Gambell: Dusky Warbler, Ringed and Sand- plovers, storm
- Today, 1 September, a DUSKY WARBLER was first spotted by Aaron Lang et
al. and then seen (or at least glimpsed) by all assembled in Gambell's
far boneyard. This is the EIGHTEENTH fall record of Dusky here since
1997. The COMMON ROSEFINCH present also in the far boneyard has now been
here five days, a record for the species. Also a push of Gray-cheeked
Thrushes, more Bluethroats, and still 8+ White Wagtails. Shorebirds have
definitely picked up the past several days, helped by a strong storm
with south winds and rain that grounded a good number of shorebirds (but
was basically a bust for landbirds) a couple days ago. Just before the
storm there was a brief, calling COMMON RINGED PLOVER, my eighth here in
fall, and the latest by about five days. (A Semipalmated Plover still
here today is also my latest ever.) Yesterday we had our second juv.
LESSER SAND-PLOVER of the season, and the storm dropped a fair number of
SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPERS, with about 20 individuals here the past two
days; a juv Sanderling (rare, but essentially annual); plus a major
uptick in the numbers of Pectorals (80+), L-b Dowitchers, and Pacific
Golden-Plovers. Just before the storm arrived there was a FORK-TAILED
STORM-PETREL (casual visitor to the northern Bering Sea from the south)
off the Point. During the storm we had another 7 Sabine's Gulls, Arctic
Tern, and many hundreds of Red Phalaropes right along the shore.
Every year at some time during the last few days of August or the first
few days of September, when the wind shifts to the north after being out
of some other direction for at least several days, there is always a
substantial push of Emperor Geese. This year that day was today, and
within just a couple hours of the wind shift, flocks of geese starting
flying by, with some 400+ passing during this afternoon. Other
miscellanea includes another Ancient Murrelet and another "Sooty" Fox
Sparrow. And the numbers of Short-tailed Shearwaters are finally on the
rise, with some 100,000+ off the Point this afternoon.
- Yesterday afternoon, the 13th, a first-cycle BLACK-TAILED GULL was at the point, but quickly disappeared and has not (yet) been re-found. This is the fourth Gambell record for this species, all in late spring. Also yesterday, a flock of 7 White-winged Scoters contained two adult males that appeared to be good candidates for Asian stejnegeri. Photos taken. This taxon is probably almost annual here in spring, and it is a possible candidate for a future split. This morning--June 14th--a TUNDRA BEAN-GOOSE made a nice low pass over town, heading south--the second individual seen here this spring. Yet another RED-NECKED STINT brings the season total to 8, a pair of rare KITTLITZ'S MURRELETS were off the point yesterday (possible breeder on the island's higher mountains), a scarce and late Red-necked Grebe is present, and the casual, long-staying first-cycle THAYER'S GULL continues today, as does the brachyrhynchus MEW GULL yesterday. Also continuing the past two days are the late pair of Eurasian Wigeon, at least one of the LESSER SAND-PLOVER pair, a few Black Guillemots, the territorial Northern Wheatear, and up to 8 Common (and a few Hoary) Redpolls--a semi-species not known to breed on the island. Two drake Common Goldeneyes today are rare but almost annual spring visitors and could conceivably be already post-breeding dispersers. A Northern Pintail nest is in the middle of the near boneyard, despite all the human and dog traffic.
I depart for home tomorrow afternoon (15th), but am likely to be back in just over two months--in late August--for my annual long autumn stay (through early October).