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#ABArare – Alaska Roundup

In the last few days a number of great birds have been discovered in Alaska, mostly on the Bering Sea islands but also on the mainland. In lieu of individual posts for each great bird, here’s a quick run-down of recent notables from the Last Frontier.

While it’s expected that a few red-letter rarities are going to turn up on the Aleutians or in the Bering Sea every year, Asian strays on mainland Alaska are not appreciably more common there than they are elsewhere on the continent. That’s why it was such a shock that a Terek Sandpiper (ABA Code 3) was found by Frank Clemons near Anchorage late last week. The species has been seen those western islands a number of times, and a remarkable 8 times just in Anchorage. There are also mainland ABA records of this bizarre sandpiper from British Columbia, California, Massachusetts, and Virginia, as well as a record from Baja California in Mexico. It was present for several days and a great number of birders from Alaska and beyond were able to see it.

On Gambell, St. Lawrence Island, birders had a great run at the beginning of this week, with Gavin Beiber finding Common House-Martin (4). Later, Rich Hoyer Dusky Thrush (4), and a “Siberian” Common Chiffchaff (5) (pictured below).

Gambell has become the most reliable place in the ABA Area to find Common Chiffchaff. This is at least the fourth record for the island since the ABA’s first was documented in June 2012, not including a Phylloscopus on St Lawrence Sept-Oct 2011 that has not been accepted but was also a likely chiffchaff. St. Paul Island in the Pribilofs also had one in September 2014.

Photo by Rich Hoyer

Photo by Rich Hoyer

And speaking of the Pribilofs, a few good birds have been seen on St. Paul Island as well, most notably a recent Siberian Rubythroat (4), and a stunning male at that.

Photo by Cory Gregory, used with permission

Photo by Cory Gregory

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
Nate Swick

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  • Ethan Goodman

    In a mini Patagonia picnic table effect, the Chiffchaff was found (but not positively ID’d) by me and Alex Lin-Morre late night of 6/5; as many birders joined us (in vain) to re-find the bird, Rich Hoyer found an odd thrush on the mountainside, which turned out to be the Dusky Thrush! All was well when the Chiffchaff was refound and well-photographed by a large group of us next morning of 6/6. All around great happenings at Gambell.

    -Ethan Goodman

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