In previous editions of this book some species were presented as "hypothetical" when evidence for their occurrence was based on sight records alone. In this edition, we have referred to these as "sight records" whenever there seemed to be little or no doubt about the correctness of the identifications; dubious or questionable sight records have been excluded. However, a number of other species have been reported as occurring in the province but about which information is not wholly satisfactory. Some reports lack data on the exact time or place of occurrence. Some reports show a lack of discrimination among two or more possible vagrants—a problem that has not been resolved by observations or specimens. Some birds have undoubtedly been correctly identified but almost certainly represent individuals that have escaped from captivity, although not necessarily in Nova Scotia. The following gives a brief account of such species.
Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii (Jardine and Selby)
An all-dark petrel seen off Yarmouth on 13 August 1982 was reported as this species, but the possibility that it was one of the all-dark petrels from the Indo-Pacific cannot be excluded.
Scarlet Ibis Eudocimus ruber (Linnaeus)
At least two birds were seen by many observers in summer 1981. All such North American reports are considered by authorities (American Ornithologists' Union 1983) to represent escaped birds.
Roseate Spoonbill Ajaia ajaja (Linnaeus)
A secondhand source reported one seen on Sable Island in summer 1948, but the observer evidently did not believe that such sight records merited publication (McLaren 1981a).
Black Rail Laterallus jamaicensis (Gmelin)
Sanford et al. (1903) mention a mounted specimen said to be from Halifax, but no data are given on place or date of capture (see previous editions of this book).
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus (Pallas)
A bird on 2 January 1960 was considered by observers to be a Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) and was included as such in the earlier editions of this book. However, in some respects the description suggests a Spotted Redshank, although the critical differences in wing pattern were not noted. The Common Redshank has not been recorded in North America, whereas the Spotted Redshank is rare but regular. The record is treated as hypothetical and probably Spotted Redshank by American Ornithologists' Union ( 1983). Two other reports of "redshanks" have not been sufficiently detailed for discrimination of species.
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus Linnaeus
Although Brewer (1878) quotes a letter to the effect that a skin sent to London, England, was from a bird taken in Halifax, no details are given on date or place of collection.
South Polar Skua Catharacta maccormicki (Saunders)
See Remarks under Great Skua.
Thayer's Gull Larus thayeri Brooks
See Remarks under Iceland Gull.
Groove-billed Ani Crotophaga sulcirostris Swainson
Reports of an ani in Guysborough County in fall 1975 and of another at Debert, Colchester County, on 7-8 December 1980, did not include enough details for discrimination from the Smooth-billed Ani, Crotophaga ani, although this species is less prone to wander.
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholius Vieillot
A bird was identified as this species by R.W. Tufts at Wolfville on 18 July 1976. However, it was seen only briefly and, since the species cannot be separated on appearance from Couch's Kingbird, Tyrannus couchii which is also prone to wander, the identification is uncertain.
Bahama Swallow Tachycineta cyaneoviridis (Bryant)
Although her description is convincing, no date is given by Evelyn Richardson (1965) for a bird seen by her one May on Bon Portage Island.
Fieldfare Turdus pilaris Linnaeus
Two Fieldfares were reported by two separate observers to have been seen on the barrens near Louisbourg during October 1971, and another person reported having seen two there in October 1972. These were passed on to the Nova Scotia Museum, but unfortunately no details were given on names of observers or exact dates of sightings.
Bachman's Sparrow Aimophila aestivalis (Lichtenstein)
The species is listed for Cape Sable (Smith and Smith 1972), but no details on date of occurrence were kept. The bird also has been tentatively identified on Seal Island.
Boat-tailed Grackle Quiscalus major
Vieillot See Remarks under Great-tailed Grackle.
European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis (Linnaeus)
A convincing sight record on 11 September 1970 (see second edition of this book) presumably represents an escaped captive.