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Alaska Rare Bird Alert » Blog Archive » RBA St. Paul Island August 18th-24th: Red Knot, Chipping Sparrow, Lesser Sand-Plover

RBA St. Paul Island August 18th-24th: Red Knot, Chipping Sparrow, Lesser Sand-Plover


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Hello Birders, this is the St. Paul Island bird report for the week of August 18th-24th, 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: 130

Weekly Species Count: 61

 

Birds Mentioned:

 

TUNDRA SWAN (ssp. bewickii and columbianus)

King Eider

Short-tailed Shearwater

BALD EAGLE

Pacific Golden-Plover

LESSER SAND-PLOVER

GRAY-TAILED TATTLER

Wandering Tattler

Whimbrel (ssp. hudsonicus)

Ruddy Turnstone

*RED KNOT

SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER

RED-NECKED STINT

Sanderling

Rock Sandpiper (ssp. tschuktschorum)

BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER

Pectoral Sandpiper

*SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER

Western Sandpiper

Long-billed Dowitcher

COMMON SNIPE     

Red Phalarope

Parasitic Jaeger

Herring Gull

SLATY-BACKED GULL

Glaucous Gull

Arctic Tern

Northern Wheatear

Eastern Yellow Wagtail

American Pipit (ssp. pacificus)

Yellow Warbler

Wilson’s Warbler

*CHIPPING SPARROW

Savannah Sparrow

Fox Sparrow (Sooty)

Golden-crowned Sparrow

Common Redpoll

 

WEATHER

 

This week saw two very different halves, the first half being quite pleasant while the second half turning decidedly less enjoyable to be outside in.  High pressure continued from the 18th to the 22nd with little to no rain or fog, light winds mostly out of the east, some sunshine, and temperatures continuing well above average.  On the 22nd a new low pressure system swung up into the Bering Sea from the southeast and brought with it a whole bunch of rain (1.5+ inches over the weekend), heavy cloud cover, increasingly strong winds from the E, NE, and then eventually swinging to the NW, and overall cooler temperatures.

 

WATERFOWL

 

We still remain without much in regards to fall waterfowl migration as the continuing TUNDRA SWANS (currently five individuals as of the 24th) and King Eiders were the only non-residents noted this week.

 

SEABIRDS & GULLS

 

The season’s strongest movement of Short-tailed Shearwaters occurred on the 18th when 6,000+ were noted with only a handful of individuals seen on subsequent days this week.  Single Parasitic Jaegers were found on the 18th and 23rd while a few Herring, SLATY-BACKED, and Glaucous Gulls were also found late in the week.  A small incursion of Arctic Terns was recorded on the 23rd with 15 birds spread between a couple groups avoiding the wind and rain.

 

SHOREBIRDS

 

The most unusual migrant shorebird this week was a RED KNOT (the 15th Pribilof record) seen for a short period on the 18th, with the SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER continuing through the 20th, and the first juvenile LESSER SAND-PLOVER being seen from the 19th-24th.  Also seen this week for the first time this year were two BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS on the 24th.  Two juvenile GRAY-TAILED TATTLERS were seen on the 20th and 23rd, increasing numbers of SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPERS were found with a high count of eight on the 24th (including three adults), one or two RED-NECKED STINTS seen each day, and a COMMON SNIPE which was found on the 20th and 22nd.  Typical American species noted this week included a high count of nine Pacific Golden-Plovers on the 19th (including the first juvenile of the fall), small numbers of Wandering Tattlers daily, an “American” Whimbrel on the 23rd and 24th, hundreds of Ruddy Turnstones, the continuing adult Sanderling on the 21st and 22nd, one or two “Mainland” Rock Sandpipers early in the week, a few Pectoral Sandpipers daily though the max day count was three, a flock of 24 Western Sandpipers which were found daily all week, a single Long-billed Dowitcher on the 19th, and small numbers of Red Phalaropes each day of the week.

 

LANDBIRDS & PASSERINES

 

Landbird migration continued in earnest this week with all individuals found having American or Trans-Beringian origins.  Of most interest was a CHIPPING SPARROW found on the 24th which is the earliest Pribilof record by 10 days and also the 10th overall fall record of the species.  Other American species found this week included a Yellow Warbler on the 20th (the 2nd earliest fall record), a Savannah Sparrow on the 20th (the 3rd earliest fall record), three or four Wilson’s Warblers from the 19th-21st, two Fox Sparrows on the 20th and 24th, and at least eight Golden-crowned Sparrows on the 23rd and 24th.  Trans-Beringian migrants seen this week included a single Eastern Yellow Wagtail on the 18th, three Northern Wheatears on the 18th and then two on the 23rd and 24th, and several American Pipits seen almost daily this week.  The family group of Common Redpolls were noted all week and the continuing BALD EAGLE(S) were seen a couple times early in the week.

 

Breeding or resident species present on/around the island:

 

Northern Pintail

Green-winged (and Common) Teal

Harlequin Duck

Long-tailed Duck

Northern Fulmar

Red-faced Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant

Semipalmated Plover

Least Sandpiper
Rock Sandpiper (ssp. ptilocnemis)

Red-necked Phalarope
Black-legged Kittiwake
Red-legged Kittiwake
Glaucous-winged 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 and Cory Gregory, 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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