Monday, September 30, 2013

The Pribs--Days 13 to 15

For those who read my blog during my big year in 2010, you will remember food being part of that year's agenda.  Food here on St. Paul is centered on the galley/canteen of the Trident Seafood fish/crab processing facility.  As I have already said, it is really nothing to write home about for the most part, but occasionally we are surprised.

We have been treated a couple of days by maybe the best cinnamon roll besides the ones my daughter makes.  The fresh halibut has proved to be generally a highlight, but the shocker 2 days ago was the oxtail stew that was awaiting us at dinner.  It was very tasty.

The past 3 days have been probably the slowest birdwise since I arrived here.  On day 13 the winds were not too high and the sun was out.  I added gray-cheeked thrush and eurasian wigeon to my trip list.  We also had another sighting of the gray-streaked flycatcher, and the white-tailed eagle which was hunting over Polovina Lake.  We even had our very first "rarity" of the trip in the crab pots--the 4th island record of a lincoln's sparrow.

On Saturday, the weather was even more accommodating--sunny all day and not much wind.  The birding though was lackluster.  We did find our 4th brambling of the trip (photos just above and below taken by Laura--click on any photo to enlarge).  Neil Hayward finally got a good look at a common snipe which is his 717th bird for the year.

The guides were ecstatic when we found a magnolia warbler in the lower cut on Polovina Hill--only the 2nd record for the island.  For the rest of us it was a yawner since we are all have come out here to find Asian rarities.  For the guides, they not only have a year list going for the island, but also an all time island life list.  Gavin has 223 birds on his island life list and is leading Scott by 6 birds at the moment.  The pipit raised Doug's life time island list to 200.  The magnolia warbler and a marbled murrelet added 2 more birds to my trip list.

Today was once again a beautiful day.  We birded some of the usual places including the crab pots this morning before Laura, Doreene and Dan had to return to the hotel to pack up their stuff to fly back to Anchorage.  They proved to be the sacrificial birders because as they were taking off we found an olive-backed pipit on Hutchinson Hill at the far northeast tip of the island (photo taken by Neil Hayward who is in the bottom photo).  This is my 8th life bird for the trip and raises the trip total to 88 different species.  It is Neil's 718th for his big year which keeps him on pace with John Vanderpoel's big year in 2011.

The key to the arrival of Asian rarities is having low pressure storms moving from west to east in the Bering Sea.  A not very strong low will be coming through in the next 36 hours that may bring us some more "good" birds.  Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. You might want to consider starting your post with a "Spoiler alert" warning for those readers who are also following Neil's blog...