June 5 – 15, 2023 – 2 Spots Remaining
Extension: June 15-19, 2023 – SOLD OUT
From: Anchorage, AK
Participant Limit: 10
Activity Level: Moderate
Price: Main Tour: $8,799
Double occupancy. Main Tour Single supplement: $2,200 Extension: $1,200
This is a birding tour, designed to see as many bird species as possible, with special focus on specialty species.
Alaska has drawn birders from across the world for many years. It can be the most accessible location for many highly sought-after species. Many species that are primarily found in Europe and Asia have ranges that barely extend into the western part of Alaska, making it a prime location to see many species found nowhere else in the US. On the main tour, we will be targeting the specialty species found in Nome, Utqiagvik (formerly known as Barrow, the northernmost city in the United States) and Seward. Our extension will take us out to Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians.
Nome, located on the west coast of the state, offers fantastic birding and opportunities for a great species list. Many species of shorebirds, waterfowl, and songbirds are either migrating through the area or call Nome home for the breeding season. On this part of the tour, we will be searching for migrants such as Short-tailed Shearwater, Emperor Goose, King and Spectacled Eiders, the recently split Stejneger’s Scoter, Eurasian Wigeon, Common and Thick-billed Murres, and more. Shorebirds including Bar-tailed Godwit, Rock Sandpiper, Surfbird, Black Turnstone, Pacific and American Golden-Plovers, Red Knot, Western Sandpiper, Whimbrel, and Bristle-thighed Curlew can be found here as well. Both Rock and Willow Ptarmigans can be seen in the mountains here. Songbird specialties in the area include Bluethroat, Northern Wheatear, Eastern Yellow and White Wagtails, Arctic Warbler, Bohemian Waxwing, and more. We will target other waterbirds including Slaty-backed Gull, Aleutian Tern, Red-throated, Pacific, Arctic, and Yellow-billed Loons as well. We’ll be keeping an eye out for the mighty Gyrfalcon hunting from high on the rocky terrain.
As we head north to Utqiagvik, we will be met with displaying shorebirds, breeding waterfowl, and a vast expanse of tundra as far as the eye can see. Dunlin, Long-billed Dowitcher, Buff-breasted, Semipalmated, and Pectoral Sandpipers, Red-necked and Red Phalaropes can all be found across the tundra vocalizing and doing their fascinating displays. The tundra ponds provide great staging and breeding locations for King, Steller’s, and Spectacled Eiders. Common Eider can also be found off the coast as a migrant. Long-tailed, Pomarine, and Parasitic Jaegers can all be found hunting over the tundra.
Once we reach Seward, we will be able to add many more interior songbird species to our trip list such as Boreal and Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Varied Thrush, and several warbler species. A boat trip off Seward will give us the opportunity to see seabird colonies consisting of species such as Laysan and Black-footed Albatross, Red-faced Cormorant, Marbled, Kittlitz’s, and Ancient Murrelet, Parakeet Auklet, Tufted and Horned Puffin, and other great marine animal life with several species of whales possible!
Our extension to Dutch Harbor will set us up to target species such as Whiskered, Cassin’s, and Least Auklets, Red-legged Kittiwake, as well as the endemic subspecies of Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch and Rock Sandpiper on the island.
This time of year in Alaska is not only fantastic for the breeders and migrants, it is prime time for vagrants to show up. In addition to our targets, you never know what unexpected bird may show up, making it just that much more exciting.
- Ground transportation
- Park entrance fees
- Airfare not specifically mentioned in itinerary
- Passport and visa fees
- Alcoholic beverages
- Personal items
- Travel insurance