Report from a Moving Island in the Bering Sea
- A few notes on fall migration from a ship in the eastern Bering Sea. In
addition to the expected alcids, tubenoses, and larids out here, since
leaving Dutch Harbor on 16 August we've had several notable shorebird and
passerine migrants flyby or land on board.
Shorebirds on the move this week include: PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER, WANDERING
TATTLER, Tattler sp., RUDDY TURNSTONE, and a lone BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEW
that flew by the ship yesterday (8/30) while we were ~90 miles west of Cape
Newenham. Most shorebirds have come in to check out the ship, done a few
laps and then left. Several flocks of turnstones have spent over an hour
with the ship�doing laps, but never landing.
On 30 August good numbers of geese were on the move while we were 90-100
miles west of Cape Newenham. I estimated that 600-800 in small flocks flew
by the ship in the morning hours, heading south. Most that came close enough
to be identify were BRANT. One flock was a group of CACKLING GEESE. A few
NORTHERN PINTAILS were on the move as well.
This morning (8/31) a HORNED LARK (ssp*. flava*, the breeding race from
eastern Russia) landed on board. (We were about half way between Cape
Newenham and St. Paul Island.) Before the Horned Lark chose its perch I
watched it fly around the ship for a few minutes with a smaller mystery
passerine. It was a small sparrow-like jobby, about the size of a Savannah,
but with a longer tail. That's all I could get on it and unfortunately after
a few laps around the ship it flew off without landing.
Another interesting hitchhiker was a GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW which spent two
days on board (29-30 August). During its two days on board it dabbled in
piscivory, dining on juvenile Pacific sandlance on the back deck. It was
gone this morning.
An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER spent about an hour on the ship on 25 August. I've
posted a few photos of these birds on
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