RBA St. Paul Island, August 23-29: Long-toed Stint, Ruff, Dark-sided Flycatcher, Taiga Flycatcher
- Welcome birders, this is the St. Paul Rare Bird Alert for the week of August 23 through August 29 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 are one of particular note.
Birds: Species count to date – 159
82 species THIS WEEK!!! Biggest week of the year, thus far…
Whimbrel ssp. hudsonicus
*Bristle-thighed Curlew* (FWS)
Herring Gull ssp. vegae
Eastern Yellow Wagtail
*Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler*
Gray-crowned Rosy Finch
This week we had mostly West winds, with 2 days of East. Rain fell heavily for two days, but we enjoyed partly cloudy-to-cloudy days, with little fog most of the week.
Nothing of note, save for early/late continuing Steller’s Eiders, White-winged Scoters off of Marunick, and both Wigeon and Mallard returning to the island.
SEABIRDS and GULLS
One of the highlight birds this week was one Thayer’s Gull that continues to be seen off East Landing and in the Northeast, mostly Big Lake. Slaty-backed Gulls were recorded most days this week. Alcid nests have failed this season, with very few exceptions. Thick-billed Murre chicks have been seen at a few locations, and 3 juvenile Horned Puffins have been spotted. Several Puffin nests are still active and the hatch this year for both Tufted and Horned Puffins is likely average. Otherwise, Least Auklet and Crested Auklet chicks were likely wiped in a storm a few weeks ago. These species seem to have left the island for sea this week.
Overall shorebird numbers are staggering, and the diversity is great. Sharp-tailed, Pectoral, Least, and Western Sandpipers, were recorded most days, and Sanderling was seen on two days. Pacific Golden-Plovers have lingered at Salt Lagoon, but the appearance of 2 LESSER SAND-PLOVERS in the slough, and at Town Marsh, stole the show! Both types of Tattlers are numerous on the island, and we had both Lesser Yellowlegs and Wood Sandpiper this week. Whimbrel are starting their return migration, and 2 Bristle-thighed Curlews were reported by the Fish and Wildlife Service workers near Zapadni. 4-5 Red-necked Stints have been seen each day this week, while 1 LONG-TOED STINT maintains its presence at Town Marsh since August 17. The year’s first Baird’s Sandpipers and Buff-breasted Sandpipers have been seen at Marunick. Stilt Sandpiper also turned up in Town Marsh. Both Pectoral and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers are in good number across the island. RUFF have been
at various locations all week, including 2 at Novastorshna August 29. COMMON SNIPE appeared at Town Marsh, further securing that location as the “Honey Hole” of the whole island. Fall diversity is at its peak, with some 28 species of Shorebird this week!!!
LANDBIRDS and PASSERINES
Without question, this week has been the best of the year. Passerine diversity was at its highest of the year, as visiting guests and I managed to find 13 species of migrant passerines! The week started off with a bang – one DARK-SIDED FLYCATCHER was seen and photographed in the crab pots August 23. Red-throated and American Pipits were in fair number this week, and Eastern Yellow Wagtails were noted almost daily in small number. 3 Northern Wheatears were seen August 29. Also on August 29 were 1 Gray-cheeked Thrush at Polovina Hill, 1 Fox Sparrow at Webster Cut, Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) in the road to Southwest Point near Zapadni, and…perhaps the bird of the week…one TAIGA FLYCATCHER in the Upper Polovina cut. Also of note were Wilson’s Warbler on two days, Yellow Warbler seen once near Zapadni, and a stunning Bluethroat on Polovina Hill. Both Redpolls continue in varying number, and all the resident passerines are still here, in force.
This is Forrest D. Rowland, 2011 St. Paul Island Guide, wishing you productive, exciting birding wherever you may be. Until next week!!!
St. Paul Island Tours
(877) 424 - 5637
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