Alaska 2023 Classic Birding

Nome & Denali: Alaska Gold Rush

June 07 – 17, 2023

Tour Length: 11 days
Est. Spaces Left: Available

Nome lies on the Seward Peninsula and juts into the Bering Sea. It’s a frontier town in a world where few such curiosities remain. Our trip to magnificent Denali National Park and the wilderness surrounding it is as much about large mammals, and a big (!) mountain, as it is about birds.

Tour Leaders

Stephan Lorenz
Claudia Cavazos

Focus

Birds, Wildlife viewing, Photography

Price

Double Accommodation: $6,350/person
Single Supplement: + $1,250
Deposit: $750

Max Group Size

14 (+2 leaders & vans)

Pace

Easy ; mostly easy; one optional, moderate to difficult hike for Bristle-thighed Curlew.

Future Departures

June 07, 2024

Tour Descriptions

Nome lies on the Seward Peninsula and juts into the Bering Sea. It’s a frontier town in a world where few such curiosities remain. Bordered on the west and south by the Bering Sea, the north and east by miles of trackless wilderness. Nome is a fascinating and challenging destination, accessible only by boat and aeroplane. During June, the midnight sun is at its brightest, the tundra is in full bloom, and the birds and mammals are breeding and therefore very active. Our tour will cover the prime birding areas along the coast, the tundra and the only boreal forest on the Seward Peninsula. Most of the birds are in their resplendent breeding plumage, rarely if ever seen in the ‘lower 48’. We’ll also make an extra effort to locate some of the Asian species that regularly occur around Nome. The road system here provides the very best access to the Alaska wilderness without an aeroplane. This is typically the best trip for Asian vagrants, and we expect to see around 90+ bird species, including Black-throated (Arctic) and Yellow-billed Loons, Bristle-thighed Curlew, Sabine’s Gull, Gyrfalcon, Bluethroat, Eastern Yellow and White Wagtails. Mammal possibilities include the huge Grizzly (Brown) Bear, Moose, Caribou (some years), and Muskox. Sometimes, with great luck, a Beluga or Wolverine is spotted! Our lodging overlooks the Bering Sea, and being only a few years old offers the most comfortable accommodations in the area.

Our trip to magnificent Denali National Park and the wilderness surrounding it is as much about large mammals, and a big (!) mountain, as it is about birds. With the blessing of the weather gods, the scenery can be beyond marvellous, and we expect to see such stellar species as Trumpeter Swan, Willow Ptarmigan, Gyrfalcon, Long-tailed Jaeger, and perhaps even Northern Hawk-Owl and Smith’s Longspur. And typically we also see a number of Grizzly Bears (often sows with cubs) as well as Caribou scattered about, some Dall Sheep, Moose and, if we are lucky, perhaps even Wolf. We’ll also travel the gravel Denali Highway that parallels the stunning Alaska Range for 135 miles in our quest to see as many of the region’s special birds as possible.

Locations

Gallery

More Details

Trip Highlights

Top Birds

Emperor Goose; Black-throated (Arctic) Pacific, Red-throated & Yellow-billed Loons; Bristle-thighed Curlew; Bar-tailed Godwit; Wandering Tattler, American Golden & Pacific Golden Plover; Black Bellied Plover; Red-necked Stint; Sabine’s Gull; Aleutian & Arctic Tern; Gyrfalcon; Bluethroat; Eastern Yellow & White Wagtail; Arctic Warbler; Trumpeter Swan; Willow & Rock Ptarmigan;, Long-tailed & Parasitic Jaeger; Northern Hawk-Owl; Great Grey Owl; Smith’s Longspur, Golden Eagle, Rough-legged Hawk; Boreal Chickadee; American Three-toed & Black-backed Woodpecker;White-winged Crossbill; Bohemian Waxwing and many others

Top Mammals

Brown (Grizzly) Bear; Black Bear; Moose; Caribou; Lynx; Hoary Marmot; Short-tailed Weasel; Beaver; Gray Wolf; Red Fox; Dall Sheep.

Other Attractions

Planning for the Trip

Meeting Location

Anchorage, Alaska

Accommodations

Three to four star; very comfortable

Included

Roundtrip flights: Anchorage to Nome; Pickup and drop-off at Nome Airport; All meals from dinner on day 1 to lunch on day 11; Drinking water throughout the tour; All lodgings as per the itinerary; Ground transportation; All taxes and reserve entrance fees; All guiding services; and Tips for local guides and services.

Excluded

ANY international airfares. Any airfares other than stated above, taxes and visa costs; Alcoholic beverages; Special gratuities (guide & boat tips); and Telephone calls, laundry and items of a personal nature.

Habitats Covered

Barren tundra & high tundra, stunted temperate growth forests, boreal forest, rocky shorelines, taiga forest, mountain ranges, lakes.

Expected Climate

Wide range of temperatures from 30’s to 70’s.

Suggested Clothing and Gear

Valid, current passport (w/ 4 blank pages)
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
Hair Dryer
Small alarm clock
Field guides
Hiking Boots/Shoes
Hat with brim/visor
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.
Sturdy, waterproof boots; NEOS are lightweight waterproof overboots
Moleskin for blisters

Recommended Reading

  • A Field Guide to the Birds of Japan (1982), Wild Bird Society of Japan
  • A Photographic Guide to North American Raptors Brian Wheeler & William Clark
  • Birds of Europe with North Africa & the Middle East Lars Jonsson (1992), Princeton University Press
  • National Geographic Field Guide to The Birds of North America (7th Edition) Jon Dunn, et. al. 2017, National Geographic Society