Thursday, September 9, 2010
A New Bird
We did the usual seawatch today, now with our group reduced in size but augmented by the addition of the Wilderness Birding group. We did see a Red-necked Grebe and a distant Kittlitz's Murrelet which were both new for the trip although not for the year. We followed that activity with a march through the far boneyard and then I decided to walk the near boneyard by myself. I had Bill Mauck let me out near the runway and I did a complete meandering search. I had almost completed the circuit when I flushed a small, brown bird which landed so I could see it for a moment. It had a pink bill and a brief eye-stripe. I new it was a new bird. So after making sure I knew which clump of wormwood it was hiding in, I called Paul Lehman on the two-way radio, and he came over from the lodge. He was able to get a brief look at the bird and thought it might actually be an Acrocephalis warbler of a new species for North America. All the birders converged and for four and a half hours we chased the bird around the boneyard until some satisfactory pictures had been obtained. After studying the photographs, the current concensus is that the bird is an adult Middendorf's Grasshopper-Warbler. All of the fall bird records of that species except one have been young birds. So it doesn't look like it will be a first NA record, but it will be a life, ABA, and yearbird. The total is now 699.