St. Paul and Gambell are the most popular fall hotspots in western Alaska, but the Aleutians produce as well, despite less coverage. Frank and Barb Haas hit the jackpot on the western Aleutian island of Adak this past Wednesday (9/21) when they photographed an unusual Accipiter that looks like a good candidate for the ABA Area’s 1st record of Eurasian Sparrowhawk.
It wasn’t until later in the week that the bird was reported, initially as an odd Northern Goshawk. Subsequent discussion on the ID-Frontiers clarified the ID. Despite some searching from other birders in the last few days, the bird has not been refound.
Eurasian Sparrowhawk is a wide ranging Eurasian raptor, found across the entirety of the Palearctic. It has long been considered a likely vagrant to the ABA Area in Alaska and, in fact, there have been at least two previous reports that remain unconfirmed and unaccepted by Alaskan authorities. Both are from the western Aleutians, 1 from Attu and a second from Adak, famously seen by 2013 Big Year birder Neil Hayward.