Alaska 2023: Nome & The Seward Peninsula II
June 3 – June 7, 2023
Tour Length: 5 days
Est. Spaces Left: Spaces available!
Double Accommodation: $3200/person
Single Supplement: + $525
Max Group Size
14 (+2 leaders & vans)
Birds, Mammals, Photography
Easy to Moderate ; one optional moderate to difficult hike for Bristle-thighed Curlew.
The days of the gold rush have faded, although a few small mining operations remain active, and Nome now offers unparalleled access to the Alaskan wilderness. In addition to comfortable accommodations, plenty of restaurants and stores, more than 200 miles of maintained gravel roads offer relatively easy access to all habitats, including far-flung tundra locations. Several species with limited nesting ranges in Alaska and North America can be readily found in Nome, most notably Arctic Loon, Bristle-thighed Curlew, Red-necked Stint, Bar-tailed Godwit, Slaty-backed Gull, Bluethroat, Eastern Yellow and White Wagtails, Northern Wheatear, and Arctic Warbler. Nome also supports vast numbers of migrating and nesting shorebirds with highlights including American and Pacific Golden-Plovers, Black-bellied Plover, Rock Sandpiper, Wandering Tattler, Black Turnstone, Surfbird, Red Knot, Whimbrel, and Buff-breasted Sandpiper. In recent years our tours have recorded a fine selection of Eurasian shorebird rarities including Great Knot, Gray-tailed Tattler, Lesser Sand-Plover, Ruff, and Wood and Common Sandpipers. The offshore waters, bays, and lagoons also offer great chances for waterfowl and all four species of eiders are possible alongside Harlequin and Long-tailed Ducks, and four species of scoter, including the rare Stejneger’s Scoter. Nome is also one of the best places for loons with all five species possible: Red-throated and Pacific are common while Yellow-billed and Arctic Loons occur in small numbers. In the interior, cliffs and rugged mountains support excellent raptor populations with Golden Eagle, Rough-legged Hawk, Short-eared Owl, Gyrfalcon, and Peregrine Falcon all nesting. Lower lying tundra holds plenty of Willow Ptarmigans, while upland areas hold the scarcer Rock Ptarmigan. Away from the coastline, alder thickets are filled with warblers, sparrows, finches, and thrushes including Varied and Gray-cheeked Thrushes, Northern Waterthrush, Orange-crowned, Yellow, Blackpoll, Yellow-rumped and Wilson’s Warblers, American Tree, Fox, White-crowned, Golden-crowned and Savannah Sparrows, and Common and Hoary Redpolls. Add to that Lapland Longspur and Snow Bunting plus chances for Pine Grosbeak, White-winged Crossbill, Bohemian Waxwing, and even Spruce Grouse for a full Alaskan birding experience. Of course, this vast wilderness supports good numbers of large mammals with Muskox, Moose, Reindeer, Brown “Grizzly” Bear all regularly seen (even Wolf and Lynx are possible) while some of the smaller mammals include American Beaver, North American Otter, and more.
Bluethroat; Bristle-thighed Curlew; Eastern Yellow & White Wagtails; Northern Wheatear; Arctic Warbler; Arctic, Pacific, Red-throated & Yellow-billed Loons; Eurasian Wigeon; Bar-tailed Godwit; Rock & Willow Ptarmigan; American & Pacific Golden-Plover; Black-bellied Plover; Surfbird; Black Turnstone; Rock Sandpiper; Red-necked Stint; Sabine’s Gull; Aleutian Tern; Gyrfalcon; Merlin; Peregrine Falcon; many others including several Eurasian vagrants over the years.
Brown (Grizzly) Bear, Muskox, Wolf (rare), Lynx (rare), Moose, Reindeer, River Otter
mountains, tundra, wetlands, lagoons, rivers, alder thickets, and small areas of boreal forest
subarctic landscapes; historic mining town; wildflowers; wilderness
Planning for the Trip
Nome Airport; Nome, Alaska
Relatively new, comfortable hotel.
From Anchorage, 4 nights lodging, all meals from lunch on the first day through breakfast on the final day; air to Nome, transport, guides, taxes.
Alcohol, personal calls, laundry, other personal expenses.
Cold to moderate, sometimes wet; 30 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Suggested Clothing and Gear
Scope and tripod (optional)
Sunglasses and sunscreen
Small day pack/fanny pack
Mosquito/insect repellant (DEET 25% or greater)
Itch relief cream
Small alarm clock
Cleaning fluids/cloths/drying cloths
Hat with brim/visor
Rain jacket/wind breaker
Warm hat with visor
Waterproof winter jacket (Gore-tex or equivalent)
Balaclava or full facial ski mask
Warm, waterproof gloves (and backup pair)
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
- Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 6th Edition Jon Dunn, et al. (2011); National Geographic Society
- Shorebirds of North America, Europe, & Asia: A Guide to Field Identification Don Taylor; illustrated by Stephen Message (2006); Princeton University Press
- Shorebirds of North America: The Photographic Guide Dennis Paulson (2005); Princeton University Press
- The Sibley Guide to Birds David A. Sibley (2000); Knopf
- Seabirds of the World Peter Harrison (1997); Princeton University Press
- A Field Guide to the Birds of Japan (1982); Wild Bird Society of Japan
- A Field Guide to the Waterbirds of Asia Bharat Bhushan, et al. (1993); Wild Bird Society of Japan
- Birds of Russia & Adjacent Territories V. E. Flint, et al. (1984); Princeton University Press
- A Field Guide to the Birds of China John MacKinnon & Karen Phillipps (2000); Oxford University Press
- Birds of Europe Killian Mullarney, et al. (1999); Princeton University Press
- Birds of Europe with North Africa & the Middle East Lars Jonsson (1992); Princeton University Press
- The Handbook of Bird Identification for Europe & the Western Palearctic Mark Beaman and Steve Madge (1998); Princeton University Press
- A Field Guide to the Rare Birds of Britain & Europe Ian Lewington, et al. (1991); Domino Books, Ltd.
- New Generation to the Guide Birds of Britain & Europe Christopher Perrins (1987); University of Texas Press