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Alaska Rare Bird Alert » Blog Archive » RBA St. Paul Island, October 04 - October 10: EURASIAN BULLFINCH, WHITE WAGTAIL, RUSTIC BUNTING, Canvasback, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Hawfinch, Eyebrowed Thrush, Black Guillemot, Blackpoll Warbler

RBA St. Paul Island, October 04 - October 10: EURASIAN BULLFINCH, WHITE WAGTAIL, RUSTIC BUNTING, Canvasback, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Hawfinch, Eyebrowed Thrush, Black Guillemot, Blackpoll Warbler


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Welcome birders, this is the St. Paul Rare Bird Alert for the week of October
04-October 10 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. 

This is the last full week that will be covered by the RBA this year, as all
the remaining birders on the Island will be departing on October 15. 

Birds:  Species count to date – 186
**84 species this week** (Highest species total to date)
Greater White-fronted Goose
*Emperor Goose*
Brant (Black)
Cackling Goose (Aleutian)
Eurasian Wigeon
American Wigeon
Mallard
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
**CANVASBACK**
Steller’s Eider
King Eider
Harlequin Duck
White-winged Scoter
Black Scoter
Long-tailed Duck
Red-breasted Merganser
Red-throated Loon
Pacific Loon
*Yellow-billed Loon*
Horned Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Northern Fulmar
Red-faced Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
*MERLIN*
Peregrine Falcon
Pacific Golden-Plover
Wandering Tattler
Ruddy Turnstone
Sanderling
Western Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
Rock Sandpiper
Dunlin
Long-billed Dowitcher
Red Phalarope
Black-legged Kittiwake
Red-legged Kittiwake
Herring Gull
*THAYER’S GULL*
*Slaty-backed Gull*
Glaucous-winged Gull
Glaucous Gull
Common Murre
Thick-billed Murre
*BLACK GUILLEMOT*
Pigeon Guillemot
*Ancient Murrelet*
Horned Puffin
**NORTHERN SHRIKE**
Common Raven
Pacific Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
*GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH*
*EYEBROWED THRUSH*
*American Robin*
*WHITE WAGTAIL*
Red-throated Pipit
American Pipit
Lapland Longspur
Snow Bunting
*NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH*
***MAGNOLIA WARBLER***
Yellow Warbler
*BLACKPOLL WARBLER*
Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler
*Townsend’s Warbler*
*Wilson’s Warbler*
*CHIPPING SPARROW*
*Fox Sparrow (Red)*
Fox Sparrow (Sooty)
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
*“OREGON” Dark-eyed Junco*
“Slate-colored” Dark-eyed Junco
**RUSTIC BUNTING**
*Brambling*
Gray-crowned Rosy Finch
Common Redpoll
Hoary Redpoll
*Pine Siskin*
***EURASIAN BULLFINCH***
***HAWFINCH***

WEATHER
The first 4 days of the week saw mild weather with light, variable winds, and
little precipitation. Then we got moderate-to-strong east winds shifting to
northeast and then north for the last three days. Water levels at most wetlands
that had dried out are now back to “normal,” and are holding water. 

WATERFOWL
The previously seen juvenile Greater White-fronted Goose continued at Pumphouse
Lake and the vicinity through at least October 7, while 16 "Aleutian" Cackling
Geese continued at the Crater Lakes through the week. A Eurasian Wigeon was on
Antone Lake on October 5 and continued through the period. The previously seen
flock of 6 Steller’s Eider continued on Salt Lagoon through the period, and
grew to 7 on October 8. Pacific Loon, and Red-necked Grebes are being seen
regularly and in increasing numbers off the coast. A YELLOW-BILLED LOON was
reported from near Zapadni Point on October 5, along with a Horned Grebe. The
waterfowl highlight of the week was a drake CANVASBACK that was flushed out of
Antone Lake by a noisy bulldozer on October 10 and disappeared to the east.
This is one of only 2 or 3 records of Canvasback for the Pribilofs, and the
first one outside of the spring. 

