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.
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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