aba events

Birds of Alaska: A Breeding Extravaganza and Asiatic Vagrants

An Endorsed Tour of the American Birding Association featuring High Lonesome BirdTours

WHEN: May 19 – 30, 2018

WHERE: St. Paul Island (Pribilofs); Gambell on St. Lawrence Island; Nome on the Seward Peninsula

PRICE: $7550.  Single Supplement not available at Gambell. Single Supplement for Pribilofs/Nome subject to availability is $500.

Tour Size: Limited to 23 participants

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We hope you’ll consider joining this tour to spectacular Alaska. We will visit three quintessential hotspots for birders: St. Paul Island (Pribilofs); Gambell on St. Lawrence Island; Nome on the Seward Peninsula.

The Pribilof Islands, often called the “Galapagos of the North,” lie in the middle of the Bering Sea about 300 miles from landfall. St. Paul Island, where we stay, hosts some of the largest colonies of alcids (auklets & other seabirds) in the world, as well as the largest Northern Fur Seal colony in the world. St. Paul is an isolated and charming island with a small Aleut population. Asian vagrants regularly visit St. Paul in late May, and we expect to see a few of them along with the resident species. Huge colonies of seabirds nest on the cliffs and in the rocks on the island, including Parakeet, Least and Crested auklets; Horned and Tufted puffins; Thick-billed and Common murres, Northern Fulmar, Black-legged and Red-legged kittiwakes.

St. Lawrence Island lies in the Bering Sea just off the Siberian coast. Gambell is a small, timeless Eskimo village subsisting much as it has for thousands of years. On clear days, Siberia can be seen clearly 35 miles in the distance. Whale, walrus, seal, polar bear and birds account for most of the native diet. High Arctic and Asian vagrants are the draw at Gambell. Many of the Asian species recorded in North America have been seen in Gambell and environs. We will spend much of our time within a couple of miles of the village. There are huge colonies of Parakeet, Least and Crested auklets on the cliffs within walking distance. Northwest Point provides a “super-highway” for seabirds passing very close by the island in migration and usually yields Arctic Loon, Yellow-billed Loon , Dovekie, Emperor Goose, and Ivory Gull as well as many other seabirds and ducks. The centuries-old bone yards often hide vagrant passerines, e.,g, Eurasian Bullfinch, Hawfinch, and Common Cuckoo. The marsh about two miles from town is superb for shorebirds and typically yields several of the Asiatic species.

Nome lies on the Seward Peninsula, jutting into the Bering Sea. It’s a frontier town in a world where few such curiosities remain. Nome is accessible only by boat and airplane, bordered on the West and South by the Bering Sea, and to the North and East by miles of trackless wilderness. Nome is a fascinating and challenging destination. During June, the midnight sun is at its brightest, the tundra is in full bloom, and the birds and mammals are breeding. Our tour will cover the prime birding areas along the seacoast, the high tundra and, if time permits, the only boreal forest on the Seward Peninsula. Most of the birds are in their resplendent breeding plumages— rarely if ever seen in the “lower 48.” We’ll make an extra effort to locate the Western Alaska specialties that include the Rock & Willow ptarmigans; Bristle-thighed Curlew; Bar-tailed Godwit; Red-necked Stint; Aleutian Tern; Gyrfalcon; Bluethroat; Eastern Yellow Wagtail; White Wagtail; and others. The road system of Nome provides the best access to the Alaska bush without an airplane, and we will drive it extensively.

Join us for a great birding adventure.

Download the full itinerary here: ABA Endorsed Tour: Alaska High Lonesome BirdTours

To see our event on the High Lonesome BirdTours  Website click here