Buldir bird notes 1990-2012

1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

Summarizing the occurrence of unusual birds at Buldir Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska (mostly in spring), as encountered by members of our research group. Buldir is a wilderness area within the Alaska Maritime National Widlife Refuge.

Checklist of birds of Buldir Island (.pdf format) by Ian L. Jones

 

1990

Arrived May 26 (Tiglax = 'TEKH-lah'), departed early August (Tiglax). A good year for birds. Highlights: Common Black-headed Gull 2, Common Sandpiper 1, Wood Sandpiper 10 (max, May 27), Temminck's, Rufous-necked and Long-toed Stints, Common Cuckoo 1 (June 16), Common House Martin 1 (Delichon urbica,June 13), Pechora Pipit 1, Olive-backed Pipit 1, Dark-sided (Siberian) Flycatcher 1 (second record for North America, May 31), Siberian Rubythroats, a singing Middendorf's Grasshopper Warbler (July 27), Rustic Bunting 1, Yellow-breasted Bunting 1 (second record for North America, male; June 13), Brambling 2.

Common Cuckoo, June 16, 1990 (ILJ)

 

Common (Delichon urbica, left) and Asian (D. dasypus, right) House Martin specimens from the British Museum at Tring (ILJ) - the bird at flying around outside the Buldir cabin on June 13 was snowy-breasted like the birds on the left.

 

Brambling May 27, 1990 (ILJ)

 

Middendorf's Grasshopper Warbler, a singing (male?) mist-netted July 27, 1990 (Scott Richardson)

 

1991

Arrived June 2 (Tiglax), departed August 12 (Tiglax). Few migrants this year (easterly winds through most of June). Highlights: Common Pochard 2, Black-tailed Gull (June 9, 5 miles N of Buldir, from Tiglax), Lesser Sandplover (max 5), Common Sandpiper 1, Wood Sandpiper (max 2, low), Whimbrel (variegatus) 2, Long-toed Stint 1, Little Stint 1 (juv, August), Common Cuckoo 1 (June 23-early July), Bohemian Waxwing 1 (found dead, mummified), Bank Swallow 1, Dark-sided Flycatcher (June 17, found freshly dead, specimen retained), Hawfinch 1.

Common Cuckoo (hepatic phase female), June 23, 1991 (ILJ)

Dark-sided Flycatcher (Muscicapa sibirica) found dead near the beach after a storm (first specimen for North America), June 17, 1991 (ILJ).

Bar-tailed Godwits on the beach, stalled by northeast winds, early June 1991 (ILJ)

 

 

1992

Arrived May 14 (F/V American Empire), departed August 9 (Tiglax). Excellent year for birds!: Eurasian Wigeon 12 (max), Garganey 1, Common Pochard 1, Eurasian Kestrel (first record for Buldir, May 21-25), Black-tailed Gull (adult on beach, June 12), Common Sandpiper 2, Wood Sandpiper 4 (max), Bar-tailed Godwit 29 (max, May 27), Whimbrel (variegatus) 2, Long-toed Stint 4, snipe sp. 3 (max), Ruff (2 males May 27), Gray Wagtail (male, June 17-21), Yellow Wagtail 5 (max, June 3), Eye-browed Thrush 1 (female, May 31), Taiga (Red-breasted) Flycatcher 2 males (June 2-4), Arctic Warbler 1 (June 22), Pallas' Bunting 1 (female, June 2-5), Oriental Greenfinch 2, Common Rosefinch 1 (female, June 17), Hawfinch 1 (May 31). At departure: Short-tailed Albatross (immature, August 9, at sea 3 miles west of Buldir from Tiglax).

Pallas' Bunting (= Pallas' Reed Bunting) female, June 2, 1992. (ILJ)

Taiga Flycatcher (Red-breasted Flycatcher), one of two males present June 2, 1992 (ILJ)

Common Rosefinch, June 17, 1992 (ILJ)

 

1993

Arrived May (Tiglax), departed August (Alpha Helix). A rather lack-luster year with little westerly wind. Highlights: Say's Phoebe (May 31-June 1), Oriental Greenfinch (2, early June). At departure: Short-tailed Albatross (3 immatures, including two at once, all from Alpha Helix within 15 miles of Buldir, early August).

