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Alaska Rare Bird Alert » Blog Archive » RBA St. Paul Island September 29th-October 5th: WOOD THRUSH, Red-flanked Bluetail, Tennessee Warbler

RBA St. Paul Island September 29th-October 5th: WOOD THRUSH, Red-flanked Bluetail, Tennessee Warbler


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Hello Birders, this is the St. Paul Island bird report for the week of September 29th-October 5th, 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: 171
2014 Fall Species Count: 127
Weekly Species Count: 98
 
Birds Mentioned:
 
Emperor Goose
Brant
Cackling Goose (ssp. leucopareia and minima)
TUNDRA SWAN (ssp. bewickii and columbianus)
*GADWALL
Eurasian Wigeon
American Wigeon
Mallard
Northern Shoveler
**GARGANEY
*RING-NECKED DUCK
Greater Scaup
LESSER SCAUP
King Eider
White-winged Scoter
Black Scoter
Red-breasted Merganser
Pacific Loon
COMMON LOON
Yellow-billed Loon
Horned Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Short-tailed Shearwater
BALD EAGLE
*BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER
Pacific Golden-Plover
GRAY-TAILED TATTLER
Wandering Tattler
Ruddy Turnstone
SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER
Dunlin
Rock Sandpiper (ssp. tschuktschorum)
Pectoral Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Long-billed Dowitcher
Wilson’s Snipe
Red Phalarope
Pomarine Jaeger
Herring Gull (ssp. vegae and smithsonianus)
SLATY-BACKED GULL
Glaucous Gull
PEREGRINE FALCON (ssp. pealei)
**WARBLING VIREO
Bank Swallow
**RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL
Hermit Thrush
***WOOD THRUSH
*WHITE WAGTAIL
RED-THROATED PIPIT
American Pipit (ssp. pacificus)
***TENNESSEE WARBLER
Orange-crowned Warbler (ssp. lutescens)
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler (ssp. hooveri)
TOWNSEND’S WARBLER
*CHIPPING SPARROW
Fox Sparrow (Sooty)
**LINCOLN’S SPARROW
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco (ssp. hyemalis)
BRAMBLING
Common Redpoll
Hoary Redpoll
 
WEATHER
 
High pressure dominated this week with no true storms passing through, or in close proximity to the Pribilofs.  While a small low pressure system did pass well to the north of the island’s early in the week the high pressure situated near the Aleutians was what influenced local weather the most.  There was E wind on five of the seven days this week with the other two having NE or N winds (the 3rd and 4th), winds were moderate (15-25 MPH) from the 29th-1st before turning strong on the 2nd and 3rd, and then turning light on the 4th and 5th.  Temperatures remained at or just above normal early in the week though the 4th and 5th were cooler with the temps on the 5th reaching down to 28 degrees at night, the only period below freezing yet this fall.  Most days were dry or nearly so with occasional rain squalls on the 4th and 5th.
 
WATERFOWL
 
The GARGANEY was re-sighted on the 1st after an extended absence while two rare American species, GADWALL and RING-NECKED DUCK, were found this week.  The GADWALL was present on the 3rd and 4th providing the 2nd fall record for the Pribilofs while a group of five RING-NECKED DUCKS on the 5th were the 1st fall record, 11th overall record, and highest total ever for the Pribilofs.  A flock of four Emperor Geese remained were seen through the 4th while five to six Brant were seen daily, and the flock of 19 “Aleutian” Cackling Geese and a single “minima” Cackling Goose remained through the 5th.  The six long-staying TUNDRA SWANS were last seen on the 5th with an additional individual present with the group that day as well.  A LESSER SCAUP was seen from the 1st-5th while two Red-breasted Mergansers were seen on the 5th, four to eight Northern Shovelers were seen daily, one to five Mallards were seen daily through the 4th, and five or six Greater Scaup were seen daily through the week.  Wigeon numbers increased significantly through the week with one to six Eurasians, one to 18 Americans, and a total of 25-35 total individuals present by week’s end with a flock of 90 King Eiders present on the 29th and increasing numbers of scoters with White-wingeds numbering 25-30 individuals on the 5th and Blacks up to 29 on the 3rd.
 
