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November Rare Birds: Vagrants again make some big news












Wendy Frasheski submitted to eBird her photograph of a Black Vulture seen over Wind Point in Racine County on Nov. 26.


By Mark Korducki

November is traditionally an excellent month for vagrants. This proved to be the case once again.  The month got off to a blazing start with a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper that was found in a small roadside pond in Manitowoc County.  This bird was fairly cooperative over a three day window and was enjoyed by many birders.  This is only the third record for Wisconsin, and all have come in the last four years. 

A late peep also was present with the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, photographed by many and initially identified as a Semipalmated Sandpiper.  Careful study and consultation with national experts revealed that this bird was a Western Sandpiper, delighting many birders.

The other mega-rarity found at the start of the month was a Mexican Violet-ear in Wood County.  This tropical hummingbird has a strong pattern of vagrancy and has been seen in Wisconsin on at least three previous occasions. Unfortunately, this bird did not remain long and only was confirmed through photographs taken by the homeowner.

RARE Sharp tailed Sandpiper 2 Nov. 2022 Joel Trick photo 12 22

Joel Trick photographed this Sharp-tailed Sandpiper in Two Rivers on Nov. 2.  Jeremy Meyer photographed the bird the following day and his images can be viewed at

Another outstanding find was the Black Vulture seen over Wind Point in Racine County. Several members of a Hoy Audubon field trip were lucky enough to capture views of this southern vulture as it passed over, and it was confirmed by clear photographs. An adult Parasitic Jaeger was seen earlier in the month from Wind Point, a great traditional location for vagrants.

A Varied Thrush also was discovered by members of the Green Bay Bird Club on a field trip in Door County.

A Lark Bunting was found in an Ozaukee County yard and documented with excellent photographs.  Not a bad species for a yard list!

A Pacific Loon was seen by several people in Ashland County. A Western Grebe was present in Dane County and was seen by several individuals. An Eared Grebe continued at the ferry dock in Milwaukee through the end of the month. A Brant was seen in Door County and Ross’s Geese in Ashland, Milwaukee and Sheboygan counties.

RARE <b>Western Sandpiper</b> photo 12 22

Jeremy Meyer photographed this shorebird on Nov. 8 in the same location as the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. First thought to be a Semipalmated Sandpiper, it now is generally believed to be a Western Sandpiper. (To see more of Jeremy’s photos orto leave a comment:

At least three Harlequin Ducks have been present in Sheboygan, including two colorful drakes.

A White-faced Ibis was a nice find late in Brown County, as were Cattle Egrets. most notably in Lincoln and Dunn counties.

Evening Grosbeaks continue to be seen across the state. Good numbers of Pine Grosbeaks and Bohemian Waxwings are also starting to show up along with a few Red Crossbills.  Hopefully the extended mild weather continues, and a few more rare birds make their way into Wisconsin..

In addition to compiling this monthly report, Mark coordinates Wisconsin’s 92 Breeding Bird Survey routes.