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Alaska Rare Bird Alert » Blog Archive » RBA St. Paul Island August 13th-19th: PIN-TAILED SNIPE, WHITE-TAILED EAGLE, DARK-SIDED FLYCATCHER

RBA St. Paul Island August 13th-19th: PIN-TAILED SNIPE, WHITE-TAILED EAGLE, DARK-SIDED FLYCATCHER


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Hello Birders, this is the St. Paul Island rare bird alert for the week of August 13th-19th, 2012, sponsored by St. Paul Island Tour. The following sequence of sightings is in taxonomic order; an asterisk denotes a species of less than annual occurrence or one of particular note.
 
2012 Species Count: 127

Weekly Species Count: 62

Birds Mentioned:

 

TUNDRA SWAN (ssp. columbianus)

RED-THROATED LOON

**MOTTLED PETREL

Short-tailed Shearwater

Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel

***WHITE-TAILED EAGLE

Pacific Golden-Plover

**TEREK SANDPIPER

GRAY-TAILED SANDPIPER

WOOD SANDPIPER

Bar-tailed Godwit

Sanderling

Western Sandpiper

RED-NECKED STINT

*LITTLE STINT

Pectoral Sandpiper

SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER

Rock Sandpiper (ssp. tsch?)

***PIN-TAILED SNIPE

Red Phalarope

Sabine’s Gull

Herring Gull

Slaty-backed Gull

*ALEUTIAN TERN

Arctic Tern

Pomarine Jaeger

Parasitic Jaeger

Long-tailed Jaeger

RHINOCEROS AUKLET

**VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW

**DARK-SIDED FLYCATCHER

Northern Wheatear

Eastern Yellow Wagtail

Common Redpoll

 

WEATHER

 

This week saw the best of both worlds with exceptionally good weather for the island present early in the week and then that being pushed out by a moderately strong low pressure system that dominated on Friday and Saturday with Sunday returning to “nice” weather.  The 13th and 14th may have combined for one of the nicest stretches of weather ever on the island with temperatures in the mid-60s both days, little to no wind, and bright sunshine from dawn to dusk, a remarkable occurrence out here to say the least.  The storm that passed to our north late in the week brought strong west/southwest winds, rain, patchy fog, and of course birds, so it was also met with our approval.

 

WATERFOWL

 

The only species of note this week was the continuing TUNDRA SWAN that was last seen on the 19th.


SEABIRDS & GULLS

 

For the second time this year, and 5th time ever, MOTTLED PETREL was seen from land while seawatching with at least 5 noted from Southwest Point on the 18th during a major storm with 40+ MPH west winds.  Also of note was the second ALEUTIAN TERN in as many weeks when an adult bird was photographed flying along North Beach on the 19th.  The pair of RED-THROATED LOONS was last seen on the 14th and 2 RHINOCEROS AUKLETS were noted from Southwest Point on the 18th.  The largest push of shearwaters yet this year was seen on the 18th with thousands passing by while a few Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels were seen on the 17th and 18th.  On the gull front 1-2 Sabine’s Gulls were seen daily late in the week while 1-2 Herring and a couple Slaty-backed Gulls were present as well.  Jaegers made a major showing while seawatching on the 18th including 5+ Pomarines, 2+ Parasitics, and 12+ Long-taileds while a good push of Arctic Terns for St. Paul were also seen with 12-15 noted.

 

SHOREBIRDS

 

The 19th saw a major shorebird incursion with the unequivocal highlights being a TEREK SANDPIPER and 2 LITTLE STINTS.  Other species arriving that day included 2-3 RED-NECKED STINTS, 2+ GRAY-TAILED TATTLERS, dozens of SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPERS, 15-20 Pectoral Sandpipers, and a Sanderling.  Also present through the 19th were the continuing WOOD SANDPIPER as well as large numbers of Western Sandpipers (up to 34 on the 17th) and small numbers of Pacific Golden-Plovers.  The PIN-TAILED SNIPE continued through at least the 13th however subsequent attempts to locate it have all failed.  Red Phalarope numbers were still good with counts topping 400 on two days this week while a few non-Pribilof Rock Sandpipers have been seen sparingly.

 

LANDBIRDS & PASSERINES

 

Two new highlight birds joined the continuing WHITE-TAILED EAGLE this week, which was last seen on the 19th, when a DARK-SIDED FLYCATCHER was found on the 16th and subsequently seen on the 17th and a VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW which was first seen on the 15th and then again on the 16th.  The flycatcher accounts for the 7th record for the Pribilofs while the swallow is the 4th record overall and first since 1986.  Typical migrants making their first appearance of the fall season this week were an Eastern Yellow Wagtail on the 16th and 2 Northern Wheatears on the 19th; a Common Redpoll was seen on the 16th and 19th.

 

Regularly occurring species currently present on the island:

 

Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal (ssp. crecca and carolinensis)

King Eider

Harlequin Duck
Long-tailed Duck

Northern Fulmar

Red-faced Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant

Semipalmated Plover

Wandering Tattler

Ruddy Turnstone

Least Sandpiper
Rock Sandpiper (ssp. ptilocnemis)

Red-necked Phalarope
Black-legged Kittiwake
Red-legged Kittiwake
Glaucous-winged Gull

Glaucous Gull

Common Murre
Thick-billed Murre
Pigeon Guillemot

Ancient Murrelet

Parakeet Auklet

Least Auklet

Crested Auklet

Horned Puffin
Tufted Puffin

Pacific Wren (ssp. alascensis)
Lapland Longspur
Snow Bunting
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch (ssp. umbrina)

This is Scott Schuette, Doug Gochfeld, and Ryan O’Donnell, the 2012 St. Paul Island Tour guides, wishing you good birding. For more information about St. Paul Island or to make travel arrangements visit our website http://www.alaskabirding.com or call 1-877-424-5637.

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