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Monday, March 09, 2009

Rarities around New York State

The following was recently posted on the New York State birding discussion group. I thought it would be interesting to create links to the range maps of these wayward species.

One of the bird species, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, is usually seen in the state, just not during the winter. Also, I could not find a website that showed a comparison of the American Herring Gull with the European Herring Gull. It is unclear why so many birds stray from their normal range. There are probably lots of contributing circumstances, not the least of which is loss of habitat and climate change.

Subject: Rare Bird Round Up - New York State - Jan-Feb 09
From: Angus Wilson

Date: Sun, 1 Mar 2009

Hi All,

2009 is well underway and we've already enjoyed an excellent selection of state rarities. More and more sightings are being posted on the listserves or on eBird in a timely manner and has enabled more and more birders to catch up with these exciting finds. However, this does not substitute for proper submission of the details to regional editors and to the New York State Avian Records Committee (NYSARC). Before we head into the excitement of spring migration, this seems like an ideal time to compose and file rare bird documentation for the 2008/2009 winter.

To help jog memories, I've compiled an informal list of notable sightings January and February 2009. All of these reports merit NYSARC review. We have received written documentation and photographs for a few of these - THANK YOU!! - but await the majority. If you were lucky enough to see ANY OF THESE BIRDS, please submit a report! Guidelines on report preparation can be found on our web site ( You can also submit reports or ask questions via email (nysarc3 [a t] or by snail mail to Jeanne Skelly, Secretary for NYSARC, 420 Chili Scottsville Road, Churchville, NY 14428.

OK, now on to the good stuff..........


Pink-footed Goose
One, Dec 08-4 Jan 2009, 12 Jan 2009, Meadow Lake/Corona Park and Kissena Park, Flushing, Queens Co..

Barnacle Goose
One, thru to 15 Feb 2009, St. Charles Cemetery & Belmont Lake SP, Farmingdale, Suffolk Co..
One, 27 Feb 2009, Neelytown Road, Orange Co..

Trumpeter Swan
One, yellow tag #127, 17 Feb 2009, Conesus Lake, Livingston Co..
Two, ads., Upper Lake, Yaphank, Suffolk Co..
One, 26 Feb 2009, Myers Point, Cayuga Lake, Tompkins Co..

Pacific Loon
One, 22 Feb 2009, Canandaigua Lake, Ontario Co..

Western Grebe
One, 4-9 Jan 2009, Sharrott Avenue fishing pier, Mount Loretto, Richmond Co..
One, 9-10 Jan 2009, between Atlantic Ave & Marine Blvd, Amagansett, Suffolk Co..

One, 10 Jan 2009, Long Point State Park, Aurora, Cayuga Co..

Eurasian Green-winged Teal
One, 8 Jan 2009, Milburn Pond, Merrick, Nassau Co..

California Gull
One, 1 Jan 2009, Hamlin Beach, Monroe Co..
One, ad., 10 Feb 2009, Iron Pier, Suffolk Co..
One, 2nd-cy, 11 Feb 2009, Floyd Bennett Field, Kings Co..

Short-billed (Mew) Gull
One, ad., 15 Feb 2009, Olcott, Town of Newfane, Niagara Co..

Common (Mew) Gull
One, ad., 22 Feb 2009, Olcott, Town of Newfane, Niagara Co..

Slaty-backed Gull
[One, ad., 3, 4, 11 Jan 2009, above Niagara Falls, Ontario side, was it ever seen on NY side?]

Lesser Black-backed Gull (intermedius)
One, 24 Feb 2009, Game Farm and Compost Pile, Tompkins Co..

Thayers Gull
One, 1st-cy., 17-19 Feb 2009, East Shore Park & Game Farm and Compost Pile, Tompkins Co..
[Two, ads., 4 Jan 2009, Niagara River, Goat Island & Control Gates, any seen on NY side?]

European Herring Gull
One, 1st-cy, 18 Feb 2009, Game Farm and Compost Pile, Tompkins Co..

Thick-billed Murre
One, 8-9 Jan 2009, Lily Pad Pond, Hempstead Lake SP, Nassau Co., Looked in poor health. Found dead on 10th. Specimen retrieved.
One, 13 Jan 2009, flyby, Dune Road, Shinnecock Inlet, Suffolk Co..
One, 18 Jan 2009, Montauk Point Suffolk Co..
One, 18 Jan 2009, Culloden Point, Suffolk Co..
One, 28 Feb 2009, Ditch Plains, Suffolk Co..

Northern Hawk Owl
One, 5 Jan 2009, Potsdam, St. Lawrence Co..
One, 2008-23 Feb 2009, Peru, Clinton Co..
One, 1 Jan 2009, Rt 374, Clinton Co..
One, 6 Jan 2009, Rt. 17 just w. of Apalachin, Tioga Co..

Eurasian Collared Dove
One, 2 Jan 2009, Curtis Road, Hamlin, Monroe Co..

Varied Thrush
One, 30 Jan 2009 Sands Point, Nassau Co..

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
One, 1 Feb 2009, Severne Rd, Yates Co..
Two, 2 Feb 2009, Severne Rd, Yates Co..

Audubon's Warbler
One, 3-12 Jan 2009, nr Seafood restaurant, Tobay Beach, Nassau Co..

Bullocks Oriole
One, ?-28 Jan 2009 Copake, Columbia Co..

Yellow-headed Blackbird
One, 20 Jan 2009, Honeoye Falls, Monroe Co..

Western Tanager
One, since late Dec 2008 into Feb 2009, private feeder on Fisher's Island, Suffolk Co..


Any self-respecting birder should take pride in contributing to the permanent ornithological record and deserves the pleasure of seeing their name in print in the NYSARC Annual Report. This detailed summary is published in NYSOA quarterly journal 'The Kingbird'
and on the NYSOA web site. In acknowledgment of the effort that many good birders put into documenting their sightings, Shai Mitra, Kingbird editor, will also select examples of outstanding reports for publication in their entirety.

Too often, folks assume that if they post their sightings on eBird or on one of the numerous listserves or is sent to a local bird club, their report will be automatically forwarded to NYSARC - alas, this is simply not the case. Very few postings provide a sufficiently detailed account of the sighting to document it adequately for posterity. Some clubs and local records committees do send us material but others do not. Posting (or even submitting) links to photographs is not satisfactory either. We simply do not have the capabilities to follow all of these links and save the images in a more permanent fashion. Web galleries have a habit of disappearing or becoming separated from critical supporting information (place, date, names etc) and are thus not a substitute for our permanent archive of reports and photos.

Cheers & Good Birding,

Angus Wilson

On behalf of the New York State Avian Records Committee (NYSARC), a committee of the New York State Ornithologists Association (NYSOA)

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