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Alaska Rare Bird Alert » Blog Archive » RBA St. Paul Island May 22-28: Bristle-thighed Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Wood Sandpiper, Slaty-backed Gull.

RBA St. Paul Island May 22-28: Bristle-thighed Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Wood Sandpiper, Slaty-backed Gull.


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Welcome birders, this is the St. Paul Rare Bird Alert for the week of May 22 through May 28, sponsored by St. Paul Island Tours. The following sequence of sightings is in taxonomic order; asterisks denote a species of less than annual occurrence, and species in all capitals mark one of particular note.

Birds:  Species count to date - 107 Greater White-fronted Goose *Emperor Goose*

Cackling Goose (ssp. leucopareia)

*Tundra Swan*

*Gadwall*

Eurasian Wigeon

American Wigeon

Mallard Northern ShovelerNorthern Pintail Green-winged Teal (spp. crecca)

Green-winged Teal (spp. carolinensis)

*Ring-necked Duck*

Greater Scaup

*Lesser Scaup*

Stellar’s Eider King Eider Harlequin Duck

White-winged Scoter

Black Scoter

Long-tailed Duck Bufflehead Common Goldeneye

Red-breasted Merganser

Pacific Loon

Yellow-billed Loon

Red-necked Grebe

Horned Grebe

Northern Fulmar Short-tailed Shearwater Red-faced Cormorant

Pelagic Cormorant

*Rough-legged Hawk*

*American Golden-Plover* Pacific Golden-Plover Semipalmated Plover *WOOD SANDPIPER*

Wandering Tattler

Whimbrel (ssp. hudsonicus)

Whimbrel (ssp. variegatus)

*BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEW*

*BLACK-TAILED GODWIT*

Bar-tailed Godwit

*Semipalmated Sandpiper*

Western Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper

Rock Sandpiper

Wilson’s Snipe

Common 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 (SIBERIAN) TERN*

Arctic Tern

Common Murre Thick-billed Murre Pigeon Guillemot Ancient Murrelet Parakeet Auklet Least Auklet Crested Auklet Tufted Puffin

Horned Puffin

Short-eared Owl

Common Raven

Tree Swallow

Bank Swallow

*Cliff Swallow*

Pacific Wren

*Hermit Thrush*

*Yellow-rumped Warbler*

*American Tree Sparrow*

*Golden-crowned Sparrow*

*Dark-eyed Junco*

Lapland Longspur Snow BuntingGray-crowned Rosy Finch

Common Redpoll

Hoary Redpoll

WEATHER  

Last week was dominated by southeast and eastern winds with two days of southerly flow.  We enjoyed several days of mostly sunny skies. Very little precipitation was logged. Ice has melted from the ponds, and very little snow persists on the higher, north-facing, slopes. 

 

WATERFOWL

 

Three species of Geese were found this week. (4) Emperor Geese continue to be seen almost daily at the Reef Rookery, in Southeast. Greater White-fronted Geese have appeared, in singles, on various days. Up to (14)Cackling Geese have been seen in various ponds throughout the island or flying over the crabpots. Two Gadwall were found mixed in with Pintail on Town Marsh, originally on May 16, continued for several days. Mallards were absent this week until May 27, when a pair appeared. 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, but now one pair of each remains in the vicinity of the town . Pintail, Green-winged Teal, and Long-tailed Duck numbers have fallen to the average number that normally occur on island for breeding. One pair of Ring-necked Ducks that was found near Marunick point on May 27,  has been residing on Antone Lake since. Greater Scaup have been regular on most ponds and a single Lesser Scaup was found mixed in with Greaters on Pumphouse Lake early in the week, and persisted until May 25. Bufflehead numbers peaked at (24) on May 14, but are all but absent at the time of writing.  (8) 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 28.  A group of (6)Steller’s Eider was found on May 27 in Salt Lagoon and has been seen daily since.

 

SEABIRDS and GULLS

 Single Slaty-backed Gulls were found at various locations during the period. Both spp. of Herring Gull, vegae and smithsonianus, were found this week.  Two Sabine’s Gulls were seen flying past High Bluffs on May 27.  Ancient Murrelets (3) finally showed up in Village Cove on May 13 and have been feeding in the cove early mornings since.  Pigeon Guillemots have been seen almost daily from most cliff vantage points but have been concentrated around Reef Cliff and Zapadni Cliff. Horned Puffins returned on May 22, to the island, and are now in large numbers. A single female Red-breasted Merganser was seen flying over Webster Lake on May 11 and was refound on the 22 on Big Lake. (40) Short-tailed Shearwaters were seen flying past Northeast Point on May 24th.  Four (4) Pelagic Cormorants were found on May off Marunick, and have been seen at various points around the island.  All three Jaegers were seen this week as fly-bys, chasing ducks.    

SHOREBIRDS

 

Shorebird numbers have risen sharply in the past week, as did the diversity! American Golden-Plover was discovered among a group of Pacifics on May 24, and stayed the next day. Wood Sandpipers were seen nearly every day during the period, in varying number and location. Both ssp. of Whimbrel have been recorded in the Southwest, and Northeast, parts of the island, and two Bristle-thighed Curlews turned up late in the evening May 26, near the airport. Bar-tailed Godwit numbers have fluctuated wildly over the period, with a high count on May 22 of some 40+ birds over Salt Lagoon. Black-tailed Godwit was seen with the flock mid-week, and stayed two days. Peeps made a huge showing this week, with many Least Sandpipers returning and displaying, and Semipalmated Sandpiper making its less-than-annual appearance on Pumphouse late May 23. Pectoral Sandpipers were seen May 25 and 28. Dowitchers of both species were seen this week, with Short-billed Dowitchers outnumbering Long-billeds 5-to-1. Both Common and Wilson’s Snipe persist at the wetland complexes around Polovina and Pumphouse Lakes, and perhaps the largest number of Red Phalarope seen onshore in a Spring was recorded May 23 at over 70!

 

LANDBIRDS and PASSERINE

 

One Rough-legged Hawk was identified, loosely following the Reindeer herd, perhaps subsisting on calving afterbirths. Passerines showed up, en masse, during the past 72 hours! Tree, Bank, and Cliff Swallows were all recorded in one group, then seen after dispersal in various locations. (2) Hermit Thrushes were found May 28, as were (2) Yellow-rumped Warblers. Single American Tree Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, and Dark-eyed Junco were all found within the past 48 hours. Common and Hoary Redpolls continue, in pairs, in the North crabpots. 

 

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 Tourswww.alaskabirding.com(877) 424 - 5637

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