Brown-backed Solitaire Myadestes occidentalis in Arizona.

Brown-backed Solitaire – contestant to “1000 birds to see before you die”?

Brown-backed Solitarie. Photo copyright (reproduced w permission): Antonio Hidalgo.

Brown-backed Solitarie. Photo copyright (reproduced w permission): Antonio Hidalgo.

This is  potentially a new bird to the US list. It has been recorded before, but all other records have been rejected, since it is a common cagebird in Mexico, due to its pretty song. However, as Rick Wright puts it:

This individual, in a place and a habitat eminently suitable for a post-breeding wanderer, will be a first for the ABA Area if accepted.

Photos of the bird observed in at Miller Canyon, Arizona on July 16 that can be found here, indicate that the bird does not seem to have been handled (previous records have had some broken feathers) and therefore it may well be spontaneous.

I admit. I had never heard of the species before, but after finding Antonio Hidalgo’s  excellent photo on Flickr (thanks for the permission to use, Antonio. If anyone needs a high resolution of this pic, contact Antonio by clicking the link) and hearing it’s song from Xeno-canto, my impression was down to one word. WOW! This is a bird I need to see – and hear – one day.  Whether it will make the final list of 1000 birds worldwide I don’t know yet, but it sure tickled my nerve.

Yesterday, July 17  around 50 birders were out looking for it at Miller Canyon, but no luck. Today July 18, however, a fresh report from nearby (I presume) Ramsey Canyon Joe Woodley gives this report on the Arizona – New Mexico birding listserv:

Rick Romea just called to tell me that he had seen a (or presumably “the”) Brown-backed Solitaire in Ramsey Canyon at about 1:30PM today. It was between the wetlands and the staff cabin on the left hand (away from the creek) side as you walk up the trail. It was mid-level in the canopy and singing!! Rick had received a call from an individual who had heard the bird singing around 12:30PM today. Joe Woodley Hereford, AZ

Here is the info how to get to Ramsey Canyon and other useful info, kindly provided on the list by Mark Stevenson. Now go and get it, if you are close by.

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