Travis’s final day on St. Paul Island

All good things must come to an end, and so Travis left St. Paul Island with Tom Johnson yesterday evening heading for the Lower 48. But in true birder fashion, Tom, Doug, Cameron and Scott made sure Travis got some more good looks at the spectacular fauna of St. Paul Island before heading out.

As we’ve said before, the seabird colonies in the Pribilofs include many bucket-list birds for ABA-area birders. Crested Auklets provide countless hours of fun observation with their piercing white iris and comical perma-grin. The tuft of feathers protruding from above their bill just adds more character to this most splendid member of the Alcid family.

Crested Auklet (© Tom Johnson)

Crested Auklet (© Tom Johnson)

Of course, the Horned Puffin might argue that it is indeed the more comical one, with its spectacular multi-colored bill, and leathery dermal process extending up from the eye from which its name is derived.

Horned Puffin (© Tom Johnson)

Horned Puffin (© Tom Johnson)

Birders scouring the tundra on St. Paul Island should also come across the ptilocnemis subspecies of Rock Sandpiper. This one breeds in the Pribilof Islands and is paler than the other two subspecies.

Rock Sandpiper; ptilocnemis subspecies (© Tom Johnson)

Rock Sandpiper; ptilocnemis subspecies (© Tom Johnson)

Of course none of these spectacular birds were lifers for Travis on his last day… so what bird pushed him to 418? Stay tuned to find out!