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Alaska Rare Bird Alert » Blog Archive » RBA St. Paul Island August 25th-31st: Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Ruff, American Golden-Plover

RBA St. Paul Island August 25th-31st: Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Ruff, American Golden-Plover


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RBA
* Alaska
* St. Paul Island, Pribilofs
* August 31, 2008
* AKSPI 08.08.31Hello Birders, this is the St. Paul Island rare bird alert for the week of August 25th - August 31st, 2008 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.

Birds Mentioned:

Greater White-fronted Goose
EMPEROR GOOSE
Brant
Steller’s Eider
Black Scoter
RED-THROATED LOON
Short-tailed Shearwater
Bald Eagle
GYRFALCON
*AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER
Pacific Golden-Plover
GRAY-TAILED TATTLER
Western Sandpiper
*RED-NECKED STINT
Pectoral Sandpiper
SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER
**BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER
*RUFF
Long-billed Dowitcher
Wilson’s Snipe
Red Phalarope
Herring Gull (ssp. smithsonianus)
*THAYER’S GULL
Slaty-backed Gull
Parasitic Jaeger
Long-tailed Jaeger
Northern Wheatear
Eastern Yellow Wagtail
American Pipit (ssp. rubescens)
Common Redpoll
Hoary Redpoll

This week’s weather was dominated by a low pressure system which gave us strong winds from the S for much of the latter part of the week along with long periods of rain and fog. The early part of the week was mostly clear with moderate winds from the north-northwest.

WATERFOWL

A flock of 7 EMPEROR GEESE on the sand spit in Big Lake on the 31st were the highlight of this week’s returning waterfowl. Other geese seen this week included the continuing Brant last seen on the 25th at Webster Lake and a Greater White-fronted Goose seen at various locations on the 30th and 31st. A close second behind the Emperor Geese for the week’s waterfowl highlight was a female Steller’s Eider which was found in the rocks at Tonki Point on the 27th and continued at least to the 28th. Another first-of-fall was a female Black Scoter that was found on Webster Lake on the 28th and continued through the end of the week.

SEABIRDS & GULLS

Much smaller numbers of birds were found at sea this week with very few auklets, and no Cresteds, this week while Short-tailed Shearwater numbers dwindled around the island as the week progressed. A RED-THROATED LOON was at the Webster seawatch on the 25th to provide the week’s only loon sighting.

The number of large gulls continues to increase this week with Vega Herring Gull numbers reaching 13 on the 31st among the much larger numbers of Glaucous-winged Gulls. THAYER’S GULLS continue to be present with the adult bird in the Northeast part of the island seen on the 25th at the Webster seawatch and at Big Lake on the 31st while another adult Thayer’s was seen on the Salt Lagoon mudflats on the 31st. An adult American Herring Gull was seen on the 30th and 31st around town while at least 4 Slaty-backed Gulls were seen around town and in the northeast part of the island through the week.

Jaegers continue to be difficult to find this week with a single Long-tailed seen flying past Zapadni Beach on the 30th and a pair of Parasitics at sea off of the Webster seawatch on the 31st.

SHOREBIRDS

As expected this time of year shorebirds constituted the majority of the migrants being seen on the island this week. The find of the week was a juvenile BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER photographed by FWS personnel along the High Bluffs on the 27th but it was closely followed by a juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER found among a group of Pacific Golden-Plovers near Lake Dune on the 26th and a RUFF found along the southwest side of Weather Bureau Lake on the 29th and continuing through the 31st.

Good, but more expected, shorebirds this week included a juvenile RED-NECKED STINT found on Antone Slough on the 25th and seen through the week with another seen at Webster Lake on the 31st, a GRAY-TAILED TATTLER at the Webster seawatch on the 25th, and numerous SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPERS found at various locations around the island through the week with a high count of 18 on the 31st.

American shorebirds making appearances this week included numerous Pacific Golden-Plovers across the island, Western Sandpipers at Antone Slough and Webster Lake, small numbers of Pectoral Sandpipers from the 27th on, as many as 6 Long-billed Dowitchers starting on the 26th, a Wilson’s Snipe in Pumphouse Lake on the 31st, and a few Red Phalaropes on various lakes and at sea from the 29th to the 31st.

LANDBIRDS & PASSERINES

The juvenile GYRFALCON which has been present for nearly a month in the northeast section of the island was seen again at Polovina Hill on the 25th after a two week absence. The Bald Eagle continued around town through the week with the last sighting being on the 27th.

Very few passerines continue to be found through the week with a Northern Wheatear around Polovina Hill from the 25th on, a flyby Eastern Yellow Wagtail at East Landing on the 27th, an American Pipit at the Webster seawatch on the 25th, and small numbers of both Redpolls in the quarry area through the week.

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
Wandering Tattler
Ruddy Turnstone
Rock Sandpiper (ssp. ptilocnemis)
Red-necked Phalarope
Herring Gull (ssp. vegae)
Glaucous-winged Gull
Glaucous Gull
Black-legged Kittiwake
Red-legged Kittiwake
Common Murre
Thick-billed Murre
Pigeon Guillemot
Parakeet Auklet
Least Auklet
Horned Puffin
Tufted Puffin
Common Raven
Winter Wren (ssp. alascensis)
Lapland Longspur
Snow Bunting
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch (ssp. umbrina)

For tour information or to make travel arrangements visit our website
http://www.alaskabirding.com or call 1-877-424-5637. This is Scott Schuette (sschuette01@hotmail.com) and Dave Porter, the 2008 St. Paul Island Tour guides, wishing you good birding.

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