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#ABArare – Jack Snipe (and others) – Alaska

The hits keep coming in western Alaska. Hot on the heels of Gambell’s Tree Pipit, St. Paul Island in the Pribilofs checks in with a mega of their own in the form of an ABA Code 4 Jack Snipe found and well-photographed by the St. Paul Island tour folks.

A nice shot showing the buffy back stripes unique to the species. Photo by Doug Gochfeld / TDX tours, used with permission

A nice shot showing the buffy back stripes unique to the species. Photo by Doug Gochfeld / TDX tours, used with permission

St Paul Island, the largest and most populous of the Pribilofs, is accessible by air from Anchorage, on Penair Airlines. Birding access is maintained by TDX, an Alaskan native-run village corporation that owns the island and oversees industry related to ecotourism, fish processing, and shipping, among other things.

Jack Snipe has been recorded in the ABA Area about 12 or so times before, mostly in western Alaska and most of those on St. Paul. Three of the four records from the northwest United States – those include three from Oregon and one from California – are birds shot by hunters, suggesting that the species is a somewhat regular vagrant to the West Coast but is infrequently seen because of its furtiveness, exceptional even by snipe standards. In addition to records on the West Coast, there are two other accounts of the species in Newfoundland, including one from 1927 in the midst of a significant Northern Lapwing flight.

Other notable recent birds on St. Paul Island include an ABA Code 5 Willow Warbler, a Siberian Rubythroat (Code 4), Lesser Sand Plover (3),  and multiples of Common Snipe (3), Gray-tailed Tattler (3), and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers (3).

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