My group and I were walking through the celery patch in the Antone area when one of the birders hollered and called me over. Turns out, they had flushed a Phylloscopus! We finally tracked it down, studied it a bit, and managed some photos showing that, yes, it was a WILLOW WARBLER:
Well, the icing on the cake came a short while later when my group and I found yet another Willow Warbler, this time in the quarry bowl of Lake Hill. The first photo of it kinda startled me, just looked a bit different than other WILWs I'd seen (OCWA anyone?):
It was an active little critter though; it was constantly sallying for insects and before long, we all got good looks. Here's another look, this time actually looking like a WILW:
But Willow Warblers weren't the only rare birds to show up. In fact, Scott had a nice find in Pumphouse Lake, a SOLITARY SANDPIPER!
Although they're common elsewhere in the ABA area, they're hella rare up here. This represented the 6th record ever for the Pribs. Interestingly, I think the 3rd WILW we found yesterday also represented the 6th record ever for the Pribs. :-)
Not rare, but check out this comparison between different ROCK SANDPIPERS yesterday:
But first, some background info. Rock Sandpiper (Calidris ptilocnemis), an abundant breeder on the Pribilofs, comes in four subspecies:
C. p. tschuktschorum, breeds in western Alaska and Chukchi Peninsula
C. p. ptilocnemis, breeds in the Pribilofs, Hall Island, and St. Matthew Island
C. p. couesi, breeds in the Aleutians and on the Alaskan Peninsula
C. p. quarta, breeds on the Kamchatka Peninsula and Commander and Kuril Islands of Russia
The left bird in the photo is one of our typical ptilocnemis birds that breeds here. However, the drastically darker bird on the right is one of the other subspecies and these guys are fairly typical here late the season. I'm guessing most of the dark ROSAs that show up here are probably tschuktschorum; they're the only ones that breed to the north of the Bering Sea islands.
A highlight today included finding this NORTHERN WHEATEAR on the top of Black Diamond Hill. It was only my 5th of the season and 20th in my life: