St. Paul Island bird report: September 2-8, 2013
Hello Birders, this is the St. Paul Island bird report for the week of September 2nd-8th, 2013, sponsored by St. Paul Island Tour. The following sequence of sightings is in taxonomic order; an asterisk denotes a species of less than annual occurrence or one of particular note.
2013 Species Count: 148
2013 Fall Species Count: 74
Weekly Species Count: 71
Cackling Goose (ssp. leucopareia)
*COMMON RINGED PLOVER
Herring Gull (ssp. vegae and smithsonianus)
**HORNED LARK (ssp. flava)
***ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER
Eastern Yellow Wagtail
American Pipit (ssp. pacificus and japonicus)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (ssp. coronata)
Fox Sparrow (Sooty)
A strong low pressure system (979 MB) passed through on the 2nd bring with it strong-moderate W/NW on the 3rd and 4th before conditions calmed down for the rest of the week. Temperatures this week reached about normal highs though lows dropped lower than usual at night with clearer skies while rain and fog mostly held off this week with sun and blue skies daily and for extended periods of time late in the week, St. George Island was even visible for most of Friday and Saturday. Late in the week saw light western winds when they shifted to the north on Saturday afternoon and picked up slightly on Sunday.
At least one to two ambiguous Wigeons were present from September 3rd on while the Cackling Goose continued through the 7th as did the pair of Brant. The Steller’s Eider continued in the Salt Lagoon through the 3rd while the flocks of King Eiders and White-winged Scoters increased to 52 and 8 respectively on the 7th at Marunich.
SEABIRDS & GULLS
A COMMON LOON was at the Webster seawatch on the 6th while the first Yellow-billed Loons of the fall appeared this week as did a couple Pacific Loons. A Red-necked Grebe appeared on the 7th while a couple Herring and SLATY-BACKED Gulls continued through the week. Large numbers of Short-tailed Shearwaters were seen most days this week with a very large concentration on the 7th at Northeast Point totaling in the low-mid five digits.
The fall’s fourth BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER was noted on the 7th while last week’s COMMON RINGED PLOVER was last noted at the beginning of the week. The calm weather mid-week precipitated a large exodus of shorebirds with only scattered birds present by the end of the week. A couple GRAY-TAILED TATTLERS were present through the 7th and SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER numbers were only around 15 by the 8th after peaking at 100-150 on the 3rd while the WOOD SANDPIPERS, RUFFS, and COMMON SNIPES present early in the week were gone by the 4th. American shorebird species were better represented throughout the week with a Dunlin on the 7th, a peak of 34 Western Sandpipers on the 2nd, a peak of 35 Pacific Golden-Plovers on the 2nd, daily counts of 10-15 Pectoral Sandpipers, a peak of 48 Long-billed Dowitchers on the 3rd, and daily counts in the hundreds of Red Phalaropes.
LANDBIRDS & PASSERINES
Alaska is known as a place with lots of insects, especially mosquitoes, and while we are lucky enough on the Pribilofs to not have any biting insects we most certainly do have flying insects which is a good thing when you highlight a week with flycatchers from both sides of the world. The most exciting find was on Friday when an ASIAN BROWN FLYCACTHER was found representing the first record for the Pribilofs and between the 3rd and 5th record for North America, this being the first during the fall season. While from the other coast an ALDER FLYCATCHER was found on Saturday also providing a first Pribilof record and the first record for the offshore Bering Sea region. The most recent sighting of the WHITE-TAILED EAGLE was made on the 3rd after an absence of sightings for about a week or so. The next rarest passerine of the week was a Horned Lark of the Asian subspecies seen on the 8th representing the 4th Pribilof record for that species and a SWAINSON’S THRUSH on the 8th which was the eight record for the Pribilofs, all during the fall since 2004. A BLUETHORAT was present at Antone Slough on the morning of the 5th while a small influx of GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSHES from the 2nd-4th accounted for 4-5 total birds. Pipit numbers built through the week with 3-4 RED-THROATED PIPITS by the weekend and 10-15 American Pipits present including a couple japonicus birds from Asia on the 7th. Eastern Yellow Wagtails were present through the 5th while the first push of American passerines this week included a Yellow Warbler on the 2nd, a “Myrtle” Yellow-rumped Warbler on the 8th, a Wilson’s Warbler on the 3rd, a Savannah Sparrow on the 3rd, 1-2 “Sooty” Fox Sparrows from the 5th-8th, and 1-6 Golden-crowned Sparrows daily. Hoary Redpolls continued to be seen around the island in various locations most days.
Regularly occurring species currently present on the island:
Green-winged (and Common) Teal
Rock Sandpiper (ssp. ptilocnemis)
Pacific Wren (ssp. alascensis)
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch (ssp. umbrina)
This is Scott Schuette and Doug Gochfeld, the 2013 St. Paul Island Tour guides, wishing you good birding. For tour information or to make travel arrangements visit our website http://www.alaskabirding.com or call 1-877-424-5637.