Total ABA Species Recorded During 2010 - 731

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Travel Day and More on Mystery Bird

I certainly didn't think my Big Year would include finding a new bird for North America. When I found the bird last Thursday in the near bone yard on Gambell, it struck me as something like an Acrocephalus warbler, but I wasn't sure. I don't have a lot of experience with Locustellas, another Old World warbler genus, but my bird didn't strike me as from that genus. It had a big, pink bill, brief eye stripe, dark eye line, nonpatterned warm, brown back, all of which fit Acrocephalus better than Locustella. When Paul Lehman got over there to look at it, his first reaction was something like a Paddyfield Warbler which seemed about right to me. So we'll see what the experts say. It's not as easy to get Asian experts as it is to get European ones, but someone should be able to ID it.  The photograhers trailed the bird around until it fortuitously flew up on the roof of a nearby house and Barrett was able to get some decent photos.
     My exit from Alaska was put on hold when the plane from Kotzebue had mechanical problems that required a substitute plane be flown in from Anchorage.  The new departure time at 1:30am required that I rebook all my connections today at additional cost.  Those flights took me through Anchorage, Seattle, Salt Lake City, to San Francisco where I arrived around 4pm but without my bag.  I picked up my rental car, drove to my nearby motel, and waited until about 10pm when my bag finally caught up with me.  Although my clothes and toiletries were important, the bag's arrival was even more of a help because I had packed my electronic cables including the one to recharge my cellphone in my checked luggage - not a good idea.  My cellphone was dead, but it came back to life with a bit of a charge.  An interesting side note: my flight from Salt Lake City to San Francisco flew over the Ruby Mountains in Nevada where John and I saw the Himalayan Snowcocks last month.  Lamoille Canyon and Island Lake had gotten a dusting of snow and reminded me of our first try for those birds in June.


  1. Another WOW! What an incredible year . . . amazing isn't it? You are the MAN! I'm feeling proud (odd,eh?).

    Trip sounds convoluted and tiring. Good luck on your pelagics. Hope to see you soon. Renee

  2. Photo is a good match for Paddyfield Warbler as reflected in "Birds of Europe, N. Africa & the Middle East" by Lars Jonsson.

    Of particular note is, "throat whitish with a pale wedge on neck-side" and short bill.