Target Birds and Strategies for Finding Them

Today I wanted to share with you the target birds remaining for the year and strategies to find them. I’ve updated the Excel Spreadsheet of target birds by state and it’s available under the “List” heading, but I’ll summarize the remaining trips and some of the hoped for birds here.

Alaska – Gambell Trip (8-31 thru 9-11)- I leave tomorrow morning for a flight to Nome then a Thursday morning flight to Gambell.  There are six target birds that I expect to get (though not all are a certainty).  They are:

Short-tailed Shearwater – 10,000 at least

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper – Should see multiple birds

Gray-tailed Tattler – not definite, they had one today

Lesser Sand-Plover – 50/50 (I may be too late)

Arctic Warbler – extremely likely

Red-throated Pipit – extremely likey

In addition to these six, I hope to pick up an additional four to eight rarities.  Two Little Buntings and a Willow Warbler were still at Gambell  today. One reason I’m staying so long is to maximize my chance for favorable weather.  Hopefully, it will cooperate more than it did this spring!

Northern California Pelagic Trips (Sept 14 thru Sept 17). Three additional pelagic trips are scheduled, two with Debi Shearwater and one with Roger Wolfe out of Monterey Bay.  The target species is Flesh-footed Shearwater, but come on – how about a mega rarity?  Streaked Shearwater?  Short-tailed Albatross?

Open time for chasing (Sept 18 thru Sept 26) Prime time for chasing vagrants. I’ve intentionally not purchased a return ticket from California to Colorado.  Perhaps the target species is Ruff, but I’ll chase anything. Arizona, Texas, Florida, the Northeast.  I’m hoping to pick up two o four more birds during this time period.

Alaska- St. Paul and Barrow, AK and Victoria, BC– (9-27 to 10-07) There are four target birds on this trip:

Red-legged Kittiwake – should be no problem at St. Paul

Ross’s Gull – should be no problem at Barrow

Snowy Owl – should be no problem at Barrow

Skylark – should be no problem near Victoria, BC

St. Paul can be excellent for Asian stray passerines as well and I’d like to add two or three more birds to the year-list here.

San Diego, CA – (Oct. 8) This is a one day pelagic trip with two target year-birds. Least Storm-Petrel and Black-vented Shearwater.  Certainly a chance for Craveri’s Murrelet, though they just haven’t been seen in ABA waters the last several years. Both Bob Ake and Lynn Barber missed this one during their big years.

That’s all the scheduled trips, but worse case I’ll do at least two and hopefully four more trips at a minimum.

St. Louis for Eurasian Tree Sparrow

The Northeast for Barnicle and Pink-footed Goose in October or November

Idaho, Montana or North Dakota in November for Gray Partridge

Newfoundland for N. Lapwing in December

Stay tuned. Gambell is awaiting!!

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