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Alaska Rare Bird Alert » Blog Archive » RBA St. Paul Island September 24-30: Northern Flicker, Brambling, Northern Harrier

RBA St. Paul Island September 24-30: Northern Flicker, Brambling, Northern Harrier


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Hello Birders, this is the St. Paul Island rare bird alert for the week of September 24th-30th, 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: 152

2012 Fall Species Count: 109

Weekly Species Count: 73

Birds Mentioned:

 

Greater White-fronted Goose

Emperor Goose

Brant (ssp. nigricans)

TUNDRA SWAN (ssp. columbianus)

Eurasian Wigeon

Northern Shoveler

Steller’s Eider

White-winged Scoter

Black Scoter

RED-THROATED LOON

Pacific Loon

COMMON LOON

Yellow-billed Loon

Horned Grebe

Red-necked Grebe

Short-tailed Shearwater

**NORTHERN HARRIER

Pacific Golden-Plover

GRAY-TAILED TATTLER

Western Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper

SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER

Rock Sandpiper (ssp. non-Pribilof)

Dunlin

Long-billed Dowitcher

Red Phalarope

Herring Gull (ssp. vegae and smithsonianus)

Slaty-backed Gull

Pomarine Jaeger

**NORTHERN FLICKER

PEREGRINE FALCON (ssp. tundrius)

Tree Swallow

*RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET

GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH

HERMIT THRUSH

RED-THROATED PIPIT

American Pipit (ssp. pacificus)

*AMERICAN TREE SPARROW

**CHIPPING SPARROW

Savannah Sparrow

Fox Sparrow (ssp. unalaschcensis)

White-crowned Sparrow

Golden-crowned Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco (ssp. hyemalis)

BRAMBLING

Common Redpoll

 

WEATHER

 

Most of this week’s weather was controlled by a VERY powerful low pressure system that moved into the eastern Aleutians before pushing southeast towards Kodiak Island and then eventually north into the interior of Alaska.  This produced strong winds Monday-Friday, starting from the southeast and then turning to the North on Tuesday and remaining there for the rest of the period.  A new system pushed into the region on Saturday providing a shift in winds to light south/southwest which increased in speed as the week ended.  There was rain every day with a little fog later in the week as the “warmer” southern winds blew in.

 

WATERFOWL

 

Single geese of three species continued all week with a Greater White-fronted Goose and a Brant hanging out together near Northeast Point and an Emperor Goose at Antone Lake.  The TUNDRA SWAN was seen sporadically this week in the Polovina area while migrant waterfowl included White-winged and Black Scoters, 3+ Steller’s Eiders, a Northern Shoveler, and up to 11 Eurasian Wigeons at Antone Lake all week.

 

SEABIRDS & GULLS

 

A marked increase in loons and grebes happened this week with 1-2 RED-THROATED LOONS at Marunich late in the week, a COMMON LOON on the 30th, two separate Yellow-billed Loons mid-week, and daily counts of Pacific Loons from 5-10 while Horned Grebes were seen at various locations on most days and Red-necked Grebes were equally widespread with 5+ some days.  A few Herring and at least two Slaty-backed Gulls continued through the end of the week while a single Pomarine Jaeger on the 28th was the first in a while.  Small numbers of Short-tailed Shearwaters were seen each day with a weekly high of 150 on the 27th.

 

SHOREBIRDS

 

Shorebird numbers have clearly dropped in recent days with few, if any, new arrivals this week.  The most recent GRAY-TAILED TATTLER was seen on the 27th while SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPERS continued in numbers of 1-5 all week long.  Most other shorebirds seen this week were of the expected variety and included 20+ Pacific Golden-Plovers, 1-3 Western Sandpipers on most days, Pectoral Sandpipers daily, a non-Pribilof Rock Sandpiper or two, 2 Dunlin on the 26th, 10 or so Long-billed Dowitchers mid-week, and varying numbers of Red Phalaropes from 1000 on the 24th to 5 on the 29th.

 

LANDBIRDS & PASSERINES

 

This week saw the arrival of several high quality American strays for the Pribilof Islands though few arrivals from the western coast of the Bering Sea were found.  The most exciting finds were a NORTHERN FLICKER on the 28th, a NORTHERN HARRIER on the 25th, a CHIPPING SPARROW on the 25th, and as AMERICAN TREE SPARROW on the 29th.  The flicker was the 6th Pribilof record, the harrier the 5th, the Chipper the 6th, and the American Tree was the 7th.  An ever increasing flock of BRAMBLINGS also appeared mid-week with a max of 11 at Hutchinson Hill from the 29th on while the first RED-THROATED PIPIT in some time was seen briefly at Reef Point on the 28th.  Multiple RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS appeared this week with single birds on the 27th and 28th while a GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH was seen on the 25th and one or two HERMIT THRUSHES were present on the 27th and 28th.  The final Tree Swallow sighting came on the 25th while at least two PEREGRINE FALCONS were seen this week, one on the 26th and one on the 30th.  Regular American strays this week included a couple of American Pipits, one Savannah Sparrow, 1-3 “Sooty” Fox Sparrows, a White-crowned Sparrow on the 30th, 1-4 Golden-crowned Sparrows, two “Slate-colored” Dark-eyed Juncos, and several Common Redpolls at various locations.

 

Regularly occurring species currently present on the island:

 

Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal (ssp. crecca)

Greater Scaup

King Eider

Harlequin Duck
Long-tailed Duck

Northern Fulmar

Red-faced Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant

Wandering Tattler

Ruddy Turnstone
Rock Sandpiper (ssp. ptilocnemis)

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

Glaucous Gull

Common Murre
Thick-billed Murre
Pigeon Guillemot

Ancient Murrelet

Parakeet 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 and Doug Gochfeld, 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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