Northern Rough-winged SwallowStelgidopteryx serripennis (Audubon)
Status Rare vagrant. The first record was of a bird seen on Sable Island on 27 August 1964 by Christel and Norman Bell; they also saw three there on 15 August 1966 and two on 4 August 1969. Since then the birds have been reported (and some photographed) each year except for 1981, 1982 and 1983, mostly on Brier, Sable, Seal and Cape Sable islands, but also in Halifax, Lunenburg, Pictou, Queens and mainland Shelburne counties. There have been 18 reports of about 30 birds in spring (8 May to 6 June) and 11 reports of about 19 fall migrants (18 July to 12 October). An extraordinarily early individual was closely observed on Cape Sable on 17 March 1971 by Norman Cunningham.
Remarks This swallow may be distinguished from the similarly brown-backed Bank Swallow and young Tree Swallow by its dusky throat and breast. As it nests a relatively short distance away to the west and southwest of Nova Scotia, its occurrence here is not unusual.
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Photo courtesy of Patuxent Wildlife Research Center