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Alaska

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When: Jun 11, 2019 12:00 AM to Jun 23, 2019 11:00 PM
Contact:
Erin Law
971-222-6119

June 11-23, 2019 | Alaska is a land of superlatives. From exploring the vast wilderness surrounding North America's tallest peak to experiencing the summer solstice at the northernmost city in the US, this is guaranteed to be an exciting, memorable trip.

Alaska

June 11 - 23, 2019

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Destinations and Birds

Bluethroat - Daniel Bastaja
Bluethroat - Daniel Bastaja

We’ll begin in Nome, surrounded by stunning scenery and incredible birding opportunities. Expect an exhilarating mix of the exotic and the familiar here: Bluethroat and Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Asian songbirds of the brushy tundra breed next to White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows. Harlequin Duck and Wandering Tattler share their riparian breeding grounds with Arctic Warbler. Waterfowl and shorebirds seen only in migration further south are devoted to full-time breeding activities, revealing a new side of their life history.

Northern Hawk Owl - Dan Frendin
Northern Hawk Owl - Dan Frendin

During our five days in south-central Alaska we follow the Denali Highway across a landscape recently emerged from the ice age yet rich in bird life. White-winged Crossbill, Boreal Chickadee, and Northern Hawk Owl can be found in the spruce forests. Tundra ponds have nesting Common and Red-throated Loon, Trumpeter Swan and ducks galore. Out on the low tundra we’ll look for Long-tailed Jaeger, Whimbrel and Smith’s Longspur. We’ll travel by bus deep into Denali National Park for excellent chances of observing Grizzly Bear, Dall’s Sheep, Caribou, and possibly Gray Wolf.

We are then onto the rich maritime ecosystem of the Kenai Fjords National Park. On a full-day boat trip we’ll look for Red-faced Cormorant, Kittlitz’s Murrelet and Thick-billed Murre among the thousands of Black-legged Kittiwakes and Tufted and Horned Puffins. Our boat will give us the chance to see Sea Otter, the toes of tidewater glaciers, and Humpback Whale and Orca.

King Eider - Steve Zack
King Eider - Steve Zack

Utqiaġvik, also known as Barrow, the furthest north municipality in the United States, is roughly 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle and 1200 miles from the North Pole. Between mid-May and early August it basks in twenty-four hours of daylight and our trip will conclude with the arrival of the summer solstice.

This time of year the tundra is alive and teeming with shorebirds, ducks, and geese busily beginning their nesting cycle. Red Phalaropes seem to occupy every melt water pond and Buff-breasted Sandpipers stand on hummocks flashing their white underwings in the midnight sun. Pectoral Sandpipers cruise their territory perimeters while booming an unearthly sound and Pomarine Jaegers streak across the tundra.

We may find Common and King Eider as well as the very rare Spectacled and Steller’s Eider. We might turn up four species of loon: Yellow-billed, Arctic, Pacific, and Red-throated. And with luck we’ll find Snowy Owls nesting near town. With constant daylight the pace of activity among the birds is frenetic and every day brings new possibilities. You’ll be entranced by the flow of energy through this dynamic ecosystem at the top of the world.

Registration Details

Leaders: Joe Liebezeit, Patty Newland, and Erin Law
Group Size:
 up to 14 participants
Fee:
$4,995 members / $5,295 non-members
Deposit: $2,200 
Single supplement: approximately $1,500

What is included: Ground transportation, double-occupancy lodging, all meals except dinners, bus tour of Denali National Park, boat tour of Kenai Fjords National Park, entrance fees for scheduled activities, gratuities for local guides and the services of your leaders.

Not included: Airfare and dinners. This trip requires the purchase of two flights during the tour as well.

 

 

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