Birder's Guide

MAR 2018

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 42 of 73

41 April 2018 | Birder's Guide to Travel spending time in town or around aban- doned building complexes, which have hosted Common Cuckoo. Birders started visiting Adak during the fall season only in recent years and, despite the difficulties of finding rarities on the large island, several noteworthy birds have been found. The mudflats at Clam Lagoon have hosted Marsh Sandpiper more than once, and other exceptional fall vagrants have included Eurasian Kestrel, Pacific Swift, Taiga Flycatcher, Wood Warbler, and Eurasian Sparrowhawk—a first for the ABA. Adak Island has lots of potential during the fall season but very few birders. Two direct flights to Adak per week leave Anchorage on Sunday and on Thursday. The flight covers the 1,200 miles in three hours, but if it is cancelled in Anchorage for any reason, it will not be rescheduled until the following Thursday or Sunday, so bring patience and have an alternative plan just in case. Several outfitters rent vehicles in Adak, and fuel is available from a self- service station. Due to the large size of the island and distances between bird- ing locations, renting a vehicle is a must. Accommodations are available in the old officer quarters; these are duplexes with kitchen facilities and living rooms. During most seasons, one or two restau - rants are available, but remain flexible and bring some of your own food. St. Paul Island Remote St. Paul Island, part of the Pribilof Islands, sits amidst one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world, attracting hundreds of thou- sands of nesting seabirds and northern fur seals, which in turn lure birders and photog- raphers from all around the globe. Its isolated location in the central Bering Sea, 300 miles from the Alaskan main- land and 500 miles from the Siberian coast, makes the is- land an ideal vagrant trap. More than 300 species of birds have been recorded on the is- land with about one-third of these Asiatic vagrants. While St. Paul Island is much smaller than Adak Island and reaches only 665 feet at its highest point, its rugged topography supports a wide variety of habitats. The island harbors a rich array of wetlands with freshwater marshes, ephemeral ponds, swampy sloughs, and deep and shallow lakes sprinkled liberally throughout the island, providing ideal shorebird habi- tats. A tidal lagoon contains extensive mudflats, and long sandy beaches with kelp wrecks offer additional habitats for plovers and sandpipers. With more than 60 shorebird species (26 Asiatic rarities) on the island's cumulative list, St. Paul may be one of the most diverse shore- bird sites in the Northern Hemisphere. The island's lush maritime tundra is interrupted by lava flows, cinder cones, steep ravines, and vast stretches of sand dunes, all of which can harbor migrant birds. Sheltered areas support hip-high growth of wild celery, which are favored areas for vagrant passerines, especially top to bottom: n Little Stint. Photo © Stephan Lorenz n Siberian Rubythroat. Photo © Gary H. Rosenberg n Maritime tundra on St. Paul Island. Photo © Stephan Lorenz

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