Tuesday, August 28, 2012

First Few Days in Gambell

I’ve been on St. Lawrence Island in the town of Gambell for a few days now. After the airlines really messing things up, I made it to the island on the afternoon of August 26th. It turned out to be a beautiful day. But beautiful days aren’t what you want for birds on Gambell, and only a few migrants were around including an Arctic Warbler and Red-throated Pipit, both lifers. I also found the second fall record of … drum roll please… American Wigeon!

On my first full day, August 27th, I spent the entire day scouring the boneyards, mountain side, the point and the sewage ponds. We also got a ride to the end of Troutman Lake. Around town, migrants were slow again, but a Northern Wheatear was nice. I had a total of 3 Slaty-backed Gulls, 2 at the point and one at the end of Troutman Lake. Also at the end of Troutman, in the smaller ponds, was another second fall record! This time it was a Common Goldeneye. I sure wish they were second fall records from Asia, but I’ve got time. I had one Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, a bird that does not appear to be around in numbers this year (at least not yet, only a total of 3-ish this fall!). Upon arrival back into town, completely tired and broken, Paul tells me about a Gray-tailed Tattler along the mountain side. So, after a quick dinner, I hiked through more pea gravel and finally found the Gray-tailed Tattler right where he described. It was quite friendly!

Today, August 28th, has been more of the same. Landbird migrants are few and far between, although there was a bit of a Pipit/Wagtail thing going on. I did get my lifer Bluethroat, too. A lot of the tour groups are coming in soon. Should make finding those rarities easier.

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