Barrow is the northernmost settlement in the United States, located on the edge of the Polar Ice Cap, more than 300 miles above the Arctic Circle. Vast seas of ice extend from Point Barrow another 1,200 miles to the North Pole. From May to August, darkness never falls on Barrow as the golden glow of the midnight sun fills the sky. For birders, High Arctic species are the main attraction here. Snowy Owls are common, Spectacled and Steller’s Eiders are starting their very short breeding seasons in June, while Yellow-billed Loons also breed in the area. We’ll visit the numerous tundra ponds to look for breeding species as well as travel to Point Barrow in hopes of seeing some of the Arctic mammals – Polar Bears are fairly common during May and June. Many shorebirds, resplendent in their breeding plumages, are also possible here, with Buff-breasted, Baird’s and Pectoral Sandpipers all being regular breeders. Even Asian species such as Red-necked Stint and Curlew Sandpiper (both rare breeders) have been seen in Barrow during June, while there is always the chance for an unexpected surprise!
Then we head back to Anchorage and after a night there we make our way south along scenic Turnagain Arm and Cook Inlet, before arriving into the town of Seward. From here we’ll take a boat trip through majestic Kenai Fjords National Park, one of the most spectacular parks in North America. Even just right in town, Bald Eagles are plentiful, and Sea Otters are seen swimming about playfully. Once out in Resurrection Bay and then amid glacial waters, highlights will no doubt be the thousands of alcids, including many murres, Tufted and Horned Puffins and Parakeet and Rhinoceros Auklets, and with luck the sneaky Kittlitz’s Murrelets. We also shall enjoy good chances for Humpback Whales, Killer Whale, Steller’s Sea Lions and even other sea mammals and still other seabirds.
Note: This tour can be combined with Alaska 2020 and is a joint tour with High Lonesome BirdTours