Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 26th, 2009
Apparently due to the annual Christmas counts (generally ending on December 23rd in most areas), rare bird sightings are coming in via various small outlets.
What has been reported in your area?
A tundra swan and a wood stork were found mingling among the blue herons and the double crested cormorants in southern California. These rare birds were found at El Monte’s Legg Lake, reports CBS station, KCAL 9, on December 23rd.
The Portland Press Herald’s writer Edward D. Murphy reported, also on December 23, there have been MacGillivray’s warbler sightings this year in Maine and Massachusetts. Here is a snippet from in his article, “Western bird takes a chilly detour: A MacGillivray’s warbler, a species that usually heads far south in winter, somehow ends up in frosty Falmouth.”
There’s something clearly not right with a creature that would swap Mexico or Central America for Maine in the winter.
That’s why the appearance of a MacGillivray’s warbler in Falmouth last weekend is “considered accidental,” said Bill Hancock, who led the Maine Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count in Greater Portland on Saturday.
The bird, spotted by Audubon naturalist Eric Hynes and Nancy Houlihan, had never been recorded in Maine.
Hynes said it’s a bird that rarely ventures farther east than Idaho or New Mexico, and spends winters in Mexico and south to Panama.
“They’re definitely a Western bird,” he said, “so it’s not where it wants to be.”
There’s no way to know how the bird ended up in Maine, but sometimes storms throw migrating birds off course or their internal compasses go haywire, leading them astray, Hancock and Hynes said.
Hancock noted that a couple of the birds have been spotted in Massachusetts in recent weeks, so even if the appearance in Maine is new, the warblers have been in the general neighborhood.
What “accidental” species were reported in your area?