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Alaska Rare Bird Alert » Blog Archive » RBA St. Paul Island, September 6-12: MOTTLED PETREL, CAPE MAY WARBLER, COMMON RINGED PLOVER, Lesser Sand-Plover

RBA St. Paul Island, September 6-12: MOTTLED PETREL, CAPE MAY WARBLER, COMMON RINGED PLOVER, Lesser Sand-Plover


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Welcome birders, this is the St. Paul Rare Bird Alert for the week of
September 06-September 12 sponsored by St. Paul Island Tours. The following
sequence of sightings is in taxonomic order; asterisks denote a species of less
than annual occurrence, and species in all capitals are one of particular note. 

Birds: Species count to date – 164
66 species this week
Brant(Black)
Cackling Goose
Eurasian Wigeon
American Wigeon
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
King Eider
Harlequin Duck
Black Scoter
Long-tailed Duck
Pacific Loon
Red-necked Grebe
Northern Fulmar
*MOTTLED PETREL*
Short-tailed Shearwater
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel
Red-faced Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Pacific Golden-Plover
*Lesser Sand-Plover*
COMMON RINGED PLOVER
Semipalmated Plover
Gray-tailed Tattler
Wandering Tattler
Bar-tailed Godwit
Ruddy Turnstone
Sanderling
Western Sandpiper
PectoralSandpiper
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
Rock Sandpiper
Dunlin
*Stilt Sandpiper*
RUFF
Long-billed Dowitcher
COMMON SNIPE
Red-necked Phalarope
Red Phalarope
Black-legged Kittiwake
Red-legged Kittiwake
Sabine’s Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Glaucous Gull
Arctic Tern
Pomarine Jaeger
Common Murre
Thick-billed Murre
Pigeon Guillemot
Horned Puffin
Tufted Puffin
Common Raven
Pacific Wren
Northern Wheatear
Eastern Yellow Wagtail
Red-throated Pipit
American Pipit
Lapland Longspur
Snow Bunting
**CAPE MAY WARBLER**
Fox Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Gray-crowned Rosy Finch
Common Redpoll
Hoary Redpoll

WEATHER
The first half of the week saw the Island getting battered by constant 35+
MPH North Winds, and although this system did not bring much precipitation
it suppressed bird activity. This gave way to a couple of days of very
strong southerly winds and rain, which had a similar effect. 

WATERFOWL

The number of “Black” Brant on Webster Lake increased from 2 on September 6
to 5 on September 8, and these remained through the week. A single Aleutian
Cackling Goose was seen again at the Crater Lakes on September 6 but not
subsequently re-found. During the awful weather on September 7, a Eurasian
Wigeon was among the birds grounded on Webster Lake. There was a group of 4
adult male Black Scoters in high breeding plumage, and a flock of 46 King Eiders
off of Marunich on September 9. 

SEABIRDS and GULLS
One of the biggest stories (it was THE biggest until today, see below) of the
week was the southbound movement of 24 MOTTLED PETRELS that was viewed from near
East Landing on September 11. This was during a strong southeast wind and rain.
23 of the 24 individuals were tallied in just1.5 hours, and undoubtedly there
were more both before and after the seawatch.Also seen off of East Landing
during this weather event were a single adult Arctic Tern, a Pomarine Jaeger, a
flyby Pigeon Guillemot, several dozen Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels, and an
interesting dark Shearwater, seen briefly butwell, that was a good candidate
for Sooty Shearwater. Short-tailed Shearwaters continued to be seen in numbers
around the island. During the strong north winds that dominated the first part
of the week these movements were seen at NE Point,although that changed for the
latter half of the week. Alcid nests have failed this season, with very few
exceptions. Least Auklet and Crested Auklet chicks were likely wiped in a storm
a few weeks ago. These species seem to have left for sea,and neither has been
seen from the island for 2 weeks. 

SHOREBIRDS
While numbers of some species of shorebirds dropped through the week, the
overall numbers and diversity were still very good. Sharp-tailed, and Western
Sandpipers were recorded in good numbers every day this week, although the
Sharp-tailed count dropped below 10 for the first time in a while on September
12. 74 Long-billed Dowitchers (all juveniles, as expected) on September 8 were a
the season high count for that species so far. 3 LESSER SAND-PLOVERS were on
Pumphouse Lake from September 7-9, building from the two there on the 6th. At
least one remained through September 12, and was also seen at Town Marsh, and,
surprisingly, in the upper cut of the Quarry. The shorebird highlight of the
week was a juvenile COMMON RINGED PLOVER that first appeared on Pumphouse Lake
on September 6, but was then seen at Marunich and Town Marsh over the next two
days. 

Both types of Tattlers were seen, although their number is dropping as
well.Red-necked Phalarope numbers are decreasing rapidly, with barely any left
on the island, but Red Phalaropes are still around in huge numbers,
mostly offshore, with at several thousand being seen on September 11 during the
strong SE winds. 

The juvenile Stilt Sandpiper, continued in Town Marsh through the week and is
now looking very uncharacteristically fat and primed to migrate. COMMON SNIPE was
seen most days, mostly at Town Marsh, but also at Pumphouse Lake twice.
There was apparently a sizeable exodus of shorebirds on the night of September
11, as numbers of several species were noticeably down at the shorebird
hotspots. 

LANDBIRDS and PASSERINES

The strong north winds depressed passerine numbers and detection for the first
part of the week, and the situation didn’t get much better with the switch to
strong south winds. The most unusual passerine this week, by far, was the young
CAPE MAY WARBLER that showed up on Hutchinson Hill on September 12. This
represents the first record the Bering Sea region, and one of only a few for
the entire state of Alaska. 

Red-throated Pipit and Eastern Yellow Wagtails were noted one day each, with 3
Red-throated Pipits in various places on September 9, and 2 young Eastern Yellow
Wagtails together at Pumphouse Lake on September 8. Northern Wheatear was seen
on four days this week, in scattered locations, with at least two seen on
September 6. Both Redpolls are still around, albeit in very small numbers. All
of the resident passerines are still here, in force. 

This is Doug Gochfeld, your Fall 2011 St. Paul Island Guide, wishing you
productive, exciting birding wherever you may be. Until next week!!! 

St.Paul Island Tours
www.alaskabirding.com
(877)424 - 5637

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