Alaska 2024: Adak: Aleutian Specialties & Asian Vagrants

May 14 – 18, 2024

Tour Length: 5 days
Est. Spaces Left: Spaces available!

Birding in the far Aleutian Islands amidst stunning volcanoes where we might find Asian vagrants along with Whiskered Auklets, Kittlitz’s Murrelets, and Laysan Albatross. Adak is also an excellent place to find several other Alaska specialties, including Arctic and Yellow-billed Loons, Gyrfalcon, Rock Ptarmigan, Aleutian Tern, and more. Adak Island remains one of the less-visited birding hotspots in Alaska and any venture to this remote outpost will certainly produce interesting sightings.

Tour Leaders

Stephan Lorenz
Claudia Cavazos


Birds, Pelagic, Marine Mammals, Landscapes


Double Accommodation: $4,500/person
Single Supplement: + $450
Deposit: $1,250

Max Group Size

12 (2 leaders)


Easy to Moderate; Some hiking through marshes every day

Future Departures

May 2024

Tour Description

Adak Island offers the farthest western air access to potential Asiatic species since Attu closed down in 2000. The old 1987 checklist from Adak lists 34 Asiatic species, but birding coverage in Adak has always been very sparse.

In recent years, we have found Whooper Swan, Taiga and Tundra Bean Geese, Tufted Duck, Smew, Eurasian Wigeon, Green-winged “Common” Teal, Eastern Spot-billed Duck, Lesser Sand-Plover, Ruff, Terek Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Long-toed Stint, Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits, Hawfinch, Brambling, Rustic Bunting and many thousands of Whiskered Auklets, and a dozen or more Laysan Albatross among other seabirds.

Resident birds and spring visitors include Gyrfalcon, Cackling Goose, Red-faced and Pelagic Cormorants, Northern Fulmar, Black Oystercatcher, Common Snipe, Rock Sandpiper, Rock Ptarmigan, Ancient, Kittlitz’s and Marbled Murrelets, Horned and Tufted Puffins, Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, Pacific Wren, and Song Sparrow.



More Details

Trip Highlights

Top Birds

Taiga and Tundra Bean-Geese (rare); Smew (nearly annual); Laysan Albatross; Northern Fulmar; Short-tailed Shearwater; Whiskered Auklet; Kittlitz’s, Ancient and Marbled Murrelets; Pigeon Guillemot; Rock Sandpiper; Gyrfalcon; Arctic, Pacific, and Yellow-billed Loons; Red-faced and Pelagic Cormorants; Black Oystercatcher; Aleutian Tern; Parasitic Jaeger; Rock Ptarmigan; Gray-crowned Rosy-finch; Hawfinch (nearly annual); Brambling; many other possible Asian vagrants

Top Mammals

Sea Otters, Harbor Seals, Steller’s Sea Lions


maritime tundra, lakes, wetlands, coastline, pelagic

Other Attractions

Excellent photographic opportunities, remote volcanic landscapes of the Aleutian Islands, history

Planning for the Trip

Meeting Location

Coast Inn at Lake Hood, Anchorage, Alaska


Comfortable and fully equipped townhouses


From Anchorage, 5 nights lodging, all meals from first night dinner through final day’s lunch, transport, guides, taxes, most tips


alcohol, personal calls, laundry, pelagic boat trip, if available; other personal expenses

Habitats Covered

maritime tundra, lagoons, wetlands, rocky shoreline, and possible pelagic

Expected Climate

Cool, sometimes wet and windy, temps 35 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit

Suggested Clothing and Gear

Credit cards/cash
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)
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

Recommended Reading

  • 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
  • A Field Guide to the Birds of China John MacKinnon & Karen Phillipps (2000), Oxford University Press
  • A Field Guide to the Rare Birds of Britain & Europe Ian Lewington, et al. (1991), Domino Books, Ltd.
  • Birds of Europe with North Africa & the Middle East Lars Jonsson (1992), Princeton University Press
  • Birds of Russia & Adjacent Territories V. E. Flint, et al. (1984), Princeton University Press
  • Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 6th Edition Jon Dunn, et al. (2011), National Geographic Society
  • Seabirds of the World Peter Harrison (1997), Princeton University Press
  • 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
  • New Generation to the Guide Birds of Britain & Europe Christopher Perrins (1987), University of Texas Press
  • Birds of Europe Killian Mullarney, et al. (1999), Princeton University Press
  • The Sibley Guide to Birds David A. Sibley (2000), Knopf
  • The Shorebird Guide (North America) Miichael O’Brien, et. al. 2006, Houghton & Mifflin Books
  • The Handbook of Bird Identification for Europe & the Western Palearctic Mark Beaman and Steve Madge (1998), Princeton University Press