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Alaska Rare Bird Alert » Blog Archive » RBA St. Paul Island May 15th-18th: Tundra Bean-Goose, Bristle-thighed Curlew, Barn Swallow

RBA St. Paul Island May 15th-18th: Tundra Bean-Goose, Bristle-thighed Curlew, Barn Swallow


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Hello Birders, this is the St. Paul Island rare bird alert for the week of May 15th–18th, 2014, 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.
 
2014 Species count: 52

Weekly Species Count: 52

Birds Mentioned:

*TUNDRA BEAN-GOOSE

Emperor Goose

Cackling Goose (ssp. leucopareia)

TUNDRA SWAN (ssp. columbianus)

American Wigeon

Mallard

Northern Shoveler

Greater Scaup

Steller’s Eider

White-winged Scoter

Black Scoter

Bufflehead

Common Goldeneye

Pacific Loon

COMMON LOON

Horned Grebe

Red-necked Grebe

BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEW

Parasitic Jaeger

Ancient Murrelet

Short-eared Owl

BARN SWALLOW (ssp. rustica)

 

WEATHER 

This week really typified the old adage that nice weather often means few birds, with weather that is well above average for this time of year and fewer migrants than one would expect.  There is little to no snow left on the island and the lack of snowmelt means that the island’s ponds and lake are well below average in level and there are few ephemeral wetlands on the island currently.  The weather late in the week was mostly sunny with a bit of fog and mist some days and temperatures well above average with lows in the high 30s and highs in the mid-40s (it was 49 degrees F on the 17th) while the winds have been relatively weak from the west or north at 5-10 MPH.  The high pressure ridge over the Bering Sea is supposed to break down late next week so hopefully we will see more migrants once the weather gets a bit more “interesting.”

WATERFOWL

As is typical, the most prevalent group of birds this early in the season was the waterfowl this week.  Of greatest interest was a TUNDRA BEAN-GOOSE found on the evening of the 18th providing the 12th Pribilof record for that species.  A TUNDRA SWAN was seen each day from the 15th-18th this week while a flock of five Emperor Geese were present on the 16th and there were daily sightings of Cackling Geese with the highest count being 22 on the 16th.  Dabbling ducks were present in small numbers with a single Mallard on the 15th and 16th, between one and four American Wigeons from the 16th-18th, and daily sightings of Northern Shoveler with a high count of 10 on the 15th.  Diving ducks were present in a little higher diversity with a single Greater Scaup from the 16th-18th, a pair of Steller’s Eiders on the 16th, small numbers of White-winged and Black Scoters, a pair of Buffleheads from the 15th-17th, and up to four Common Goldeneyes from the 15th-18th.

 

Seabirds and Gulls

 

A few loons and grebes were noted through the week with single COMMON LOONS on the 16th and 18th along with single Pacific Loons on the 15th and 17th.  Red-necked Grebes were seen this week with two on the 16th and one on the 18th while a single Horned Grebe was seen on the 16th.  A distant Parasitic Jaeger was noted from the Webster seawatch on the 17th while eight Ancient Murrelets were seen on the 16th.


SHOREBIRDS

It was a very quiet end of the week for migrant shorebirds with the only notable migrants being a trio of BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEWS on the afternoon of the 15th.

LANDBIRDS & PASSERINES 

The landbird front was quiet the second half of the week with a BARN SWALLOW of the Asian subspecies rustica seen on the 15th and a Short-eared Owl noted around Northeast Point on the 15th and 16th.


Regularly occurring species currently present on the island:


Northern Pintail
Green-winged (and Common) Teal
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

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, Cory Gregory, and Glen Davis, the 2014 St. Paul Island Tour guides, wishing you good birding. For tour information or to make travel arrangements visit our website http://www.alaskabirding.com or call 1-877-424-5637.

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