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Alaska Rare Bird Alert » Blog Archive » RBA St.Paul Island, AK May 9th-15th: Wood Sandpiper, Slaty-backed Gull, Snowy Owl, Golden-crowned Sparrow

RBA St.Paul Island, AK May 9th-15th: Wood Sandpiper, Slaty-backed Gull, Snowy Owl, Golden-crowned Sparrow


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Snowy Owl on Hutchinson Hill Welcome birders, this is the St. Paul Rare Bird Alert for the week of May 9st through May 15th sponsored by St. Paul Island Tours. The following sequence of sightings is in taxonomic order; asterisks denote a species of less than annual occurrence or one of particular note.

Birds:  Species count to date - 67

Greater White-fronted Goose

Emperor Goose

Cackling Goose (ssp. leucopareia)

Gadwall

Eurasian Wigeon

Mallard

Northern Shoveler

Northern Pintail

Green-winged Teal (spp. crecca)

Green-winged Teal (spp. carolinensis)

Greater Scaup

Lesser Scaup

*Stellar’s Eider

King Eider

Common Eider

Harlequin Duck

Black Scoter

Long-tailed Duck

Bufflehead

Common Goldeneye

Red-breasted Merganser

Red-necked Grebe

Northern Fulmar

Short-tailed Shearwater

Red-faced Cormorant

Pelagic Cormorant

Bald Eagle

Sandhill Crane

Pacific Golden-Plover

Semipalmated Plover

Lesser Yellowlegs

*WOOD SANDPIPER

Wandering Tattler

Rock Sandpiper

Wilson’s Snipe

Red-necked Phalarope

Red Phalarope

Pomarine Jaeger

Parasitic Jaeger

Long-tailed Jaeger

Herring Gull (spp. smithsonianus)

Herring Gull (ssp. vegae)

*SLATY-BACKED GULL

Glaucous-winged Gull

Glaucous Gull

Sabine’s Gull

Black-legged Kittiwake

Red-legged Kittiwake

Common Murre

Thick-billed Murre

Pigeon Guillemot

Ancient Murrelet

Parakeet Auklet

Least Auklet

Crested Auklet

Tufted Puffin

Snowy Owl

Short-eared Owl

Pacific Wren

*GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW

Lapland Longspur

Snow Bunting

Gray-crowned Rosy Finch

Common Redpoll

Hoary Redpoll

 WEATHER

Last week was dominated by southeast and eastern winds in the beginning of the week and dominated by Southwest and Western winds turning to Eastern winds at the end of the week.  The week produced a mix of clear, overcast, and cloudy skies with a handful of snow events. Ice has melted from the majority of ponds with the exception of parts of Big Lake. 

 

WATERFOWL

 

Three species of Geese were found this week.  The single Emperor Goose at Southwest Point remained until May 13 and up to (14 )Cackling Geese have been seen in various ponds throughout the island or flying over the crabpots.  Greater-white fronted Geese numbers decreased with (5) seen on Pumphouse Lake on May 9 and a single individual seen in Pumphouse Lake on May 10.  A lone Gadwall was found mixed in with Pintail on Salt Lagoon on May 16 and another in Town Marsh later that afternoon.  Mallard numbers decreased as the week went on with a pair and an individual seen on May 13 and 14, respectively.  Eurasian Wigeon and Northern Shoveler numbers peaked on May 14 with (12) Wigeon and (5) Shoveler seen at Webster Lake, Town Marsh, and Pumphouse Lake . Pintail, Green-winged Teal, and Long-tailed Duck numbers have risen to the average number that normally occur on island for breeding.  Greater Scaup have been regular on most ponds and a single Lesser Scaup was found mixed in with Greaters on Weather Bureau Lake on May 10.  Bufflehead numbers peaked at (24) on May 14.  Common Goldeneyes peaked last week and a single pair continued to be found on Antone Lake until May 15.  Thirty (30) Black Scoters continue just off of Black Bluffs near Kotovi Point and a single female has been on Antone Lake since May 13.  King Eider numbers dropped dramatically this week with only a handful of groups seen sporadically off of various cliffs with a high count of about (60) on May 8.  The Drake Steller’s Eider was found again on May 9 off of Zapadni Wall and has not been seen since. A single female Common Eider wwas found off of Zapadni Cliff on May 13 mixed in with a group of 30 King Eiders. 

 

SEABIRDS and GULLS

 The Red-necked Grebe found in Village Cove on May 8 continued to be seen until May 15.  Single Slaty-backed Gulls were found as a fly-by over Tonki Point on May 10 and another on the ice of Antone Lake on May 13.  Both spp. of Herring Gull, vegae and smithsonianus, were found this week with a high count of (7) on May 14.  A single Sabine’s Gull was found flying past Reef on May 10.  Ancient Murrelets (3) finally showed up in Village Cove on May 13 and another single individual was seen on May 15.  Pigeon Guillemots have been seen almost daily from most cliff vantage points but have been concentrated around Reef Cliff and Zapadni Cliff. A single female Red-breasted Merganser was seen flying over Webster Lake on May 11 and again on May 15 over Big Polovina Lake.  (40) Short-tailed Shearwaters were seen flying past Southwest Point on May 11.  Three (3) Pelagic Cormorants were found on May 10 and off and on again towards the end of the week.  All three Jaegers were seen this week as fly-bys, dark and light phase Parasitc’s were seen on May 11. 

SHOREBIRDS

 

Shorebird numbers have been low wit the exception of our resident Rock Sandpipers whose numbers leveled off last week.  Single Semipalmated Plovers have been seen sporadically this week.  On May 14 the first Western shorbird, a Wood Sandpiper was found along with a Wilson’s Snipe along the edges of Pumphouse Lake.  Two (2) Lesser Yellowlegs flew over the Salt Lagoon late on May 15.  A high count of (10) Red Phalarope occured on May 14 and a single Red-necked Phalarope was found with (4) Red Phalarope on Webster Lake on May 11.  Wandering Tattler numbers peaked at (6) on May 14.

 

LANDBIRDS and PASSERINE

 

Three (3) Sandhill Cranes were flushed out of the tundra in Northeast Point on May 9.  The adult Bald Eagle from last week was seen again in the beginning of the week.  A Golden-crowned Sparrow was seen from A-Dorm on May 14.  Common Redpoll numbers have been low with only a single bird seen in the Southern crabpots on May 9 and around Reef Point with a Hoary Redpoll on May 14.  A Short-eared Owl continued to be seen on May 9 and 13 and a Snowy Owl was photographed sitting on the tombstone on the top of Hutchinson Hill on May 15.

 

 

This is D. Sean Hegarty and Forrest D. Rowland, 2011 St. Paul Island Guides, wishing you productive, exciting birding wherever you may be. Until next week!!! St. Paul Island Tours www.alaskabirding.com  (877) 424 - 5637. Snowy Owl

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