Alaska 2022: Pribilofs, Gambell & Nome. The Bering Sea & Western Alaska

May 21 - June 07, 2022
Tour Length: 20 days Est. Spaces Left: 3

Join us for this comprehensive, discounted tour to fhree of North America’s most productive birding destinations: St. Paul Island, Gambell and Nome. Nowhere else can so many breeding birds and potential Asian vagrants be seen. St. Paul Island hosts a huge colony of seabirds including Red-legged Kittiwakes, Red-faced Cormorants and several species of alcids. Gambell’s regular birds–Emperor Goose; Spectacled and Steller’s Eiders; Arctic and Yellow-billed Loon; Ivory Gull; Common Ringed Plover; White Wagtail–are alone worth the trip not to the mention the possibility of seeing vagrants that are blown in from the “Siberian Express” migratory route. Nome provides the only access to specialties such as Bristle-thighed Curlew; Bar-tailed Godwit; Bluethroat; Eastern Yellow Wagtail.

Discount of $1175 has been applied for booking this combination.

Photo: Great Knot by Phil Davis



Future Departures:
May 20, 2023
Tour Leaders:
Max # Birders:
14 (+ 2 leaders)
Birds; Photography; Mammals;
Easy to Moderate ; Optional intense walking; much birding from vans
Double Accommodation:
$ 11200
[per person]
Single Supplement:
+ $ 1250 (Gambell single usually not avail; if avail add 500
$1750 [per person]

Important notice: In order to guarantee your place on the Gambell trip, we must receive booking and deposit no later than February 1st, 2022. The Sivuqaq Inn at Gambell will no longer hold rooms past that time, and the Inn is often completely booked after February 1st. 

St. Paul Island in the Pribilof Island group of the Bering Sea is a seabird nesting paradise. Red-faced & Pelagic Cormorants; Red-legged & Black-legged Kittiwakes; Northern Fulmars; Parakeet, Crested, Least Auklets; Horned & Tufted Puffins all nest along the cliffs where they can be approached closely and photographed. Asian vagrants often show up as well.

St. Lawrence Island lies in the Bering Sea just off the Siberian coast. Gambell is a small, timeless Eskimo village subsisting much as it has for thousands of years. On clear days, Siberia can be seen clearly 35 miles in the distance. Whale, walrus, seal, polar bear and birds account for most of the native diet. High Arctic and Asian vagrants are the draw at Gambell. Most of the Asian species recorded in North America have been seen in Gambell and its environs. We will spend much of our time within a couple of miles of the village. There are huge colonies of Parakeet, Least and Crested Auklets on the cliffs within walking distance. Northwest Point provides a “super-highway” for seabirds passing very close by the island in migration and usually yield Arctic Loon, Yellow-billed Loon , Dovekie, Emperor Goose and Ivory Gull as well as many other seabirds and ducks. The centuries old bone yards often hide vagrant passerines, e.,g, Eurasian Bullfinch, Hawfinch, and Common Cuckoo. The marsh about two miles from town is superb for shorebirds and typically yields several of the Asiatic shorebirds.

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.

Comments on previous trips:

I recently participated in the Pribilof/Gambell/Nome segments of your Alaska birding trips. I selected your company based specifically on birding these three areas and the fact that each spent a day or so longer in each area than did other companies. I figured that I was only going to the Bering Sea once, so it had to be as thorough as possible. I am pleased to report that the trip was perfect in all respects. You and your team were fantastic.

            Your experience with this area was evident in how you managed the airlines, hotels and other logistics. We listened to some of your stories of earlier problems and it was clear that you were determined not to let it happen to us. 

            Stephan Lorenz and Dave MacKay were superb guides. They are skilled birders and naturalists, but also incredibly attentive to their clients. Everyone got a chance to see birds. They were able to keep track of who needed what bird. Somehow Stephan knew that I was interested in seeing White-winged Crossbill. When one was spotted at Gambell one evening, he came by and gave me the option to get out of bed and head out there. Dave had already put a key in one of the ATVs and I was off. In my haste, I forgot my camera battery in its charger so Stephan raced back to grab it while I watched the bird. At Nome, we failed to see the Bristle-thighed Curlew on our first try. Dave was willing to haul us out there early one morning for another shot, and we saw a couple. In the meantime, Stephan was taking care of the members of the group who passed on the curlew.

            Dave’s meals on Gambell were excellent. Hearty breakfast, hot soup and sandwich for lunch, great dinners and plenty of salad and veg. I had mentally written off plants in my diet for this trip, but Dave really came through. So did the cafeteria at St. Paul for that matter, with a nice salad bar to supplement their cooked offerings.

            Less under your control, but I will credit you nonethess, were a group that got along well, great weather and a whole bunch of birds. Especially on St. Paul, we thought we had won the lottery. 

            Thank you for a wonderful experience.

