Alaska 2023: Dutch Harbor & The Whiskered Auklet

 Dutch Harbor & The Whiskered Auklet

June 24 – 27, 2023

Tour Length: 4 days
Est. Spaces Left: Spaces available!

Journey to the Aleutian Islands and the largest fishing port in North America. Surrounded by spectacular mountains and wedged beween the Bering Sea and the Pacific Ocean, this is the best place to find Whiskered Auklet by boat.

Tour Leaders

Stephan Lorenz
Claudia Cavazos

Focus

Birds, Pelagic, Photography, Marine Mammals

Price

Double Accommodation: $4750/person
Single Supplement: + $450
Deposit: $1,000

Max Group Size

6 (+1 leader) up to 12 w/2 leaders

Pace

Easy; minimal walking per day, most birding by vehicle or boat

Future Departures

June 2024

Tour Descriptions

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.

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Locations

Gallery

More Details

Trip Highlights

Top Birds

Whiskered, Crested, Parakeet, Cassin’s & Least (rare) Auklets; Horned & Tufted Puffins; Kittlitz’s, Ancient & Marbled Murrelets; Thick-billed and 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

Top Mammals

Sea Otter; Steller’s Sea Lion; Harbor Seal; several species of whales

Habitats

pelagic, maritime tundra, alpine tundra, wetlands, lagoons, coastline

Planning for the Trip

Meeting Location

Anchorage International Airport: Ravn Air check-in and gate

Accommodations

Very comfortable hotels with excellent restaurants.

Included

From Anchorage, flight to Dutch Harbor, 3 nights lodging, all meals from 1st-night dinner through final day’s lunch, pelagic boat trip, transport, guides, taxes.

Excluded

Alcohol, personal calls, laundry, and other personal expenses.

Expected Climate

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