#ABArare – White-tailed Eagle & Hawfinch – St. Paul, Alaska
A White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla, ABA code 4) was seen May 16 at Tonki Point, on St. Paul Island—one of the Priblof Islands in the Bering Sea. It has been observed virtually every day since then, but wasn’t seen well enough to identify conclusively until May 21.
Multiple observers, including Ryan O’Donnell, Doug Gochfeld and Scott Schuette have reported the bird via eBird checklists.
The first White-tailed Eagle recorded from the ABA Area was of a bird that landed on a ship at Nantucket Lightship, MA, on November 14, 1914. The bird was kept in captivity until it died and the specimen was lost (ABA Checklist, 7th edition). The first Alaska report of the species was at Attu Island in March 1945. More recently, a pair bred successfully on Attu in the late 1990s, and a few scattered reports have occurred since then in the Outer Aleutians (ABA Checklist, 7th edition).
White-tailed Eagle – May 21, 2012 ©Doug Gochfeld
But St. Paul wasn’t done yet (remember the Tundra Bean Goose and Eurasian Bullfinch from last week) … Aaron Lang, Dave Porter and Ryan O’Donnell came up with a Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes, ABA code 4) at Reef Point this morning!
Hawfinch – May 23, 2012 ©Doug Gochfeld
Meanwhile, #ABArare czar John Pushchock is still working Attu. Today, they were only (only!) able to find a Smew and a Brambling … but it seems that there may be something else out there waiting to be found.
Stay tuned, and we’ll keep you up to speed.
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Greg Neise developed his interests in birds, photography and conservation as a youngster growing up in Chicago, across the street from Lincoln Park Zoo. At the age of 13, he worked alongside Dr. William S. Beecher, then Director of the Chicago Academy of Sciences and a pioneering ornithologist, and learned to photograph wildlife, an interest that developed into a career supplying images for magazines, newspapers, institutions and books, including National Geographic (print, web and television), Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Boston Globe, Nature, Lincoln Park Zoo, Miami Zoo, Jacksonville Zoo, The Field Museum and a host of others. He has served as President of the Rainforest Conservation Fund, a volunteer organization dedicated to preserving the world's tropical rainforests. Greg is a web developer for the ABA, and of course, a fanatical birder.