Alaska 2023 Classic Birding
Nome & Denali: Alaska Gold Rush
June 07 – 17, 2023
Tour Length: 11 days
Est. Spaces Left: Full, wait list available!
Birds, Wildlife viewing, Photography
Double Accommodation: $6,350/person
Single Supplement: + $1,250
Max Group Size
14 (+2 leaders & vans)
Easy; mostly easy; one optional, moderate to difficult hike for Bristle-thighed Curlew.
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, and on the north and east by miles of trackless wilderness. Nome is a fascinating and challenging destination, accessible only by boat or airplane. 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’ states. We’ll also make an extra effort to locate some of the Eurasian species that regularly occur around Nome. The road system here provides the very best access to the Alaska wilderness without an airplane. We expect to see around 90+ bird species, including Arctic and Yellow-billed Loons, Bristle-thighed Curlew, Sabine’s Gull, Gyrfalcon, Bluethroat, Eastern Yellow and White Wagtails. Mammal possibilities include the huge Brown “Grizzly” Bear, Moose, Caribou (some years), and Muskox. Sometimes, with great luck, a Beluga or Wolverine is spotted! Our lodging overlooks the Bering Sea, it is only a few years old and 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 marvelous, 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 Brown “Grizzly” Bears (often sows with cubs), 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.
Emperor Goose; 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
Brown (Grizzly) Bear; Black Bear; Moose; Caribou; Lynx; Hoary Marmot; Short-tailed Weasel; Beaver; Gray Wolf; Red Fox; Dall Sheep.
Barren tundra & high tundra, stunted temperate growth forests, boreal forest, rocky shorelines, mountain ranges, lagoons, estuaries, and lakes.
the vast wilderness of the Seward peninsula, gold mining history, frontier town, North America’s highest mountain, spectacular scenery, wildflowers
Planning for the Trip
Anchorage, Alaska Coast Inn at Lake Hood meeting in the lobby 6:30 pm for welcome dinner
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.
ANY international airfares. Any airfares other than those stated above, taxes and visa costs; alcoholic beverages; special gratuities (guide); and telephone calls, laundry, and items of a personal nature.
Wide range of temperatures from 30’s to 70’s. Can be wet and windy or warm and sunny with snow on rare occasions.
Suggested Clothing and Gear
Valid, current passport (w/ 4 blank pages)
Scope and tripod (optional)
Sunglasses and sunscreen
Small day pack/fanny pack
Mosquito/insect repellant (DEET 25% or greater)
Itch relief cream
Prescription drugs – carry in original packaging to avoid customs problems
OTC medicines (antibiotics, cold/sinus, cough drops, eye drops, analgesic (Motrin, aspirin), anti-diarrheal)
Small alarm clock
Hat with brim/visor
Safari (e.g., Tilly) hat
Waterproof winter jacket (Gore-tex or equivalent)
Balaclava or full facial ski mask
Warm, waterproof gloves (and backup pair)
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