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#ABArare – Tundra Bean-Goose, Terek Sandpiper, Common Pochard – Alaska

The ABA’s spring trip to St. Paul Island in the Pribilofs is going well so far, with a couple of good Asian vagrants to show so far. On May 20, an apparent Tundra Bean-Goose was present in a flock of Snow Geese, and soon after a Terek Sandpiper and a Common Pochard were discovered. All are ABA Code 3 species, rare vagrants to North America but both are most likely to be found in western Alaska.

Tundra Bean-Goose is a casual vagrant to western Alaska, with most records in the spring. Many Alaska sightings can only be assigned to bean-goose species because the former Bean Goose sightings were not identified to subspecies at the time. The AOU split Bean Goose into two species, Taiga and Tundra Bean-Goose in 2007 in their annual supplement.  There is a proposal currently before the AOS Classification Committee that would re-lump the two bean geese.

Terek Sandpiper is unusual in western Alaska, with most North American records coming from the Bering Sea islands. Even so, the chunky shorebird with the distinctive upturned bill is an irregular migrant at best. It has also been recorded on the mainland, mostly in the west, but with exceptional records from Manitoba (1972), Massachusetts (1990) and Virginia (2008).

St Paul Island is accessible by air via several Alaskan airports, notably Anchorage, on Penair Airlines.

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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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