Grand Alaska: Pribilofs & Anchorage Pre-Trip: May 23—29, 2019
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To Be Announced
- May 29, 2019: Grand Alaska: Nome & Gambell
- Jun 07, 2019: Grand Alaska Part I: Nome & Barrow
- Jun 16, 2019: Grand Alaska Part II: Anchorage, Denali Highway & Kenai Peninsula
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This short pre-trip is centered on St. Paul, in the Pribilof Islands, which offers an incomparable seabird experience and exceptional photographic opportunities.
Thousands of Least, Crested, and Parakeet auklets, Thick-billed and Common murres, Horned and Tufted puffins, and Northern Fulmars nest along the towering cliffs of St. Paul and can be observed at exceptionally close range, 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. St. Paul is also a justly renowned outpost for finding Asiatic vagrants, and our trip is timed to coincide with what is typically the best time in spring for finding such rarities, which appear, on average, earlier here than they do at more northern locales such as Gambell and Nome.
Two days of birding out of Anchorage at the end of the pre-trip will offer chances for a number of boreal forest breeders, possibly including Barrow’s Goldeneye, Spruce Grouse, Hudsonian Godwit, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadee, Bohemian Waxwing, White-winged Crossbill and more, with additional emphasis on searching for Northern Hawk Owl, if any are known to be around.
This pre-trip is the perfect complement to our Nome/Gambell tour, providing a host of boreal forest possibilities not found at Nome or Gambell, as well as providing additional chances for Asiatic vagrants and for seeing and photographing many seabirds at close range.
St. Paul features 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; generally cold, maritime climate (temperatures usually 35–50 degrees Fahrenheit). Anchorage has a milder climate (temperatures usually 55–70 degrees Fahrenheit); good accommodations and food; most birding in and out of vans, with the possibility of a short hike or two along mostly level trails in city parks or private campgrounds.