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Alaska Rare Bird Alert » Blog Archive » RBA St. Paul Island, September 13-19: Brambling, Bluethroat, Lesser Sand-Plover, Red-breasted Nuthatch

RBA St. Paul Island, September 13-19: Brambling, Bluethroat, Lesser Sand-Plover, Red-breasted Nuthatch


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Welcome birders, this is the St. Paul Rare Bird Alert for the week of
September 13-September 19 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 – 166
56 species this week
Brant(Black)
Eurasian Wigeon
American Wigeon
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Lesser Scaup
King Eider
Harlequin Duck
Long-tailed Duck
Red-throated Loon
Pacific Loon
Northern Fulmar
Short-tailed Shearwater
Red-faced Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Pacific Golden-Plover
*Lesser Sand-Plover*
Wandering Tattler
Bar-tailed Godwit
Ruddy Turnstone
Western Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
Rock Sandpiper
Dunlin
*Stilt Sandpiper*
Long-billed Dowitcher
Red-necked Phalarope
Red Phalarope
Black-legged Kittiwake
Red-legged Kittiwake
Sabine’s Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Glaucous Gull
Parasitic Jaeger
Common Murre
Horned Puffin
Tufted Puffin
Common Raven
*Red-breasted Nuthatch*
Pacific Wren
*Bluethroat*
*American Robin*
Red-throated Pipit
American Pipit
Lapland Longspur
Snow Bunting
Yellow Warbler
*Yellow—rumped(Myrtle) Warbler*
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
*BRAMBLING*
Gray-crowned Rosy Finch
Common Redpoll
*Pine Siskin*

WEATHER
During the first 5 days of the week the Island experienced uncharacteristically
calm weather. What light winds there were, were variable but mostly out of the
south or southwest. As all good things must come to an end, this period of calm
gave way to stronger winds out of the north for the final 2+ days of the week. 

WATERFOWL
7“Black” Brant were seen flying by Big Lake on September 18, while 2 were
on Webster Lake on September 19. Both Eurasian Wigeon and American Wigeon
have been seen in small numbers at various parts of the complex of wetlands on
the east-central part of the Island throughout the week, and at least one
hybrid American X Eurasian Wigeon has been hanging around with them as well.
A pair of interesting ducks showed up on Weather Bureau Lake on September 14
and15, one being a Lesser Scaup with the other one an apparent hybrid
between Lesser Scaup and Tufted Duck. The flock of 46 King Eiders continues off
of Marunich. A calling Red-throated Loon flew over Weather Bureau Lake
on September 14, and a Pacific Loon was seen flying by East Landing on
September18. 

SEABIRDS and GULLS
As is often the case during less harsh weather, seabirds were very scarce
thisweek. The highest number of Short-tailed Shearwaters observed was 129
on September 14, but they were not recorded on any dates after that. The
lone seabird highlight came from Big Lake on September 18, which saw 6
juvenile Sabine’s Gulls, and 3 Parasitic Jaegers among a huge gathering of
Kittiwakes during the beginning of strong north winds. Between 2,000 and
5,000 Black-legged Kittiwakes were seen on Big Lake for the last few days of
the week, with 200 or so being the maximum count of Red-legged Kittiwakes on
the island this week. With the vast majority of the Murres now gone, the only
alcids that can be reliably seen are both species of regularly occurring
Puffins. 

SHOREBIRDS
Shorebird numbers were down across the board this week. Pectoral Sandpipers
actually outnumbered Sharp-tailed Sandpipers for most of the week, with a high
of 19individuals on September 17. This dichotomy changed on September 19, as
an influx of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers to the island brought the number out
of single digits and back up to 46 individuals. Western Sandpipers are
mostly gone, with less than a dozen being seen on the entire island now. There
are still decent numbers of Long-billed Dowitchers hanging around, mostly
on Pumphouse Lake. 1-2 Bar-tailed Godwits were seen on Hutchinson Hill at the
end of the week. These are likely the same long-staying individuals that had
beenon Salt Lagoon. 4 juvenile LESSER SAND-PLOVERS were on the Island
September14-15, with 3 Pumphouse Lake and one in Town Marsh. One juvenile
LESSER SAND-PLOVER was briefly at Zapadni Beach on September 17. Wandering
Tattlers arestill around in numbers, although no Gray-taileds were seen this
week. 

The long staying juvenile Stilt Sandpiper was last seen in Town Marsh on
September15. 

LANDBIRDS and PASSERINES
Other than the BRAMBLING seen briefly on Hutchinson Hill on September 14, this
week’s passerine birding had a distinctly American flavor to it. 

The early part of the week featured a trickle of migrants, notably
Red-throated Pipit on September 14 and 15, a BLUETHROAT on Hutchinson Hill
September 15, Yellow Warbler at Webster Lake on September 13, Yellow-rumped
“Myrtle” Warbler at Big Lake on September 14, Savannah Sparrow at Tonki
Wetlands on September 17, Golden-crowned Sparrow along the road to Marunich on
September 17, several “Sooty”Fox Sparrows and American Pipits at various
locations, and two different flyover PINE SISKINS. 

September 19 saw an influx of landbirds, with the highlights being a
RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH at Webster House, an AMERICAN ROBIN at Kaminista, 3 PINE
SISKINS atHutchinson Hill, and 4 Golden-crowned Sparrows spread over several
locations. 

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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