Speaking of substantial rarities, the WILLOW WARBLER god made a delivery to St. Paul Island yet again:
The Phylloscopus warblers can be very difficult to tell apart. Although I saw this bird in the light initially (and it had a nice yellowish cast), subsequent photos in the shade made it look much grayer. Additionally, the wing projection in some photos looks startlingly short. However, if you look through all of the photos of this bird on my Flickr account, you'll see photos that show a faint yellowish cast to the breast, pale feet, and primary projection that fits perfectly with Willow Warbler.
This is the 4th record for the Pribilofs and all have been within the last 5 years. In fact, almost exactly one year ago we had the 3rd Prib record of Willow Warbler on Hutch Hill (that day also yielded a Bluethroat and Gray-streaked Flycatcher). Although the ABA lists it as a Code 5 species, surely it will be downgraded to a Code 4 at some point.
The fall assortment of shorebirds continues to improve here on St. Paul Island. It was several days ago that Ashley and I were birding Rocky Lake when we came upon this lanky dude:
Which one? Well, the right bird is a SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER, a Code 3 species that we see in large numbers here in the fall. The more interesting bird in this photo is the left bird, the peep with lanky yellowish legs. And then it flew:
Besides the low Pec-like "churt" call it gave in flight, you'll notice that the feet extend past the end of the tail, a solid fieldmark for LONG-TOED STINT. Here's another photo showing that helpful flight fieldmark:
We eventually tracked it down again and managed some solid photos:
While on the subject of peeps, here's a better photo of the SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER that continues in Pumphouse Lake:
There was a day last week when all of a sudden WOOD SANDPIPERS started dropping in. First, one on Saucer, then two on Saucer, and then Ash and I found this one at Antone Slough:
Strangely, this species is considered only a Code 2 whereas things like Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Ruff, and Red-necked Stint are considered Code 3. I understand that WOSAs have bred in the ABA area but man, I sure don't think SPTS = WOSA in caliber.
Although not a separate species, this is the Siberian race of WHIMBREL that we had flying around Novastoshna a few days ago:
Migrant passerine numbers are continuing to build. We've had new arrivals such as GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWS, FOX SPARROWS, and unusually large numbers of SAVANNAH SPARROWS. The latter has been seen at more than a half a dozen locations already including this one in the cut at Polovina Hill:
Yesterday was the first day of the 2015 season that we've had a North American wood warbler. Here's a WILSON'S WARBLER that, joined with another WIWA, found the quarry suitable to bop around in:
We still will visit cliffs from time to time although most of the seabirds have finished nesting. For example, here are some THICK-BILLED MURRES that are looking over their look-alike youngsters:
... and talk about a fluff bomb, check out this young NORTHERN FULMAR on the cliff next to its parent:
I'll leave you with a panoramic view of the cliff at Ridge Wall. It was a beautiful evening to lose yourself amongst the calls of seabirds.