W.P. Corvallis, OR

To Stephan Lorenz: Thanks for the great trip report……very well done!  I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the trip.  I had very high expectations for the tour and it far far exceeded them.  You and Dave were terrific; I was amazed by your energy, persistence and patience.  I have just started going through my many photos, but I will share some with you later.
I hope to take another tour that you lead someday……in the mean time….keep up the great work!
Good birding!
J C. Elkhart, Indiana



  • Download Itinerary

    No PDF is available at this time. See Below.

  • Meeting Location

    Anchorage, May 21 @ 6:30 PM. Coast International Inn


    Comfortable. Very good to basic at St. Paul Island & Pribilofs


    All inclusive from Anchorage:
    19 nights lodging
    all meals except night of May 25h through lunch on May 26th (between Pribilofs & Gambell)
    expert guides
    land use fees & permits
    internal flights
    taxes. Tips to guide optional


    Flight from US to Anchorage
    personal calls
    Alcoholic beverages
    Any other expense of a personal nature

  • Top Birds

    Gambell: Emperor Goose; Least, Parakeet, Crested Auklets; Dovekie; Yellow-billed, Arctic, Pacific Loons; Steller’s, Yellow-Spectacled, King, Common Eiders; Ivory, Slaty-backed Gulls; Common Ringed Plover; Common Greenshank; Wood Sandpiper; Gray-tailed Tattler; Red-necked Stint; Red Phalarope; White Wagtail; Brambling all are common or annual; many less common Asian vagrants, e.g., Green, Terek, Common Sandpipers; Long-toed & Temminck’s Stint; depending upon year and weather patterns. Common Greenshank, Green and Terek Sandpipers, Great Knot, Little, Temminck’s, and Long-toed Stints, Common Snipe, Common Cuckoo, Sky Lark, Dusky Warbler, Taiga Flycatcher, Siberian Rubythroat, Dusky and Eyebrowed Thrushes, Stonechat, Olive-backed Pipit, Rustic Bunting, Brambling, Common Rosefinch, Eurasian Bullfinch, and Hawfinch.

    St. Paul Island: King & Steller’s Eider (uncommon); Red-faced & Pelagic Cormorants; Red-legged Kittiwake & Sabine’s Gull (uncommon); Tufted & Horned Puffin;Least, Crested, Parakeet Auklets; Ancient Murrelet; Short-eared & Snowy Owl; Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch; Snow Bunting & MacKay’s Bunting (rare); Asian rarities possible: Bean Goose, Common Pochard, Smew, Tufted Duck, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Great Knot, Black-tailed Godwit, Siberian Rubythroat, Eye-browed Thrush, and Brambling. Other rarities, e.g., Chinese Pond-Heron, Little Stint, Far Eastern Curlew, Brown Shrike, Dusky Thrush, Olive-backed Pipit, Hawfinch all recorded, mostly in May & early June.

    Nome:  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; Gyrfalcon; Merlin; Peregerine Falcon; many others including many Asian vagrants over the years.

    Top Mammals

    Gray Whale; Orca; Beluga Whale (rare);  Walrus; Northern Fur Seal; Harbor Seal; Steller’s Sea Lion; Arctic Fox; Brown (Grizzly) Bear; Wolverine; Lynx; Muskox

    Habitats Covered

    Coastal plains; low tundra;; high tundra; taiga; boreal forest (Nome), mountains

    Expected Climate

    Very cold (wind chills in low 20’s in a few places) to mild (40’s to 50’s).

  • Other Attractions

    Native culture; spectacular scenery; view of Siberia

    Suggested Clothing & Gear
    • Valid, current passport (w/ 4 blank pages)
    • Visa (if required)
    • Credit cards / cash
    • Binoculars
    • Scope and tripod (optional)
    • Sunglasses and sunscreen
    • Water bottle
    • Small umbrella
    • Small day pack / fanny pack
    • Small flashlight
    • Mosquito/insect repellant (DEET 25% or greater)
    • Itch relief cream
    • Lip screen/balm
    • Prescription drugs - carry in original packaging to avoid customs problems
    • OTC medicines (antibiotics, cold/sinus, cough drops, eye drops, analgesic (Motrin, aspirin), anti-diarrheal)
    • Toiletries
    • Small alarm clock
    • Field guides
    • Hiking Boots/Shoes
    • Safari (e.g., Tilly) hat
    • Rain jacket/wind breaker
    • Waterproof winter jacket (Gore-tex or equivalent)
    • Balaclava or full facial ski mask
    • Warm, waterproof gloves (and backup pair)
    • Glove liners
    • Long sleeve shirts (various weights)
    • 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
    • Checkbook for souvenirs
    Recommended Reading
    • National Geographic Field Guide to The Birds of North America (7th Edition)

      Jon Dunn, et. al. 2017
      National Geographic Society
    • Shorebirds of North America: The Photographic Guide

      Dennis Paulson (2005)
      Princeton University Press
    • Birds of Europe with North Africa & the Middle East

      Lars Jonsson (1992)
      Princeton University Press
    • A Field Guide to the Birds of Japan

      Wild Bird Society of Japan


St. Paul Island, Alaska

Search Birding Tour By:

MONTH Search By Month

Search Birding Tour By:

REGION Search By Month

Why High Lonesome?


* indicates required