in Norfolk.

Maine’s 2nd Bullock’s Oriole was found in Camden this week, and a Harris’s Sparrow was visiting a private feeder in Belgrade.

And in Newfoundland, a Slaty-backed Gull (3) joined the crowd of gulls in St. John’s.


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.

Join the American Birding Association at!


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