SEABIRDS & GULLS
 
Fall loon migration picked up this week with Pacifics (five on the 30th, two on the 2nd, four on the 4th, and four on the 5th), COMMONS (three on the 4th and two on the 5th), and Yellow-billeds (three on the 30th, one on the 2nd, and one on the 4th) noted while both Horned and Red-necked Grebes were seen almost daily though normally in ones and twos.  Short-tailed Shearwater continued to be seen only sparingly and in small numbers (high count was 200 on the 2nd) while a few Pomarine Jaegers (one on the 2nd, one on the 4th, two on the 5th) were seen late in the week.  A few Herring, SLATY-BACKED, and Glaucous Gulls were noted around the island this week, though no more than two or three individuals were seen of any species each day.
 
SHOREBIRDS
 
As is the case in the later part of the fall shorebird migrants have become to wane.  The only new species added this week were a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER on the 30th, providing the 2nd fall record and latest by 5 weeks, and a Wilson’s Snipe from the 1st-3rd.  The last GRAY-TAILED TATTLER sighting was on the 29th while SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPERS continue to be seen daily in numbers of 5-15 individuals.  Regular shorebird species include Pacific Golden-Plovers which continue to be seen daily in numbers under 20, the last Wandering Tattler was noted on the 1st, Ruddy Turnstone numbers remain at 25-75 daily, a Dunlin was noted on the 4th and 5th, up to seven “Mainland” Rock Sandpipers were seen on the 5th, Pectoral Sandpipers remain with daily sightings of 5-15 individuals, two Western Sandpipers remained through the 5th, Long-billed Dowitchers were seen daily in numbers of 5-15 individuals, and Red Phalaropes continue to be seen with a low day count of 20+ and a high of 450 on the 2nd this week.
 
LANDBIRDS & PASSERINES
 
The most exceptional record this week, month, or year, and perhaps the most unlikely American bird species to ever be found in the Pribilofs was a WOOD THRUSH found on 3rd providing the first Alaskan sighting, this record is perhaps 2,000-2,500 miles to the northwest of the next closest sighting of this species.  Also of major note was a TENNESSEE WARBLER seen briefly on the 5th which could not be found subsequently, this provides the 1st Pribilof record for this rare Alaskan breeder.  The most notable Asian passerine of the week was the fall’s second RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL which was seen sporadically on the 30th (this is the 7th Pribilof record) with BRAMBLINGS continuing through the 2nd (25 on the 30th and two on the 2nd), a WHITE WAGTAIL on the 5th providing the 13th Pribilof record, and a RED-THROATED PIPIT on the 30th.  Other rare American species found this week included a WARBLING VIREO on the 29th-30th which is the 5th Pribilof record, a TOWNSEND’S WARBLER on the 30th, a CHIPPING SPARROW on the 5th, and a LINCOLN’S SPARROW on the 29th and 30th which is the 6th Pribilof record.  More typical American migrants/vagrants seen this week included two Bank Swallows from the 1st-3rd (providing the latest fall record for the Pribilofs), a Hermit Thrush on the 30th, one to three American Pipits most days this week, an Orange-crowned Warbler on the 1st, one or two Yellow Warblers on the 29th-1st, one or two Yellow-rumped Warblers daily from the 30th-5th, one to three “Sooty” Fox Sparrows daily, one or two White-crowned Sparrows daily, one to four Golden-crowned Sparrows daily, Dark-eyed Juncos on the 1st and 5th, daily Common Redpolls with a max of 12 on the 3rd, and a few Hoary Redpolls with a high count of three on the 2nd.  Both BALD EAGLES remain on the island through this week with a single “Peale’s” PEREGRINE FALCON seen on the 29th and 2nd this 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
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, 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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