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Rare Bird Alert: January 6, 2017

Friday, January 6, 2017 7:02
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Happy New Year to ABA Blog readers and rare bird aficionados! If you’re planning on running an ABA Big Year for 2017 you’ve come to the right place. A number of 2016 birds have stuck around in the new year, including the  continuing Common Pochard (ABA Code 4) in California and the Red-flanked Bluetail (4) in Idaho. The wild-appearing Greylag Goose (5) continues in Rhode Island, as does the very long-staying Amazon Kingfisher (5) in Texas. Three young Common Shelducks (not listed) are hanging on in New Brunswick, and the Kelp Gull (4) has been seen on and off in Newfoundland into this week.

There are not too many birders willing to brave the Bering Sea islands this time of year, but an Alaska 1st Black Kite on St Paul Island in the Pribilofs suggests that there’s still gold to be mined up there. Hawaii has 3 previous records of Black Kite, but this is the 1st for continental ABA Area. Also in Alaska, a Eurasian Hobby (4) was discovered in Anchorage.

Photo: Barbara Lestenkof

In addition to Alaska, British Columbia also boasts a 1st this week, with a Purple Sandpiper in Victoria. This is only the 2nd record for the Pacific coast, and follows an exceptional record of the species in Colorado less than a month ago.

And Virginia gets a new bird as well, discovered by the ABA’s own Ned Brinkley no less. A Lucy’s Warbler in  Northampton on Virginia’s eastern shore, is a 1st for the state and only the 2nd record in eastern North America.

District of Columbia also had a 1st this week, their second in the last couple months, with a Black-throated Gray Warbler.

Oregon’s 3rd record of Baikal Teal was taken by a hunter in Multnomah this week, as had the two previous state records for the species before it.

An Iceland Gull in Flathead, Montana, is one of fewer than 20 records for the state, and all the more notable for the fact that it appears to be the nominate subspecies, which breeds in Europe.

In California, a Red-footed Booby (4) has been hanging around Mission Bay in San Diego.

Nevada had a  Glaucous Gull in Washoe this week.

In Arizona, the Nutting’s Flycatcher (5) in Santa Cruz appears to have returned for another year.

Good for Texas was a young Great Black-backed Gull  in Galveston.

Minnesota had a Curve-billed Thrasher photographed visiting a feeder in Grand Rapid.

In Illinois, a Mew Gull was seen just outside of Chicago in Joliet.

New Hampshire had a Varied Thrush in Swanzey.

In New York, a Slaty-backed Gull (3) was discovered among the gull congregation around Niagara Falls.

New Jersey had a Mew Gull, no mention of which subspecies, in Somerset.

And in Florida, a Bananaquit has been showing well in Broward, as has a Harris’s Sparrow in Hernando.


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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