#ABArare - Baikal Teal - Alaska
Hey, I finally get to write about a bird I found! While birding on Adak Island with Colin Campbell on Sep 6, we came across a Baikal Teal (Code 4). We were driving on a gravel road near Haven Lake, and as we passed a series of small roadside ponds (the largest no bigger than about 100 x 30 feet), I noticed a lone duck on one of them. I stopped, put the truck in reverse, and backed up, fully expecting to see a Green-winged Teal, one of the most common ducks on the island. Instead, I saw a duck with a very obvious pale spot at the base of the bill completely encircled by dark brown, the key field mark for a Baikal Teal — Well, the key field mark for a Baikal Teal that's not an adult male in basic (i.e., not eclipse) plumage.
Over the past ten years or so, early September has proven to be prime time for Baikal Teal in the western Aleutians with several records from Shemya and one from Attu during this period, but this is the first record for Adak and the central Aleutians. This species also occurs as a vagrant to the West Coast, primarily during the winter months. It has occurred more frequently over the past decade as the population in Asia rebounds from a low.
Other notable sightings at Adak since Sep 2 include "Siberian" Whimbrel (Asian subspecies variegatus; Sep 4), two Red-necked Stints (Code 3; Sep 2) first spotted by Isaac Helmericks, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Code 3; Sep 6), two or three Northern Wheatears (rare on Adak; Sep 4, 5, and 6), and a White Wagtail (Code 3; subspecies lugens, formerly Black-backed Wagtail; Sep 6), found by Colin Campbell.