Grand Alaska Part I: Nome & the Pribilofs: Jun 09—19, 2017

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Departs: Anchorage
Tour Limit: 14
Operations Manager: Erik Lindqvist
Download Itinerary: PDF (188.9 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Kevin Zimmer

Kevin Zimmer has authored three books and numerous papers dealing with field identification ...

More Information


Bluethroat— Photo: Kevin Zimmer

Set amidst the finest scenery on the planet, participants can expect exhilarating birding through the forests, tundra, and coasts of one of the world’s truly elite destinations. Focus on all Alaskan specialty birds and mammals, with possibility of Siberian vagrants at Nome and St. Paul Island. Divided into two sections to allow participants greater scheduling flexibility. Part I visits Nome and the Pribilofs (St. Paul), while Part II covers Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula, and the Denali region.

After overnighting in Anchorage, Part I of our longest Alaska trip heads straight to the gold-rush capital of Nome. Here we may find a Slaty-backed Gull from Siberia loafing on the town waterfront, or migrating Yellow-billed Loons flying right past our hotel. Regal pairs of Harlequin Ducks ride the rapids of the many rivers while Wandering Tattlers teeter along the gravel shores. Bar-tailed Godwits and other shorebirds gather in impressive numbers at the Nome River mouth, as elegant Long-tailed Jaegers patrol the adjacent tundra. The hills inland from Nome provide nest sites for lordly Gyrfalcons, as well as for their principal prey—Rock and Willow ptarmigans.

Traveling still further inland, we may be treated to the exuberant flight songs of the dazzling male Bluethroat and, with luck, views of the rare and iconic Bristle-thighed Curlew. Mammal viewing is typically excellent as well, with Musk Ox, Moose, and Grizzly among the frequently seen possibilities.

Red-legged Kittiwake

Red-legged Kittiwake— Photo: Kevin Zimmer

We will also visit the Pribilof Islands, which offer an incomparable seabird experience. Thousands of Least, Crested, and Parakeet auklets, Thick-billed and Common murres, Horned and Tufted puffins, and Northern Fulmars nest along its towering cliffs and can be observed almost within touching distance, as can Red-faced Cormorants and Black-legged and Red-legged kittiwakes. Resident land birds include Rock Sandpiper, Pacific Wren, Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, Lapland Longspur, and Snow Bunting. With luck, we may even turn up an unexpected Siberian vagrant or two.

Good to excellent accommodations; easy to moderate terrain; easy, short walks with one optional hike at Nome involving difficult terrain; internal flights to Nome and the Pribilofs; some long days in the field at Nome (often with picnic lunches and late dinners); other days with early dinner followed by optional post-dinner birding (primarily in the Pribilofs); cold to mild climate.

The Pribilof Islands feature simple accommodations with shared bathrooms; good food; most birding in-and-out of a bus or vans along lightly-traveled gravel roads, with short hikes over mostly grassy tundra; exceptional photographic opportunities; good possibilities for Asiatic vagrants; generally cold, maritime climate (temperatures usually 35-50 degrees Fahrenheit).