Alaska 2023: Adak Island
May 16 – 20, 2023
Tour Length: 5 days
Est. Spaces Left: 6 Spaces available!
Birds, Pelagic, Marine Mammals, Landscapes
Double Accommodation: $4,500/person
Single Supplement: + $350
Max Group Size
12 (2 leaders)
Easy to Moderate; some hiking through marshes every day
Adak Island is a remote outpost in the central Aleutian Islands, but readily accessible from Anchorage which lies nearly 1,200 miles northeast of Adak. This relatively large Aleutian island, roughly 274 square miles in size, has been accessible to birders since the early 2000s after the closure of a sizeable naval base. Taking advantage of the extensive remaining infrastructure, which includes miles of good roads and comfortable accommodations, we can now explore this rugged and wild island easily. The island sits amidst the productive confluence of the Bering Sea to the north and Pacific to the south and this rich pelagic environment supports millions of seabirds most notably the range-restricted Whiskered Auklet which we will seek via a short pelagic boat trip. Other marine birds easily seen on Adak include Ancient, Marbled, and Kittlitz’s Murrelets, Laysan Albatross, Short-tailed Shearwater, and a smattering of other alcids. During the spring, Adak Island is also a fantastic place to find migrating Arctic and Yellow-billed Loons, Gyrfalcon, Aleutian Tern, and Common Eiders. The island also hosts an endemic subspecies of Rock Ptarmigan, Rock Sandpiper, Black Oystercatcher, Pacific Wren, Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, Snow Bunting, and Lapland Longspur. Due to its far-flung westerly location (roughly 445 miles east of Attu Island), Adak Island receives a healthy dose of Eurasian migrants and vagrants with early spring being an ideal time to find scarce shorebirds and waterfowl. In recent years, we have seen a variety of rare visitors to the ABA area during our tours, including Whooper Swan, Taiga and Tundra Bean-Geese, Smew, Tufted Duck, Eurasian Wigeon, Eastern Spot-billed Duck, Long-billed Murrelet, Lesser Sand-Plover, Ruff, Terek Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Temminck’s Stint, Common Snipe (likely breeds), Eyebrowed Thrush, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Hawfinch, Rustic Bunting, Brambling and many other Asiatic vagrants are possible. Of course, the number and variety of rare and vagrant species are highly weather dependent, and even a handful of these species would be an exceptional trip, but the potential and unpredictability make for adventurous and exciting daily outings.
Taiga and Tundra Bean-Geese (very rare); Smew (nearly annual); Laysan Albatross; Northern Fulmar; Short-tailed Shearwater; Whiskered Auklet; Kittlitz’s, Ancient and Marbled Murrelets; Pigeon Guillemot; Rock Sandpiper; Gyrfalcon; Arctic, Pacific, and Yellow-billed Loons; Red-faced and Pelagic Cormorants; Black Oystercatcher; Aleutian Tern; Parasitic Jaeger; Rock Ptarmigan; Gray-crowned Rosy-finch; Hawfinch (nearly annual); Brambling; many other possible Eursian vagrants
Sea Otters, Harbor Seals, Steller’s Sea Lions
maritime tundra, lakes, wetlands, coastline, pelagic
Excellent photographic opportunities, remote volcanic landscapes of the Aleutian Islands, Cold War history
Planning for the Trip
Coast Inn at Lake Hood, Anchorage, Alaska
Nice, comfortable townhouses.
From Anchorage, 4 nights lodging, all meals from first night dinner through final day’s lunch, transport, guides, taxes.
alcohol, personal calls, laundry, pelagic boat trip, if available; other personal expenses.
Cool, sometimes wet, temps 35 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Suggested Clothing and Gear
Credit cards/cash; Binoculars; Scope and tripod (optional); Sunglasses and sunscreen; Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses; 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; Hair Dryer; Small alarm clock; Cleaning fluids/cloths/drying cloths; Field guides; Note pads/pens (we provide trip checklists); Hiking Boots/Shoes; Warm hat with visor; Rain hat; Waterproof winter jacket (Gore-tex or equivalent); Warm winter jacket; 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; Foot powder for drying
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