One of two male Oriental Greenfinches present June 2, 1993 (FMH)

Slaty-backed Gull on Tiglax's forward crane, North Bight, Buldir Island June 1994 (ILJ)

Short-tailed Albatross in the rain, 3 miles west of Outer Rock, Buldir Island, August 5, 1993 (ILJ)

 

 

1994

Arrived May (Tiglax), departed June (Tiglax). Not much around this year. Best bird: Northern Hobby (Falco subbuteo, first record for Buldir) near the camp July 10-11.

Laysan Albatross near Buldir, June 1994 (ILJ)

 

1995

Arrived May 12 (F/V Resolute), departed June 2 (Tiglax). Highlights: Whooper Swan (adult, May 16), Black-crowned Night Heron (May 20-27), Franklins's Gull (adult!, May 25 - June 14), Terek Sandpiper (May 28), Common Greenshank (June 1), lots of other shorebirds, Tree Swallow (May 16), several Siberian Rubythroats.

Wood Sandpiper, May 25, 1995 (ILJ)

Gray-tailed Tattler, about May 25, 1995 (ILJ)

Franklin's Gull, May 1995 (ILJ)

 

1996

Arrived May 30 (USCGS Jarvis), departed June 3 (Tiglax). Highlights: Eurasian Bullfinch 1 (male), Eye-browed Thrush 1 (female), Black-tailed Godwit 1, lots of Rustic Buntings and Bramblings. An egret, likely Great Egret (Ardea alba), was present August 17.

 

1997

Arrived May 21 (Tiglax), departed August 7 (Tiglax). A fairly good year, dimmed by two weeks of strong NE winds in early June. Highlights: Eurasian Wigeon 23 (max, June 8), Lesser Sandplover 3 (max), Common Sandpiper 1, Wood Sandpiper 4 (max), Rufous-necked Stint 6 (spring all-time high count), Long-toed Stint 5, Whimbrel 4 (variegatus), Common Black-headed Gull 4, Pechora Pipit 1, Buff-bellied Pipit (japponicus) 1, Eye-browed Thrush 1 (male), Taiga Flycatcher (1 female found by Jeff Williams, June 14), Common Rosefinch 3 (females), Brambling 1, Hawfinch (4+ birds).

Hawfinches, May 26, 1997 (ILJ)

 

 

1998

Arrived May 23 (Tiglax), departed June 2 (Tiglax). An amazing year for numbers of Asian migrants, with consistent strong west winds. Highlights: Black-tailed Godwit (4), Wood Sandpipers (100+), Long-toed Stints (>10), Pechora Pipit (4!), Eye-browed Thrushes, multiple rubythroats, Olive-backed and Red-throated Pipits, Rustic Buntings, and Bramblings.

Eye-browed Thrush

 

1999

Disaster - didn't get to the island this year due to the grounding of Tiglax in Igitkin Pass :-(

 

2000

Arrived May 27 (Tiglax), departed July 23 (F/V Dominator). A few birds around. Highlights: Bean Goose 6 (July 9), Whooper Swan 1, Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) found dead May 27 (first record for Alaska!), Greenshank 1 (June 12), Common Cuckoo 1 (mid June), Olive-backed Pipit 3, Gray Wagtail 1 (June 1), Siberian Rubythroat 3 (June 7-9), Eye-browed Thrushes 2, Hawfinch 1, Rustic Bunting 2, Common Rosefinch 4.

A wet, bedraggled Little Egret being held by a wet bedraggled Martin Renner (ILJ)

 

Common Cuckoo caught at night while roosting, mid June (Martin Renner)

 

 

2001

Arrived May 23 (Tiglax), departed June 11 (Tiglax). A few birds around. Highlights: Pechora Pipit 1 (photographed, below), White Wagtail, and late-season Long-billed Dowitcher and Baikal Teal (August 27-28).

Pechora Pipit mistnetted May 2001 (ILJ)

Pechora Pipit mistnetted May 2001 (Martin Renner)

Pechora Pipit mistnetted May 2001 (Martin Renner)

Brambling early June (Martin Renner)

Two Short-tailed Albatrosses (and one Short-tailed Shearwater) between Buldir and Shemya, August 5, 2001 (ILJ).

 

Baikal Teal at Buldir September 2001 (Martin Renner)

 

2002

A pretty good year. Highlights: Ruff 3, lots of other shorebirds, Olive-backed Pipit 3, Arctic Warbler 3 (June 5-10), several Siberian Rubythroats.

Arctic Warbler mistnetted (one of three birds present), June 12, 2002 (Martin Renner)

Terek Sandpiper May 28, 2002, North Bight beach, Buldir (Martin Renner)

Red-necked Stint (Martin Renner)

 

2003

Arrived June 1(Tiglax), departed June 11 (Tiglax). An outstanding year for passerine vagrants. Highlights: Bean Goose 2, Common Ringed Plover 1, Common Cuckoo 1, Black-backed and Gray Wagtails, Dark-sided Flyatcher 2!, and Gray-streaked Flycatcher 2! (June 1-10), Middendorf's Grasshopper Warbler(!), lots of Siberian Rubythroats, Eye-browed Thrushes, Hawfinches and Bramblings.

Siberian Flyatcher at Buldir June 10, 2003 (Ian Jones)

Gray-streaked Flyatcher (wet) at Buldir June 10, 2003 (Ian Jones)

 

2004

Arrived May 26(Tiglax), departed June 7 (Tiglax). Another outstanding year for passerine vagrants. Highlights: Bewick's Swan 1 (!), Common Pochard (first 1 in years), Common Cuckoo (up to 4 at one time!), Tree Swallow 1, Gray Wagtail 2 (males), Red-flanked Bluetail 1 or 2 (females), Taiga Flycatcher 1 (male), Gray-streaked Flyatcher 4, lots of Siberian Rubythroats and Eye-browed Thrushes, Common Rosefinch 1 (female), , Rustic Bunting 1, multiple Bramblings and Hawfinch 1.

 

2005

Arrived May 29(Tiglax), departed June 6 (Tiglax). Another outstanding year for passerine vagrants. Highlights: Asian Brown Flycatcher 1 (first record for Buldir), Red-flanked Bluetail (1 female), Taiga Flycatcher 2 (females), Olive-backed, Buff-bellied, Red-throated and Petchora Pipits, Reed Bunting (1 male and 3+ females!), Hawfinch 3+, Oriental Greenfinch 5!, lots of Siberian Rubythroats, Eye-browed Thrushes, Rustic Buntings and Bramblings (incl. flock of 22).

 

2006

Arrived May 24 (Tiglax), departed June 7 (Tiglax). A relatively poor year for vagrants during our stay on the island, due to E and NE winds predominating during late May - early June. However, a wreck of vagrant ardeids that preceded our visit included an Intermediate Egret (first record for North America, found dead May 31), Great Egret 2 (found dead), Black-crowned Night Heron 4 (found dead). The best passerine vagrant was Red-flanked Bluetail 1 (female); otherwise only a trickle of migrants and vagrants was present: Bean Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose, Gray Wagtail 1, Eye-browed Thrush (max. 2) and Brambling (less than 6 birds). Shorebirds were scarce with only a few Long-toed Stints and Wood Sandpipers present.

