Alaska 2021: Nome & The Seward Peninsula I

Bluethroat Nome, Alaska by Carl Sheely
May 30 - June 03, 2021
Tour Length: 5 days Est. Spaces Left: 0

Experience a breeding extravaganza like you’ve never seen with thousands of migrants moving in during the Spring to nest along the shores and in the high tundra of the Seward Peninsula. Access these birds over 300 miles of dirt road.

Photo: Bluethroat   Nome, Alaska   by Carl Sheely

“There’s No Place Like Nome!”.

Nome lies on the Seward Peninsula, jutting into the Bering Sea. It’s a frontier town in a world where few such curiosities remain. Accessible only by boat and airplane, bordered on the West and South by the Bering Sea, and the North and East by miles of trackless wilderness, Nome is a fascinating and challenging destination. During June, the midnight sun is at its brightest, the tundra is in full bloom, and the birds and mammals are breeding.

Our tours will cover the prime birding areas along the seacoast, the tundra and the only boreal forest on the Seward Peninsula. Most of the birds are in their resplendent breeding plumages—rarely if ever seen in the “lower 48”. We’ll make an extra effort to locate some of the Asian species that regularly occur at Nome. The road system of Nome provides the best access to the Alaska bush without an airplane, and we will drive it extensively.

Nome I is typically the best trip for Asian vagrants, although some are usually found in the second week of June as well. Expected species in Nome: 90+ species, including Arctic and Yellow-billed Loon; Bristle-thighed Curlew; Slaty-backed Gull; Gyrfalcon; Yellow and White Wagtail; Hoary Redpoll and Bluethroat. Species we usually see annually or almost annually, especially in early June: Emperor Goose, Steller’s Eider, Spectacled Eider, Mongolian Plover, Red-necked Stint. Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Ruff, Terek Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Siberian Ruby-throat among others have all been seen over the years. We’re always on the lookout for other casual and accidental Asian species as well. Mammals: Grizzly Bear, Moose, Reindeer, Arctic Wolf, Arctic Fox, Muskox, Wolverine and others.

Our lodging is in the Aurora Inn overlooking the Bering Sea. The Inn is only a few years old and is the most comfortable lodging. All rooms have private baths and are very spacious. The weather will be mild for Nome—ranging from 20 to 50 degrees—but will require layering of clothing for maximum comfort.

This is a combined High Lonesome and Rockjumper Tours trip.

Photo: Bluethroat   Nome, Alaska   by Carl Sheely


  • Meeting Location

    Aurora Inn, Nome, Alaska


    Relatively new, comfortable hotel on Bering Sea.


    From Anchorage, 4 nights lodging, all meals from lunch on the first day through breakfast on the final day; air to Nome, transport, guides, taxes, tips.


    Alcohol, personal calls, laundry, other personal expenses.

  • Top Birds

    Bluethroat; Bristle-thighed Curlew; Eastern Yellow Wagtail; Northern Wheatear Arctic, Pacific, Red-throated & Yellow-billed Loon; Eurasian Wigeon; Bar-tailed Godwit; Rock & Willow Ptarmigan;American & Pacific Golden-Plover;Black-bellied Plover; Surfbird; Red-necked Stint;Sabine’s Gull; Aleutian Tern; many others including many Asian vagrants over the years.

    Top Mammals

    Brown (Grizzly) Bear, Muskox, Wolf, Lynx, Moose, Reindeer

    Habitats Covered

    High tundra, seaside

    Expected Climate

    Cold to moderate, sometimes wet; 30 – 50 degrees fahrenheit.

  • Other Attractions

    During your free time in Anchorage, don’t miss going to Wave Bookstores on Northern Lights or downtown on 5th Avenue. They have a great selection of Alaska fiction and non-fiction! In addition, there are some excellent restaurants downtown, including Orso, Glacier Brew House, Simon & Seafort’s, and Marx Brothers.

    Suggested Clothing & Gear
    • Credit cards / cash
    • Binoculars
    • Scope and tripod (optional)
    • Sunglasses and sunscreen
    • Small day pack / fanny pack
    • Small flashlight
    • Mosquito/insect repellant (DEET 25% or greater)
    • Itch relief cream
    • Lip screen/balm
    • Toiletries
    • Hair Dryer
    • Small alarm clock
    • Cleaning fluids/cloths/drying cloths
    • Field guides
    • Hiking Boots/Shoes
    • Hat with brim/visor
    • Rain jacket/wind breaker
    • Warm hat with visor
    • Waterproof winter jacket (Gore-tex or equivalent)
    • Balaclava or full facial ski mask
    • Warm, waterproof gloves (and backup pair)
    • Glove liners
    • T-shirts or undershirts (capilene or polypropylene)
    • Pants (fleece or wool; jeans NOT recommended)
    • Long Underwear (capilene or polypropylene)
    • PJs or shorts for lounging/sleeping
    • Wool socks (various weights) and liners.
    • GORE-TEX socks/liners for water protection and warmth
    • Sturdy, waterproof boots; NEOS are lightweight waterproof overboots
    • Moleskin for blisters
    • Foot powder for drying
    Recommended Reading
    • Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 6th Edition

      Jon Dunn, et al. (2011)
      National Geographic Society
    • Shorebirds of North America: The Photographic Guide

      Dennis Paulson (2005)
      Princeton University Press
    • Shorebirds of North America, Europe, & Asia: A Guide to Field Identification

      Don Taylor; illustrated by Stephen Message (2006)
      Princeton University Press
    • The Sibley Guide to Birds

      David A. Sibley (2000)
    • Seabirds of the World

      Peter Harrison (1997)
      Princeton University Press
    • A Field Guide to the Birds of Japan

      Wild Bird Society of Japan
    • A Field Guide to the Waterbirds of Asia

      Bharat Bhushan, et al. (1993)
      Wild Bird Society of Japan
    • Birds of Russia & Adjacent Territories

      V. E. Flint, et al. (1984)
      Princeton University Press
    • A Field Guide to the Birds of China

      John MacKinnon & Karen Phillipps (2000)
      Oxford University Press
    • Birds of Europe

      Killian Mullarney, et al. (1999)
      Princeton University Press
    • Birds of Europe with North Africa & the Middle East

      Lars Jonsson (1992)
      Princeton University Press
    • The Handbook of Bird Identification for Europe & the Western Palearctic

      Mark Beaman and Steve Madge (1998)
      Princeton University Press
    • A Field Guide to the Rare Birds of Britain & Europe

      Ian Lewington, et al. (1991)
      Domino Books, Ltd.
    • New Generation to the Guide Birds of Britain & Europe

      Christopher Perrins (1987)
      University of Texas Press



  • Bristle Thighed Curlew by Colin Bradshaw
  • Bristle-thighed Curlew by Colin Bradshaw
  • Bar-tailed Godwit by Ashok Khosla
  • Rock Ptarmigan by Ashok Khosla
  • Red-necked Stint by Ashok Khosla
  • Pacific Golden Plover by Ashok Khosla
  • Long-tailed Jaeger by Patrick Endres
  • Eastern Yellow Wagtail Male by Colin Bradshaw

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