|When: Jun 03, 2013 08:00 AM to Jun 13, 2013 08:00 PM|
June 3 - 13, 2013 with Steve Engel
June 3 – 13, 2013 | 11 days, 10 nights
This will be a fantastic trip full of incredible scenery, birds and charismatic mega-fauna (Whales! Bears! Moose!Muskox! Caribou!). This trip includes three nights in Nome where seashore, mountains and tundra meet in a birder’s paradise. We hope you will decide to join us!
Register: To register, contact Steve Engel at 971-222-6119 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Leader: Steve Engel
Group Size: Limited to 14
Fee: $3395 / member 3695 / non-member
Deposit: $1500 required to secure your place
Trip fee includes: All ground transportation, 10 nights lodging based on double-occupancy, all
meals except dinners, bus tour of Denali National Park, boat ride in Kenai
Fjords National Park, entrance fees for scheduled activities, gratuities for
local guides and the services of your leader.
Airfare is not included. Approximate cost of roundtrip airfare from
Portland to Nome / Anchorage is $1040.
June 3 | Portland to Anchorage to Nome
June 4 and 5 | Nome
Nome has an excellent road system that will take us east, west and north into incredibly beautiful country full of birds and wildlife. We will patrol the coastal road to Safety Lagoon and beyond to look for loons, waterfowl, shorebirds, cranes and raptors, while keeping an eye out to Norton Sound for marine mammals. This is a route worth doing more than once during our stay in order to maximize our chances for uncommon species such as Red-necked Stint, Great Knot, Arctic Loon, Sabine’s Gull and all four of the Eider species, to name a few. Going inland we travel along the Kougarok Rd. looking for Yellow Wagtail, Arctic Warbler, Wandering Tattler, Bluethroat, Bar-tailed Godwit and Bristle-thighed Curlew. The Teller Road offers us a chance for more tundra species such as Surfbird, Rock Ptarmigan, Pacific Golden Plover, Gyrfalcon and Rough-legged Hawk. We are likely to encounter Moose and Musk-ox along the way and should always be on the lookout for Grizzly Bear and Gray Wolf.
June 6 | Nome to Anchorage and drive to Sheep Mtn.
We depart Nome mid-morning and fly back to Anchorage, arriving about noon. We will visit the internationally famous Native Heritage Museum and then make a fairly short drive to our lodging at Sheep Mtn. with views of the mighty Matanuska Glacier on the way. The habitats around Sheep Mtn. include boreal forest and tundra ponds where we will look for Merlin, Northern Hawk Owl, Pacific Loon and Barrow’s Goldeneye.
June 7 | Sheep Mtn. to Tangle River & Denali Highway
We awake at the edge of a vast expanse of Boreal Forest which we will explore as we make our way to the Denali Highway. We will maintain a sharp eye out for Northern Hawk Owl and other raptors such as Northern Goshawk, Merlin, Sharp-shinned Hawk and an assortment of oddly plumaged Red-tailed Hawks. A walk in the forest may yield Boreal Chickadee, Blackpoll Warbler and White-winged Crossbill. As we approach the Tangle River area we climb dramatically from forest to tundra and enter the realm of nesting Long-tailed Jaeger, Whimbrel and Smith’s Longspur. We’ll find a delicious dinner and comfortable lodging waiting for us this evening at the Tangle River Inn.
June 8 | Denali Highway to Denali National Park
The Denali Highway is so named because it was once the only road to Denali National Park. From the Tangle River Inn it heads west for over 100 miles through some of interior Alaska’s most dramatic examples of a glacially influenced landscape. We’ll see pingos (ice volcanoes), moraines of all types and drive atop an esker for many miles. The birding is as delightful as the scenery with numerous freshwater ponds hosting Red-throated and Common Loon, Trumpeter Swan and a variety of ducks. Common Redpoll, Blackpoll Warbler, Arctic Warbler and Yellow Warbler frequent the willows and there are chances of spotting Moose, Caribou and Grizzly Bear as well. At the western end of the Highway we enter into the Boreal Forest once again, with chances to find Black-backed and Three-toed Woodpecker, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Gray-cheeked Thrush. We will reach our lodging at the Denali Cabins ready to drift to sleep to the song of Swainson’s and Varied Thrushes.
June 9 | Denali National Park
We spend the day exploring Denali National Park by bus and on foot. If Denali (Mt. McKinley) is visible, we should have excellent views as we traverse a range of habitats and altitudes, providing good chances to view Caribou, Grizzly Bear, Dall Sheep, Moose and with a lot of luck, Gray Wolf, Lynx or even Wolverine. There are good chances to view Golden Eagle, Gyrfalcon, Long-tailed Jaeger, Great-horned Owl and Merlin. The viewing is done from the bus and there will be frequent stops for bathrooms and to stretch. At mile 65 we plan to visit the Eielson Visitor Center and do some tundra walks before catching a return bus. The exact timing of our tour in Denali is not set yet, but it will last between eight and ten hours. We spend the night again at the Denali Cabins.
June 10 | Denali National Park to Anchorage
We travel south today to Anchorage making stops along the way. Anchorage has many good birding sites where we will look for nesting Red-necked Grebe, Pacific Loon, Bonaparte’s Gull and Hudsonian Godwit, as well as other possibilities such as Rusty Blackbird, American Dipper and Northern Waterthrush. We spend the night in Anchorage.
June 11 | Anchorage to Seward
We have a leisurely day to take in more of Anchorage and then embark on an incredibly scenic drive around Turnagain Arm and through the Chugach Mountains to Seward. Depending on timing we may have time to visit Exit Glacier or see other sites in the area, but our main goal is to get a good night’s sleep in preparation for what many feel is the highlight of the trip: our boat trip into the Kenai Fjords National Park. Overnight in Seward.
June 12 | Kenai Fjords National Park
We spend the entire day today on a small vessel touring the Kenai Fjords National Park. This is our chance to see the incredible marine environment for which Southeast Alaska is so justly famous. We will visit the Chiswell Islands, where tens of thousands of seabirds nest: Horned Puffin, Tufted Puffin, Thick-billed and Common Murre, Red-faced Cormorant, Black-legged Kittiwake and Marbled Murrelet (among others) should all be fairly easy to view. More challenging to see will be the Parakeet Auklet, Ancient Murrelet and Kittlitze’s Murrelet - which we will look for near a tidewater glacier. We should encounter Sea Otter here and have very good chances of seeing several species of whale such as Orca, Humpback, Dall’s Porpoise and Fin Whale. Mountain Goat and American Bear are also possible along the dramatic shorelines and cliffs. We spend the night again in Seward.
June 13 | Seward to Anchorage
We drive to Anchorage today, arriving in plenty of time for our scheduled flight home.