North America's first Icterine Warbler touches down in Alaska


Sensational news from Alaska on Thursday [22 September] evening concerned the discovery of the first Icterine Warbler for North America.

Found at the vagrant hot-spot of Gambell, at the western end of St Lawrence Island, by local birder Rodney Ungwiluk Jr, the bird is some 5,000 km from its nearest known breeding range around the Ob River in southern Siberia.

The bulk of Icterine Warbler's range sits across Central and Northern Europe, as well as western Russia, although the species breeds in a narrow band as far eastwards as the Altai Province. The species winters in sub-Saharan Africa, primarily south of the equator.

Gambell is a famous name among North American birders. The area around the city has a long history of attracting mega vagrants from Eurasia, with birders working the area in both spring and autumn for at least 25 years and producing an unparalleled list of Old World species.

Other significant finds in the Alaskan islands in recent days include two Hoopoes on St Paul's Island – just the third and fourth North American records.