Rare sightings in November

Rare sightings in November

There have been some interesting rare bird reports during the first one-third of the month. A female rufous hummingbird recently showed up in Coshocton County. Often these western wanderers stay around for a month or two. You can call the Bobolink Area Bird Hotline to check on the status of the hummer and other rarities (574-642-1335).

The Funk Bottoms Wildlife Area continues to host some unusual birds. A Nelson’s sparrow has been seen there but sometimes takes some effort to find. A LeConte’s sparrow also was found at least once but may not have stayed around. A cattle egret also was sighted at Funk, and two cattle egrets were hanging out along Prairie Lane south of Wooster.

Two white-winged scoters showed up at Pleasant Hill Lake in Richland County. Ducks and gulls are starting to arrive at area lakes and reservoirs. I wonder how rare gull sightings will be this winter at area landfills.

Jon Cefus finally found an orange-crowned warbler in Coshocton County in late October. He missed it during the spring migration. The same day Jon had eight yellow-bellied sapsuckers. About the same time there were still at least five shorebird species at the Shreve Fish Pond, but finding shorebirds in November becomes difficult.

There were no details about a recent northern saw-whet owl sighting. There also was a report of a long-eared owl in a pine grove where several wintered last year. The prairie falcon that was found at Huffman Prairie was still being seen as of Nov. 6. This is in the Dayton area. A merlin was seen at The Wilds on Nov. 2. Muskingum County birders report three new birds for the county this year: black-necked stilt, sanderling and cattle egret.

Other interesting reports include a white-winged crossbill in Cleveland on the fourth and fifth and 15 fish crows in Akron.

Perhaps the most interesting news to me was the Ohio Bird Records Committee report on trumpeter swans in Ohio. There has been an ongoing discussion about the status of these swans, and the topic could easily be the subject of a small book. However, suffice it to say, the OBRC voted unanimously to take trumpeter swan off the list of birds that need to be documented in Ohio. Whether or not trumpeters ever nested historically in Ohio or not, they are now well established in the state. A high count of 408 took place in January 2020. It seems clear the trumpeters are here to stay.

For those of you who like to hear about rare birds further afield, a trip to Newfoundland and Labrador could yield sightings of tufted duck and little egret. In Florida you might find American flamingo or gray-tailed tattler. Texas hosted masked booby and aplomado falcon (a bird I would really like to see in the U.S.). In California birders found a red-throated pipit. Even more distant, you might get to see a beautiful Inca tern if you traveled to Hawaii.

Here in Northern Indiana, the leaves are finally at their fall peak, in the second week of November, and temperatures haven’t dropped below 30 F, although that will be changing soon.

Good birding.

Bruce Glick can be emailed at bglick2@gmail.com.