APRIL 2001 NORTH AMERICAN RARITY ROUND-UP
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The following informal round-up is just the highlights from the various national RBA transcripts. Apologies if you feel there are any ommisions but do feel free to e-mail us with any feedback, particularly if there any howlers!
Photos by Steve Walter (Steve's Website) and Kurt Radamaker (Florida Birds Website)
What an interesting month. There were some great birds seen this month. Highlights were a DARK-RUMPED PETREL off California, a stunning BLACK-TAILED GODWIT on the east coast, a possible second RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER in Arizona, the return of last year's BACK-BACKED ORIOLE to California and rounding it up a BAHAMA MOCKINGBIRD in Florida. Coincidentally, a disoriented Bahama Mocker was seen hopping about the deck of a boat off the Florida coast just days before this bird was sighted. However, this species has a pattern of occurence that should suggest that it makes it naturally to these shores.
Loons were on the move this month. From Maine, a PACIFIC LOON was seen at Two Lights in Cape Elizabeth and another was seen off Plymouth Beach, MA. In the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, a YELLOW-BILLED LOON was being seen off South Padre Island.
A breeding-plumaged EARED GREBE, was discovered at West Hartford, CT on April 8th, and stuck around for a while to the delight of locals..From MN, the CLARK'S GREBE was still being seen at the Coon Rapids dam on the Hennepin/Anoka county line up until mid month.
A DARK-RUMPED PETREL gave 'point-blank" views to those lucky birders not suffering from maladie de mer on a Mitch Heindel pelagic trip on April 28th off Point Conception, southern California.
From MN, on April 15th a WHITE-FACED IBIS was seen outside of Rochester. A possible LITTLE BLUE HERON was reported from Ogden, Utah at the beginning of the month. A TRICOLORED HERON was seen at the Lincoln Park Bird Sanctuary,.Illinois at the end of the month and others were also in Nebraska and Colorado, this latter state also scoring a GLOSSY IBIS. A LIMPKIN was reported at a subdivision pond in Arlington Heights. ILL early in the month. Meanwhile, the LIMPKIN at Savannah NWR in SC was seen April 19 in the usual spot. The local bird box reports this bird as being difficult to find, remaining concealed for hours at a time.
A MASKED DUCK was being seen at Santa Ana NWR, TX in the Willows
Pond Complex.for much of the month. In VT, a male TUFTED DUCK was reported from the Colchester Causeway mid month. The first state record was recorded last year at Shelburne Bay.
A lucky East End birder spotted a SWALLOW-TAILED KITE near Mecox Bay on April 18. Highlights from Easter day included a SWALLOW-TAILED KITE at Nantucket, MA and a BLACK VULTURE at Pilgrim Heights in Truro.MA. Another SWALLOW-TAILED KITE was reported from Delaware on the 20th, whilst a BLACK VULTURE was reported from Kanata, Ontario on the 28th. A dark morph SHORT-TAILED HAWK was seen soaring over Bentsen State Park, TX on the 11th and 12th.
A BLACK RAIL was observed at the Peabody Wildlife Management Area Kentucky on April 24. If accepted, this will be Kentucky's first known record of a Black Rail.
The GREATER SANDPLOVER (N. America's first) continued its sabbatical in northern California this month. Star shorebird of the month, however, was the BLACK-TAILED GODWIT, which was found in Eastport on April 5th but had disappeared by mid month. However, lightning does strike twice as another or presumably the same bird (?) was discovered at Waterford CT on 19th and was relocated there on the 29th April. A MARBLED GODWIT was seen at Beach Grove.Vancouver. Florida scored with a CURLEW SANDPIPER in alternate plumage at Boca Chica Key on the 26th and 28th April
On the Upper Texas Coast, the first-winter LITTLE GULLwas seen again at the Beaumont Wastewater Treatment Plant on the 15th and 16th. An adult, summer-plumaged "Vega" HERRING GULL was on Lake Coeur d'Alene, Coeur d'Alene, Kootenai Co ID, 3rd April. In Florida, at Ft DeSoto County Park, the ELEGANT TERN was reported on the 28th April from the beach and the HEERMANNS GULL was also seen there on the 28th April.
A possible THICK-BILLED MURRE was observed April 10th flying past Boiler
In Monroe County, Indiana on 25th April, a fly-by. WHITE-WINGED DOVE was recorded.
It was hummingbird time in Arizona. A WHITE-EARED HUMMINGBIRD was reported on the 20th at the Beattys, whilst two canyons to the north of Miller, a BERYLLINE and a WHITE-EARED HUMMINGBIRD were reported in Ramsey Canyon on the 22nd and 23rd
Always exciting birds, a couple of BLACK-WHISKERED VIREOs were found along the Texas Coast around High Island.
Also from Texas, TAMULIPAS CROWS were confirmed nesting on the Doppler radar towers at the Weather Station at Boca Chica Blvd & Vermillion in Brownsville.
On the 18th, a GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH was seen on the American River Parkway in Carmichael, northern California. A rare bird for that state.
The TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE continued at Liberty, Missouri. However, star passerine of the month was the Broward County, Florida BAHAMA MOCKINGBIRD at John U. Lloyd State Park, at the end of the month. It's commoner cousin the NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD was seen in a yard behind Ioco Road in Port Moody.Vancouver
In California, a BROWN THRASHER was found in Pasadena in the third week and delighted State listers.
Also from the Golden State a BOHEMIAN WAXWING was seen in Los Angeles, CA on the 23rd
The RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER continued in French Joe Canyon, AZ through the end of the month and remarkably, a second bird was reported near the Inn buildings at Hereford, AZ at the end of the month.. On April 10th, a BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER was found at Pine Lake Park in San Francisco and a WORM-EATING WARBLER was in at Butterbredt, CA at the end of the month.
A female SPOTTED TOWHEE was seen Warrick County IN. In Florida, at Robert Rees County Park, a possible GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE was reported April 24th.
In the Coastal Bend area of Texas, 2 SHINY COWBIRDS were found in the back yard of a private residence on April 14th in Port O'Connor. Uncommon on the Island of St. John's, NF was the sighting of a BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD on April 21.
On the 20th in Stratford, CT there were 3 BOAT-TAILED GRACKLES, a review species for this state.
A male INDIGO BUNTING appeared in the Nine Mile area, MT coming to a feeder on the 13th to the 21st.
We also said "hello" to last year's vagrant BLACK-BACKED ORIOLE that reappeared at the end of the month in Smuggler's Gulch in the Tijuana River Valley near San Diego, CA.
Two Eurasian finches that had kept northern birders busy this winter had become less reliable as the month wore on. The female EURASIAN BULLFINCH in Alaska decided to split on April 10th but the North Vancouver BRAMBLING was still lingering during the month.