SEABIRDS and GULLS (and RAPTORS)
Short-tailed Shearwaters and Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels were NOT observed this
week. Multiple Slaty-backed Gulls were seen this week, including an adult seen
off Zapadni Beach early on, and then flying by East Landing on October 8. While
the subadult Thayer’s Gull from last week has not been re-found, 3 juvenile
THAYER’S GULLS showed up at East Landing on October 5 and probably accounted
for the singles seen in the area through the week. While no alcids can reliably
be seen anymore, a single Horned Puffin was seen flying into the Zapadni Point
cliffs on October 5, and a hike out to the Northwestern point of the island on
October 7 produced 2 Pigeon Guillemot, and a BLACK GUILLEMOT offshore. The
latter was the first fall record for the Pribilofs. Ancient Murrelets have
finally returned with 3 being seen around the southeast part of the island on
October 9. An adult Peregrine Falcon was seen circling high over the ocean off
of NE Point on October 6, while a Peregrine Falcon of unknown age was over
Pumphouse Lake on October 7. The best raptor of the week, however, was the
MERLIN at the Lake Hill Quarry and then at the Airport on October 6. 

SHOREBIRDS
Shorebird numbers, and especially diversity, are now very low. A few Pacific
Golden-Plovers, and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, are still around, usually in the
low double digits except for October 6 when there was a large influx of the
former for just one day (In excess of 50 individuals were seen around the
island), which very notably included an extremely late adult. A lingering
Western Sandpiper continued on Barrabaras Wetlands through the week. Ruddy
Turnstones and Rock Sandpiper numbers are dwindling fast as well, with counts
of the former being in the single digits regularly this week. 

LANDBIRDS and PASSERINES
The great passerine show, with both eastern and western flavors, continued this
week. The first Pribilof Islands record of MAGNOLIA WARBLER discovered last
week at Zapadni Ravine continued through October 5. Zapadni Ravine then hosted
two interesting one-afternoon wonders: the 4th Pribilof record of NORTHERN
WATERTHRUSH on October 6, and an extremely late GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH on October
8. The juvenile NORTHERN SHRIKE from last week continued terrorizing the
Island’s resident birds at various places around the island including the
Crab Pots, the Airport, and all the way up at Webster House where it was seen
with a decapitated Snow Bunting. EYEBROWED THRUSHES continued through the week,
with at least 6 seen again on October 4, 5 of which were in a flock on the
hillside above Upper Polovina cut. The final count for total individuals seen
this week was between 11 and 14. They continued in ones or twos through the
week near the Crab Pots and in and around Zapadni Ravine. A juvenile American
Robin was above the Town Cliffs on October 9. A WHITE WAGTAIL showed up at the
Webster House on October 6, and stayed through the period, sometimes being hard
to find though. A Red-throated Pipit was on the south slope of Rush Hill on
October 7, and japonicus American Pipits were seen sporadically through the
week. Another notable warbler was an adult male Wilson’s Warbler at Webster
House on October 10, which was one of SEVEN species of North American Wood
Warbler seen this week. “Myrtle” Yellow-rumped Warbler was seen three times
this week, including 4 individuals together at Zapadni Ravine on October 5, and
the BLACKPOLL WARBLER from last week continued in the Crab Pots through October
8. A nice gathering of sparrows on the east side of Hutchinson Hill on October
10 included a “Gambel’s” White-crowned Sparrow, a “Sooty” Fox
Sparrow, and a juvenile CHIPPING SPARROW, the second of this fall. Multiples of
both “OREGON” and “Slate-colored” Dark-eyed Juncos were seen again this
week. October 4 saw two separate RUSTIC BUNTINGS on the island, one above the
Town Cliffs, and one at Marunich. Bramblings have suddenly become quite scarce,
although multiples continued in a couple of locations up until October 5. The
all-time single-day Bering Sea high count for PINE SISKINS that was set last
week was obliterated this week, with the highest count being a whopping 284 on
October 5, with many more undoubtedly present on the island. After the one from
last week went M.I.A. for a week, a brand new stunningly pink adult male
EURASIAN BULLFINCH was found in the Crab Pots on the afternoon of October 9.
The two recent individuals represent the 2nd and 3rd records for the Pribilofs.
The HAWFINCH that showed up last week above the Town Cliffs relocated to the
north where it was seen on the road in to Polovina on October 4th, and then
along the road just south of Big Lake on October 5. 

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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