Sloooowwww end to August on St. Paul Island

Although some may disagree, I would argue it was a very slooooooow end to the month of August. The winds blew from the east and just kept blowing, which brought the predictable assortment of sparrows and warblers from the Alaskan mainland. While we didn’t have too many exciting species there were one or two surprises. The undisputed highlight came from not surprisingly Hutchinson’s Hill. Claudia and I were up there with a group of four veteran birders of St. Paul and walked across the top when I spotted a Northern Wheatear land on one of the Robin rocks. I pointed it out to the group and then another flew up and yet another.

We were looking right into the sun, but something didn’t seem quite right about the other two birds. The birds were completely silhouetted and I could not make out much details. For once when they flew up, sallying for unseen insects in the suddenly warmed air, I could not see any white rumps. We walked closer and on the next look I realized they were bluebirds. It turned out there was a small flock, well three, of Mountain Bluebirds. We took some photos, establishing the first record for St. Paul Island and the Bering Sea region. Mountain Bluebirds range into the interior of Alaska, but are generally scarce throughout the state.


This was one of three Mountain Bluebirds representing the first record for St. Paul Island Photo Stephan Lorenz


Two of the three Mountain Bluebirds Photo Stephan Lorenz

The continuous east winds brought a variety of warblers and sparrows from the Alaskan mainland with Wilson’s, Yellow, and Orange-crowned warblers pretty common. The most numerous of the sparrows have been Golden-crowned and Savannah with the odd White-crowned and Dark-eyed Junco.


Golden-crowned Sparrows are regular fall migrants on St. Paul Island Photo Stephan Lorenz


Yellow Warbler in the celery are pretty common Photo Stephan Lorenz

Shorebirds have not stopped moving and for a few lucky birders the Marsh Sandpipers remained until the end of the month with a few Wood Sandpipers, Common Snipes, and both Red-necked and Little stints. The Common Ringed Plover also stayed, appearing on different wetlands throughout the island.


The latest and hopefully not last Little Stint this year Photo Stephan Lorenz


Red-necked Stints were seen almost every day Photo Stephan Lorenz


The Common Ringed Plover made an appearance on Pumphouse Lake Photo Stephan Lorenz

Other regular Asian shorebirds have included Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and continuing Gray-tailed Tattlers. Alcid diversity has dropped and only puffins remain in numbers on the island.


Horned Puffin Photo Stephan Lorenz



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: