18 June 2014


It’s time for a blog update… despite me still being quite under the weather and despite me not doing much birding the last several days.

However, when a text from another guide comes in saying “Common Rosefinch at Hutch Cut”, I was out the door in less than a minute.  Scott and his group found this female up in the northeast corner of the island last evening:
The female COMMON ROSEFINCH is not a glorious-looking rarity, true, you basically are looking for a House Finch.  However, it’s still a really nice Asian vagrant (ABA Code 4) and this particular bird represents the 7th Pribilof record.

Today I dragged my sick self up into Zap Ravine and to the quarry.  Not much was happening in the ravine although a flash of movement caught my eye as soon as I dropped down into the first stretch.  I wasn’t sure what it was or even exactly where it was, it was just a split second glimpse of movement in my peripheries.  Oh well.  When I was in the van leaving the ravine about 20 minutes later, Scott called from down the road wondering if I flushed a cuckoo from the ravine… because there was one right in the road just beyond the seal blind.  Hmmmm.

Anyway, I figured I'd spend a few seconds with this bird because, you know, it IS a rare vagrant after all despite this season being rather epic for them around western Alaska:
Some views give it a slight buffy look to the undertail (here we go again).  But the underwing bar just isn’t very “contrasty”.  First, a pic giving a slight buffy impression (although not as much as the ORCU we still have around):
But I'd argue that the bar going up the middle of the underwing isn't as contrasting as you would expect on an ORCU:
After that, I explored in the quarry some and found the continuing COMMON CUCKOO at the end of the upper cut.  At least one cuckoo (sometimes two) has been at this location for the past week:
The island’s BALD EAGLE was hanging out along the lip of the quarry this morning; something I hadn’t seen yet.  To be fair though, it's a big bird and it gets around easily enough:
Anyway, so far, things have remained fairly interesting birdwise... including a call I just got saying that Scott and his group just found a SIBERIAN RUBYTHROAT.  Hmm, time to yank a vehicular device out of park, through neutral, and into a gear for a swift delivery to NE Point.