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Alaska Rare Bird Alert » Blog Archive » RBA St. Paul Island May 13-17: Sky Lark, Wood Sandpiper, Tufted Duck

RBA St. Paul Island May 13-17: Sky Lark, Wood Sandpiper, Tufted Duck


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Hello Birders, this is the St. Paul Island bird report for the week of May 13th-17th, 2015, 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.

 

2015 Species Count: 65

Weekly Species Count: 65

 

Birds Mentioned:

 

Cackling Goose (ssp. leucopareia and minima)

Eurasian Wigeon

American Wigeon

Mallard

Northern Shoveler

TUFTED DUCK

Greater Scaup

LESSER SCAUP

King Eider

White-winged Scoter

Black Scoter

Bufflehead

Common Goldeneye

*BARROW’S GOLDENEYE

Red-breasted Merganser

Yellow-billed Loon

Horned Grebe

Red-necked Grebe

Short-tailed Shearwater

Bald Eagle

Sandhill Crane

Pacific Golden-Plover

Wandering Tattler

Greater Yellowlegs

WOOD SANDPIPER

Bar-tailed Godwit

Ruddy Turnstone

Western Sandpiper

Short-billed Dowitcher

Wilson’s Snipe

Red Phalarope

Parasitic Jaeger

RHINOCEROS AUKLET

Glaucous Gull

Snowy Owl

Short-eared Owl

*SKY LARK

Common/Hoary Redpoll

 

WEATHER

 

The weather this week was nicer than is typical for early spring with temperatures well above average each day (about 45 for the high most days) and actual rain only on the 16th which has mostly passed by the evening.  Scattered bouts fog also made an appearance, mostly along the coast, as it is known to do during mid-May.  Winds were light and variable much of the time with the direction mostly from the east or south and speeds rarely exceeding 10-15 MPH.  A minor low which passed through the area on the 13th had been replaced by high pressure by the 17th.

 

WATERFOWL

 

As one would expect at the start of the season, waterfowl were the most diverse group of migrants present on the island upon arrival.  The most unusual species was a BARROW’S GOLDENEYE (only the 11th local record) while a male TUFTED DUCK on the 13th and 14th was also of note.  Several Eurasian Wigeons were noted from the 13th-15th with a LESSER SCAUP on the 13th also of local interest.  Typical migrant species also seen this week included an American Wigeon on the 13th, a couple Mallards late in the week, single Northern Shovelers were seen daily along with a few Greater Scaup, a couple dozen King Eiders, single White-winged Scoters on the 13th, 16th, and 17th, a group of 12 Black Scoters on the 14th, several Buffleheads on the 13th-16th, four Common Goldeneyes on the 13th, and several Red-breasted Mergansers from the 14th-16th.  The only geese seen this week were both minima and leucopareia Cackling Geese daily.

 

SEABIRDS & GULLS

 

Single Yellow-billed Loons were found on the 15th and 16th with daily sightings of Red-necked Grebes and up to eight Horned Grebes on the 14th and 15th.  A RHINOCEROS AUKLET was located on the 17th with a couple Parasitic Jaegers on the 17th and one on the 14th while surprisingly large numbers of Short-tailed Shearwaters for May were found on the 17th with 500+ recorded.  The only gull of any interest were a couple Glaucous Gulls seen daily through the week.

 

SHOREBIRDS

 

A few migrants were noted this week with a WOOD SANDPIPER on the 17th being of greatest interest.  Also found were seven Bar-tailed Godwits on the 13th and a single godwit on the 15th, a Short-billed Dowitcher on the 17th, single Greater Yellowlegs on the 16th and 17th, a Western Sandpiper on the 17th, a Wilson’s Snipe on the 17th, and small numbers of Pacific Golden-Plovers each day of the week.  More common migrant species included 13 Red Phalaropes on the 13th, a few Wandering Tattlers, and a Ruddy Turnstone on the 14th.

 

LANDBIRDS & PASSERINES

 

A displaying SKY LARK was noted on the 14th providing one of the few spring records in recent years for the Pribilofs while the only other migrant passerines seen were a couple flyover Redpolls on the 14th and 17th.  An adult Bald Eagle was seen on various days while two Snowy Owls were seen this week on the 13th, 15th, and 17th, and a Short-eared Owl was seen on the 14th and 17th.  Three Sandhill Cranes were found on the 13th while a flock of seven were seen on the 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

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, Cory Gregory, and Alison Világ, the 2015 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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