If you have interest in the several Big Year adventures currently underway, here is a sad Big Year story. John Weigel, the Australian birder who already has broken the BY record for North America, spent 25 days on the Alaska’s St. Lawrence Island in the village of Gambell. TWENTY-FIVE days. He added TWO birds to his list.
I’ve been to Gambell four times. I enjoyed it. The villagers were for the most part friendly. Lack of telephone or tv, sometimes heat and hot water, were OK for the few days of my trips. But 25 days with only two new sightings is astounding! Blame and weather for the worst birding fall ever recorded there by birders. The stormy westerly winds needed to push migrating Asian species off-route and onto Gambell never materialized.
Weigel added Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and Dusky Warbler. He is now on St. Paul Island, another Bering Sea location. As of Sept. 18 he had added d one more bird, Jack Snipe.
That brings his 2016 total so far to 763.
The old record was 749.
Other BY chasers also were at Gambell. They did little or no better than Weigel. He sent me an email directing me to his blog. There, he predicts that BY birders Laura Keene and Christian Hagenlocher both will break that old 749 mark.
Weigel mentions that if this fall season on Gambell had been like the 2015 season he could have added 10 new birds instead of two
Follow Weigel via his blog: www.birdingfordevils.com