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#ABArare – Pine Bunting – Alaska

Birding has been slow in the Bering Sea region over the past several weeks, but St. Paul has come roaring back with a Code 5 Pine Bunting. First found by Gavin Beiber on Oct 2 as part of a big day attempt and seen by team members Scott Schuette, Doug Gochfeld (who superbly photographed it), and Larry Peavler, it is only the third record for North American and the first for the Pribilofs.

ABArare Pine Buntingphoto by Doug Gochfeld

Pine Bunting breeds from western Siberia to the western side of the Sea of Okhotsk and south fo northern China.  It winters primarily in Afghanistan, Pakistan, northern India and northern China.

The previous two North American records are from Attu, and all have occurred later in the fall season (Nov 1985 and Oct 1993), beyond when birders usually have been exploring western Alaska.

The only other notable Asian birds on St. Paul were a flock of up to 11 Bramblings (and meanwhile, there is a flock of ten Bramblings on Unalaska Island in the eastern Aleutians). No word on what their big day total was.

Nate Swick contributed to this post

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John Puschock

John Puschock

John Puschock reports ABA rare bird alerts and manages #ABArare for the American Birding Association. John is a frequent participant in rare bird forums around the web and has knack for gathering details necessary to relocate birds. He has been a birder since 1984 and now leads tours for Bird Treks, as well as for his own company Zugunruhe Birding Tours. He has led tours to locations across North America, from Newfoundland to New Mexico and from Costa Rica to Alaska. He specializes in leading tours to Adak in the Aleutian Islands.
  • Dream bird, congrats to the finders and very nice photos by Mr. Gochfeld.
    How about some ABA Blog love for the other 3rd record for North America Siberian Blue Robin, on Gambell??
    http://pavlikbirdblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/the-robin-continues.html .
    Paul J. Leader the author of the 2009 British Birds article, Ageing and sexing of Asian chats got the ID ball rolling although Messr. Pavlik & Lehman had contemplated SBR from the beginning.

  • John Puschock

    Love has been giving! Look further up for the SBR post. (Is it positively the third NA record? I’m away from my sources, so I thought it was only the second.)

  • Sorry I ever doubted you John! There is a specimen female from Attu spring 1985. Then there is a male from Dawson Yukon June 2002. The National Geographic fieldguide says this sighting is disputed. But look at the Birder’s Journal article on page 8 here:
    http://www.yukonweb.com/community/ybc/ybc-spring2003.pdf .
    I find the drawings convince me.

  • Azan karam

    It is very informative for me to know that pine bunting is also found in Pakistan and thank you to inform us John Puschock.

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