23 October 2014

St. Paul wrap up

If you've been wondering, due to my lack of posts, if I've up and vanished from St. Paul... you'd be right.  The three of us guides wrapped up the season and departed St. Paul almost a week ago.

As I continue to get settled in back home in California while getting used to trees, pavement, and traffic, I thought I'd write a short summary post about my time there.  I've gotten a lot of questions lately such as "How many new ABA birds did you see?" and "Did you meet your goals?".  Personally, the number of lifers I managed to see far surpassed my expectations.  I ended my time there with 34 new ABA birds although I didn't really expect more than 15-20 when I started.

As a whole, St. Paul did quite well.  We saw 178 species this year which is the 2nd-highest tally ever.  We ended with 40 Asian vagrant species which was one shy of tying the all-time high count set in 2007.  We found 5 species that had never been seen on the Pribs before (4 of which were American, the other being Common Chiffchaff).

Here's a list of Code 3 (x = 22), Code 4 (x = 14), and Code 5 (x = 3) species that us guides saw on St. Paul Island in 5 months this year:

Taiga Bean-Goose
Tundra Bean-Goose
Common Pochard
Steller's Eider
Lesser Sand-Plover
Common Sandpiper
Gray-tailed Tattler
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
Long-toed Stint
Red-necked Stint
Jack Snipe
Common Snipe
Slaty-backed Gull
Common Cuckoo
Oriental Cuckoo
Fork-tailed Swift
Sky Lark
Common House-Martin
Willow Warbler
Common Chiffchaff
Wood Warbler
Dusky Warbler
Gray-streaked Flycatcher
Siberian Rubythroat
Red-flanked Bluetail
Taiga Flycatcher
Eyebrowed Thrush
Dusky Thrush
Siberian Accentor
Gray Wagtail
White Wagtail
Olive-backed Pipit
Red-throated Pipit
Rustic Bunting
Common Rosefinch

It's quite a haul, if you ask me, and I challenge any Lower 48 state to come up with a comparable list for any 5 month period.  Even California.... although California is 3898x bigger than St. Paul Island.

I've also been asked a lot whether I'm returning to St. Paul in 2015.  That, I do not know yet.

Numbers aside, I really do feel quite lucky to have had that opportunity.  I want to thank those of you who made it happen, made it more fun than it might have been, and put up with me and these blog posts.

And so with that, I left Antone Lake:
 ... and left the town of St. Paul, visible here from Reef Point:
... hopped on a plane or two:
... saw Mt. Shasta en route:
... and finally, dropped into the Central Valley near Sacramento:
Now to initiate whatever comes next... any ideas?