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Alaska Rare Bird Alert » Blog Archive » RBA St. Paul Island September 8th-14th: SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF, Jack Snipe, Common Rosefinch

RBA St. Paul Island September 8th-14th: SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF, Jack Snipe, Common Rosefinch


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Hello Birders, this is the St. Paul Island bird report for the week of September 8th-14th, 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: 145
2014 Fall Species Count: 91
Weekly Species Count: 78
 
Birds Mentioned:
 
Brant
TUNDRA SWAN (ssp. bewickii and columbianus)
Mallard
Steller’s Eider
King Eider
White-winged Scoter
Bufflehead
Pacific Loon
*MOTTLED PETREL
Short-tailed Shearwater
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel
BALD EAGLE
Pacific Golden-Plover
LESSER SAND-PLOVER
GRAY-TAILED TATTLER
Wandering Tattler
Whimbrel (ssp. hudsonicus)
Ruddy Turnstone
RUFF
SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER
Sanderling
Dunlin
Rock Sandpiper (ssp. tschuktschorum)
Pectoral Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Long-billed Dowitcher
**JACK SNIPE
COMMON SNIPE
Red Phalarope
Pomarine Jaeger
Parasitic Jaeger
Herring Gull (ssp. vegae and smithsonianus)
SLATY-BACKED GULL
Glaucous Gull
Arctic Tern
***SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF
*ARCTIC WARBLER
*OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT
RED-THROATED PIPIT
American Pipit (ssp. pacificus)
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
*AMERICAN TREE SPARROW
*CHIPPING SPARROW
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow (Sooty)
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco (ssp. hyemalis)
BRAMBLING
**COMMON ROSEFINCH
Common Redpoll
 
WEATHER
 
The first part of the week saw relatively mild conditions with light to moderate S/SE winds turning to moderate NW late on the 11th as a very powerful low pressure system began to make its way into the southern and central Bering Sea.  The 12th saw strong SW winds in the morning turn to very strong SE winds by the evening which continued into the 13th when the eye of the storm spun closest to the Pribilofs.  By late on the 13th the winds had spun back around to strong from the NW which continued through the 14th as the system moved to the southeast and away from the Bering.  Temperatures remain above average in the low to mid 50s most days while this week was very wet for St. Paul with over two inches of rain falling, mostly on the 8th and 11th-13th.
 
WATERFOWL
 
The first three Steller’s Eiders appeared on the 13th while a Mallard was seen on the 14th which was also a new migrant.  Also noted this week were two White-winged Scoters on the 11th, between two and seven Brant daily, and the long-staying Bufflehead which was seen through the 14th.  Six TUNDRA SWANS continued to be seen daily while a few King Eiders were seen sporadically during the week.
 
SEABIRDS & GULLS
 
As is seemingly the case more and more a strong flight of MOTTLED PETRELS was noted from shore during a powerful storm on the 12th when 200-300 were noted along with a few Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels.  Small numbers of Short-tailed Shearwaters were seen daily with the peak counts being just a few hundred on the 12th and 13th.  Single Pacific Loons were noted on the 9th, 13th, and 14th, while jaeger sightings on the 10th (Pomarine) and 12th (Parasitic).  One or two SLATY-BACKED GULLS were present all week along with a handful of Glaucous Gulls and several Herring Gulls of both subspecies.  A small flock of five Arctic Terns were seen from Hutchinson Hill on the 8th while a large flock of 85+ birds were found roosting during the storm on the 13th.
 
SHOREBIRDS
 
As has become a theme this fall we saw JACK SNIPES this week!  Though how many is debatable and an ongoing discussion.  After the one was present last week an individual was located on the 10th and then again on the 13th and 14th, photo evidence points to the 13th and 14th bird being different from the first individual while the bird on the 10th could not be tied to either the first or second bird.  Which leaves us knowing at least two individuals have been present with a third sighting being uncategorized.  Other more typical Asian shorebirds this week included the continuing Lesser Sand-Plover through the 10th and a new individual on the 14th, between one and four GRAY-TAILED TATTLERS daily, a RUFF on the 9th, increasing numbers of SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPERS with a season high count of 100+ on the 14th, and at least three COMMON SNIPES from the 9th-13th.  At least two Whimbrels were present this week with one from the 9th-14th and a second bird from the 11th-14th while strong numbers of Sanderlings were also recorded including a daily high of six on the 11th and seven on the 13th with individuals seen daily from the 8th-13th.  Regularly occurring migrant species included Pacific Golden-Plover with less than 15 most days though 20-30 were seen on the 14th, Wandering Tattler in small numbers daily, Ruddy Turnstones in decreasing numbers with 50-200 daily, single Dunlin on the 10th and 11th, “Mainland” Rock Sandpipers in small numbers, Pectoral Sandpipers in generally low numbers with the highest daily count being 20+ on the 14th, Western Sandpiper in decreasing numbers with a high of 18 on the 10th and only a few by the 14th, Long-billed Dowitcher in increasing numbers with a handful to begin the week and a high of 50-60 birds on the 14th, and Red Phalaropes in consistent numbers of 50-150 individuals.
 
LANDBIRDS & PASSERINES
 
Perhaps not the most spectacular bird in person but the “SIBERIAN” CHIFFCHAFF remained until the 9th while the second COMMON ROSEFINCH of the season and 8th for the Pribilofs was found on the 10th. A single OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT was found on the 14th providing the 16th or so Pribilof record and one of only a handful of fall records while a small influx of BRAMBLINGS was noted on the 13th and 14th when seven and six individuals were found respectively.  An ARCTIC WARBLER was seen on the 9th and 10th with a second, as yet unidentified, phylloscopus warbler seen on the 13th.  Three RED-THROATED PIPITS were seen on the 13th and 14th while locally rare CHIPPING SPARROWS were seen on the 9th-11th and 13th along with only the 9th Pribilof record of an AMERICAN TREE SPARROW on the 14th.  More typical American migrants this week included a few American Pipits on the 13th and 14th, an Orange-crowned Warbler on the 10th, several Yellow Warblers with daily sightings and a high of three on the 10th, a few Wilson’s Warblers from the 8th-10th, daily sightings of Savannah Sparrows and “Sooty” Fox Sparrows of between one and 10 individuals, a single White-crowned Sparrow from the 9th-14th, daily sightings of Golden-crowned Sparrows of between two and 12 individuals, and a few Dark-eyed Juncos daily.  Small numbers of Common Redpolls continue to be seen daily with BALD EAGLE sightings on the 11th, 12th, and 14th.
 
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
Rock Sandpiper (ssp. ptilocnemis)
Least Sandpiper
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, Cory Gregory, and Doug Gochfeld, 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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