St. Paul Island bird report: September 9-15, 2013
Hello Birders, this is the St. Paul Island bird report for the week of September 9th-15th, 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: 152
2013 Fall Species Count: 82
Weekly Species Count: 68
Cackling Goose (ssp. leucopareia)
Rock Sandpiper (ssp. tschuktschorum)
Herring Gull (ssp. vegae and smithsonianus)
***ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER
American Pipit (ssp. pacificus and japonicus)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (ssp. coronata)
Fox Sparrow (Sooty)
A weak low pressure system passed to the south of the Pribilofs mid-week with strong north winds on the 12th that were preceded by light western winds on the 9th-10th and eastern winds on the 10th-11th. Only light winds were present following the storm with the weekend seeing light westerlies 5-15 MPH. Only a small amount of light rain was present this week with a rainy day on the 15th coming after a nearly rainless, regularly sunny, and moderately warm (49-51 degrees F for highs) week for this time of year.
The Brant was last seen on the 10th while the long-staying Cackling Goose was still at home on Weather Bureau Lake through the 14th. Sea ducks continue to arrive with the King Eider flock increasing to 75 by early in the week while small numbers of White-winged and Black Scoters were seen early in the week.
SEABIRDS & GULLS
Highlights for this week came from the east with a trio of BONAPARTE’S GULLS seen on 12th providing the 7th Pribilof record while a MARBLED MURRELET seen for a short time at Southwest Point on the 13th was the 8th Pribilof record. Loons were again noted in modest numbers this week with single Pacifics on two days, a COMMON on the 9th, and Yellow-billeds on the 9th and 10th. A Honred Grebe a Marunich on the 10th was the fall’s first while moderate numbers of Short-tailed Shearwaters were seen early in the week with only small numbers seen by the 15th. Gull numbers continue to build with small numbers of SLATY-BACKEDS seen daily all week while both subspecies of Herring Gull were seen sporadically as well.
Shorebird numbers continued to decline with continued migration off island, though little migration to the island, though the most significant arrivals were 1, and then 2, COMMON SNIPES located on the 14th and 15th. A single RUFF was present on the 11th, a GRAY-TAILED TATTLER was seen on the 10th, and small numbers of SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPERS continued with early week counts around 20 while daily counts were in single digits by the end of the week. American shorebird species noted this week included Pacific Golden-Plover with a weekly peak of 45+ on the 13th and 14th, Dunlin with 1-2 present most of the week, non-Pribilof Rock Sandpiper with at least one present in the Salt Lagoon this week, increased numbers of Pectoral Sandpipers with at least 50 present on the 14th, small numbers of Western Sandpipers peaking at 7 on the 12th, Long-billed Dowitchers with a high count of 23 on the 9th, and continuing large numbers of Red Phalaropes on various lakes and the ocean.
LANDBIRDS & PASSERINES
The ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER found last week continued through the 9th while the WHITE-TAILED EAGLE was seen most recently on the 10th. A PINE SISKIN was seen at Northeast Point on the 10th and 11th while last week’s SWAINSON’S THRUSH continued through to the 11th. GRAY-CHEEKED and Hermit Thrushes were also both seen this week with a single Gray-cheeked on the 10th and a couple Hermits from the 9th-13th. The season’s first BRAMBLING was seen on the 13th with an increase to two by the 15th while RED-THROATED PIPIT numbers held firm this week as almost daily sightings peaked at 4 birds on the 10th. Regularly occurring American migrants this week included moderate numbers of American Pipits of both subspecies with a high count of 11 on the 9th, three Yellow Warblers with one on the 13th and 2 on the 15th, two Yellow-rumped Warblers early in the week, numerous Sooty Fox Sparrows with a high count of 11 on the 12th and a week total of 15-20 birds, even more numerous Golden-crowned Sparrows with a daily peak of 14 on the 10th and a week total of 20-25 birds, one White-crowned Sparrow at Polovina Hill from the 11th-13th, and Hoary Redpolls with generally small numbers present though a flock of 23 was seen on the 10th.
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.