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#ABArare – Baikal Teal – Alaska

Aaron Lang and his Wilderness Birding Adventures tour group found a Baikal Teal (Code 4) shortly after arriving at Gambell, AK on Aug 31. The past decade has seen an increase in sightings of this species from the Aleutians during fall migration, but this is the first record for Gambell and St. Lawrence Island.

ABArare Baikal Teal Aaron Lang BATE_083113_web

photo by Aaron Lang

Lang’s group found the teal in the “northeast corner marsh”. Paul Lehman reports that it tried to avoid birders by swimming through vegetation in shallow water rather than flying, which gave birders good photo opportunities. The photo above shows not only the pale spot at the base of the bill, a key field mark, but also a green speculum with a buffy leading edge, a field mark that is usually more difficult to see.

Other birds of interest at Gambell the past several days have included several Red-throated Pipits and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and two Willow Warblers. Gambell has had about 15 Willow Warbler records, so given that, it’s current Code 5 checklist code should be bumped up to Code 4.

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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.