It's hard getting closer to the beginning of the ABA checklist than TUNDRA BEAN-GOOSE. Indeed, the goose fairy has returned bringing with it more ugly bean-geese. Here's a mostly-TUNDRA-looking-thing from Tonki Point Wetlands; we're thinking there's a decent chance it's a different bird from the other two bean-geese we've had in this first month of the season:
Another highlight from the local waterfowl realm was this COMMON MERGANSER on Salt Lagoon. This is actually a GOOSANDER (Eurasian race of Common Merganser) which was the first I'd ever seen. Here's a pretty horrible digiscoped picture from like 1/2 mile away:
Another new species for my island list came in the form of this ARCTIC LOON at Marunich. It was particularly satisfying watching this bird diving repeatedly but ALWAYS showing crazy amounts of white on the flanks when swimming. Solid bird. I like.
Much less exciting for most normal people was this DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT that hung out on the cliffs at Ridge Wall for a bit. Of the three cormorant species found on St. Paul, this one is by far the rarest. I was struck by how big DCCOs really are; their wingspans are half a foot bigger than the local RFCOs. Here's the dark beastie on the cliff:
This COMMON GREENSHANK showed up on the Salt Lagoon yesterday. Although this is the second COMG of the season on St. Paul, it doesn't matter, I'm not sick of them one bit:
It's been a while since the first SIBERIAN RUBYTHROAT of the season was found... but that was in the quarry. The problem was that it was so incredibly skulky that not very many people got satisfactory looks. Take this photo, for example. A chunky brown bird zipping between boulders. Maddening:
So imagine the relief when word reached us of a tame, male SIBERIAN RUBYTHROAT right next to the airport! We convened, relocated the bird, and were amazed at how freaking awesome these are when seen well!
Only 4 spots from the end of the ABA checklist is a rare, large finch from the Old World. It just so happens that we had a fun surprise on a foggy morning when we visited Hutch Hill. Although we weren't expecting to find anything, there was this HAWFINCH sitting quietly on the backside of the hill:
Also, I'm trying to remember to include my email address in case anyone has any questions: