Friday, August 20, 2010

Birds of St Paul: Misc

Before I get to the stars of St. Paul, I'll mention a few of the other species our group encountered. I was so seabird crazy that I couldn't keep myself still long enough to capture good images of many of these birds, preferring instead to sit on the cliff edge with the puffin and auks. I'm glad that Alan Murphy was there to give these little guys the proper attention they deserved. Links on these birds below go to Alan's website.

Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis)
Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus)
Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Wandering Tattler (Heteroscelus incanus)

Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
A group of researchers were marooned on St Paul with us for a few days as they were thwarted in their efforts to get to St George Island. They eventually made it after days of trying and will capture (and then release) these far-traveling birds to take blood, cloacal and choanal swabs to study for presence of avian flu.

Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) Caught somewhere between an albatross and a gull, this bird immediately captured my heart. They don't begin breeding until they are at least 8 years old and often not until they reach 10. Exceptionally long-lived, Fulmars banded in Scotland in 1951 as adults were still found to be breeding in 1990 setting their age around 50 years.

Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens) Embarrassingly enough, these gulls are so large that after a week of working with tiny auklets, I mistook a gull on the beach for a large wading bird, thinking some heron had blown off course. From a distance I was certain it was the size of a black-crowned night heron. A peek through the binocs set me straight.

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