Today was the second day of Sitka WhaleFest. After watching the presentations yesterday afternoon and thinking Rowan would have enjoyed them, I decided to take her today.
We walked through downtown and checked the Pioneer Home grounds where we discovered the Black-throated Gray Warbler with a couple of Yellow-rumped Warbler and a very late Rufous Hummingbird.
It was a bit rainy with heavy enough clouds that the light was not very good, but I was able to get documentary pictures, at least.
At WhaleFest we listened to the first two of three scheduled talks (including one on mammalian marine fossils in Alaska and one about sea horses and sea dragons).
Shortly before the third talk, I received a text with a photo of a bird from Jen C. She had taken a picture of a picture shown on the back of a digital camera. It was a different looking bird that had showed up at the Parker’s feeding station. They wondered if maybe it was a different looking Savannah Sparrow, but showed Jen and she thought it looked different enough to warrant further investigation (and I agreed, as I did not know what it was either).
I agreed and offered Rowan the option to stay and listen to the final talk before walking home, or go with me. She decided to stick with me, and we went to Castle Hill where Jen and the Parker’s were. I got a better look at the picture and a little more information before heading to stake out the feeding station and see if the bird returned.
While waiting for the bird to arrive, I tried to send the photo to a couple of other birders in the state and, though it took some time to get through, was told that it looked like a Rustic Bunting. This makes a remarkable third Asian vagrant that the Parker’s have found since June 2015 (those three, in addition to the one I found last year, are the only Asian vagrants that have been found in Sitka since I started birding in 2003).
After waiting and watching the numerous expected species showing up, I saw the bunting fly in. Unfortunately, it ended up in a place where I couldn’t photograph it from where I was sitting in the front seat, however Rowan was able to get pictures from the back seat.
The bunting did not stick around for too long, and as the light faded, I hoped it would stick around long enough for another chance to see it.