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#ABArare – Solitary Snipe, Common Rosefinch – Alaska

We’re reaching the peak period for Asian rarities in western Alaska, and two recent finds on St. Paul Island in the Pribilofs deserve mention. On September 23rd, Sulli Gibson and Nicole Koeltzow flushed an ABA Code 5 Solitary Snipe near the village of St. Paul. This is the ABA Area’s 3rd record of this cryptic east Asian species, and the second for the island.

All of the Asian Gallinago species that turn up from time to time in western Alaska can be difficult to ID, especially given that most observations are of birds flushed from thick vegetation. Solitary Snipe is larger, with more extensive dark barring. The bird was found again the following day and many birders on the island were able to see it.

More recently on St. Paul, an ABA Code 4 Common Rosefinch was discovered yesterday evening (9/26). Common Rosefinch breeds in Northern Europe and Asia as far east as Kamchatka. It’s an intermittent vagrant to Aleutians and the Bering Sea islands in the spring, and there are at least two summer records from the Alaskan mainland as well. Fall records are spottier, but the species has occurred in both the Bering Sea and the Aleutians. Notably, there is one fall record for California, a bird on SE Farallon Island in September 2007.