Intermediate Egret (found freshly dead by Stephan Lorenz) at Buldir May 31, 2006 (Ian L. Jones)

three of four ex night herons (Ian L. Jones)

photos by Stephan Lorenz:

 

 

2007

An amazing (!) year for Asian migrants. Winds were mostly east and northeast but one excellent weather front on June 5-6 produced a few great birds. Rarities included Black-tailed Gull 1 (adult), Far Eastern Curlew 1, Terek Sandpiper 1, four Lanceolated Warblers (fourth record for North America - later found breeding, first breeding record for NA), Arctic Warbler 1, Dusky-sided Flycatcher (1), Taiga Flycatcher 5!, Oriental Greenfinch 3. Otherwise only a trickle of migrants and vagrants was present: Bean Goose 2, Smew, Bank Swallow 2, Barn Swallow 1 (Eurasian), Petchora 1, Olive-backed 1 and Red-throated 1 Pipits, Hawfinch 1, Common Rosefinch 2, Rustic Bunting 1 and Brambling 2 (low). Shorebirds were present in low to moderate numbers with good diversity (Red-necked, Temminck's, and Long-toed Stints, Pectoral Sandpiper and Wood Sandpiper).

photos by Stephan Lorenz:

 

 

2008

A poor year for Asian migrants. Winds were entirly east and northeast through the spring migration period: Eurasian Wigeon (max. of 8), Lesser Sandplover 1 (June 3-4), Wood Sandpiper May 26 - June 13 (max. of 2, low), Black-tailed Godwit 1 May 27, Long-toed Stint 1 (June 4), Barn Swallow 1 (Eurasian, June 7).

 

 

2009

Arrived May 29 (Tiglax). Another fair year for Asian migrants with winds mostly east and northeast during the spring migration period. Eurasian Wigeon (max. of 18 on May 30), Wood Sandpiper 1 May 31(low), Black-tailed Godwit 1 (May 30 - June 14), Tree Swallow 1 (June 13), Eye-browed Thrush 2 (June 3-5), Olive-backed Pipit 1 (June 2), Gray Wagtail 1 (June 3-4), Brambling 2 (June 1), Common Rosefinch 1 (June 5-8), Hawfinch 2 (June 13). Highlight of the year was a fall-migration juv Marsh Sandpiper (August 13, second record for Buldir).

2010

Arrived May 29 (Tiglax). A below average year for Asian migrants. Winds were mostly east and northeast. Black-tailed Godwit 1 (May 31), Black-headed Gull 1 (June 12-14), Cliff Swallow 1 (June 8-9), Yellow Wagtail 2 (May 29 - June 8), Rustic Bunting 1 (May 29 - June 1), Brambling 12 (June 1), Common Rosefinch 1 (June 22).

 

 

2011

Arrived May 28 (Tiglax). A fair year for Asian migrants. Winds were mostly east and northeast except for a puff of wind June 2 that brought a few good birds: Eurasian Wigeon (max. of 14 on June 6), Tufted Duck max. of 4, Lesser Sandplover 1 (June 1), Common Sandpiper 1, Green Sandpiper 1 June 3 (ILJ; first record for Buldir), Wood Sandpiper May 31 - June 6 (max. of 2, low), Black-tailed Godwit 1 (June 12-14, fourth year in a row at the same spot - same bird?), Bar-tailed Godwit June 1-5 (max. of 10), Long-toed Stint 2 (May 31 - June 5), Siberian Rubythroat 1 male (June 3), Gray-cheeked Thrush 1 (June 3, ILJ, first record for Buldir!), Yellow Wagtail May 28 - June 1 (max. of 1, low), Brambling May 28 - June 3 (max. of 2), Hawfinch 2 (May 28 - June 10).

 

 

2012

Arrived May 25 (Tiglax). A good year for Asian migrants, with two 'firsts': Eurasian Bittern 1 (June 13-25; Ronan Dugan, first record for Buldir, state of Alaska and North America ABA area), Eurasian Oystercatcher 1 (May 26 - June 14; first record for Buldir and state of Alaska), also, Eurasian Wigeon (max. of 15 on May 27), Common Sandpiper 1, Gray-tailed Tattler 1, Wood Sandpiper May 28 only (2, low), Barn Swallow 2 (Eurasian, June 20 - July 15), Yellow Wagtail May 28 - June 5 (max. of 2 low), Oriental Greenfinch 1 (June 2-22), Hawfinch 1 (June 5).

 

1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

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This page is maintained by Ian L. Jones (iljones 'atsign' mun.ca)