Alaska 2023: Dutch Harbor & The Whiskered Auklet
Dutch Harbor & The Whiskered Auklet
June 24 – 27, 2023
Tour Length: 4 days
Est. Spaces Left: 3 Spaces available!
Birds, Pelagic, Photography, Marine Mammals
Double Accommodation: $4750/person
Single Supplement: + $450
Max Group Size
6 (+1 leader) up to 12 w/2 leaders
Easy; minimal walking per day, most birding by vehicle or boat
The port of Dutch Harbor and Unalaska Island offer some of the best birding in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Lying on the far eastern end of the island chain, Unalaska and nearby Amaknak Island have a well-developed infrastructure supporting one of the busiest harbors in the United States. This allows for relatively easy access and a comfortable stay in the otherwise wild and rugged Aleutian Islands. While the Whiskered Auklet is the top target species of the tour there is a lot more to see. In fact, we record more species of alcids and seabirds during our Dutch Harbor Tour than on any other Alaska tour, and during our pelagic boat tour, we can see Common and Thick-billed Murres, Pigeon Guillemot, Marbled, Kittlitz’s and Ancient Murrelets, Cassin’s, Crested, Parakeet and Least (rare) Auklets, Horned and Tufted Puffins, Layson and Black-footed Albatross, Short-tailed Shearwater, Northern Fumar, Black-legged Kittiwake, Pelagic and Red-faced Cormorants, scoters, loons, and Common Eider. In recent years, Red-legged Kittiwake has been frequently seen in small numbers and we have also recorded the endangered Short-tailed Albatross several times. The time we spend on land, exploring the wetlands, tundra, bays, and coastline, will also be filled with birds and Unalaska harbors such notable species as Harlequin Duck, Rock Ptarmigan (nelsoni ssp.), Black Oystercatcher, Rock Sandpiper, Pacific Wren, American Dipper, Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, Common Redpoll, Lapland Longspur, Snow Bunting, and the unalaschcensis subspecies of “Sooty” Fox Sparrow. The islands and surrounding pelagic waters are home to many mammals with Sea Otters abundant and Humpback and Minke Whales, Harbor Porpoises, Harbor Seals, and Steller’s Sea Lion all frequent. Back on land Red Foxes prowl the tundra and Arctic Ground Squirrels are common. The quaint town of Unalaska also offers two museums, and a historic Russian Orthodox church all with a backdrop of dramatic volcanic mountains clad in verdant maritime tundra vegetation – let’s not forget the abundant wildflowers. This diversity of birds, the potential for rarities, and unique scenery make this an ideal tour for first-time visitors or seasoned Alaska birders.
Whiskered, Crested, Parakeet, Cassin’s & Least (rare) Auklets; Horned & Tufted Puffins; Kittlitz’s, Ancient & Marbled Murrelets; Thick-billed & Common Murres; Pigeon Guillemot; Laysan & Black-footed Albatross, Short-tailed Albatross (rare); Short-tailed Shearwater; Red-faced Cormorant; Black Oystercatcher; Rock Sandpiper; Rock Ptarmigan; American Dipper; Pacific Wren; Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch; Lapland Longspur; Snow Bunting
Sea Otter; Steller’s Sea Lion; Harbor Seal; several species of whales and dolphins
pelagic, maritime tundra, alpine tundra, wetlands, lagoons, coastline
remote Aleutian landscapes, wildflowers, history, culture
Planning for the Trip
Anchorage International Airport: Ravn Air check-in and gate
Very comfortable hotels with excellent restaurants.
From Anchorage, roundtrip flight to Dutch Harbor, 3 nights lodging, all meals from 1st-night dinner through final day’s lunch, pelagic boat trip, transport, guides, taxes.
Alcohol, personal calls, laundry, and other personal expenses.
Cool and sometimes wet; 40 to 60 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
Past Trip Reports
- Dutch Harbor 2022 Trip Report
- Alaska 2021 – The Aleutian Islands: Dutch Harbor & Whiskered Auklet Trip Report & List
- Dutch Harbor: The Whiskered Auklet Tour
- Alaska 2019 Dutch Harbor Trip Report & List
- Dutch Harbor, Alaska Trip Report June 19th – 22nd, 2019
- Dutch Harbor 2018: The Whiskered Auklet Tour Trip Report