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An open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond

Rare bird getting attention in Carver County

A bird that breeds in Siberia and spends the off-season in Australia is being seen in Carver County, at least as of Saturday afternoon, Sept. 24. It's a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, sometimes seen in Alaska and less often found along the West Coast. This individual is way out of range. 

Birders eager to see this visitor, and perhaps add it to their life lists, have been gathering on a roadside overlooking a large rain puddle in an ag field, for several days. The sandpiper moves around this almost-pond-size puddle, and it not always easy to see. It likes weedy edges. Patience counts, though. Plus, there are other sandpiper species there along with various duck species and Trumpeter Swans.

The location is west of the town of Mayer. Minnesota Highway 7 takes you Minnesota Highway 25. Go south on 25 for 2+ miles, then west on County Road 32 for one mile. There most likely will be a cluster of observers marking the site. Continue west one-quarter mile and park along Tacoma Avenue. County 32 is too narrow for safe parking, and viewers should be aware of traffic on that road.

Do not park in or near private driveways or on private property.

Big Year record pushed to 763 by Aussie birder

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:

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