Grand Alaska: Nome Pre-Trip: Jun 11—16, 2019
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The Nome area offers Western Alaska/ Bering Sea specialty birds from Bristle-thighed Curlew to Bluethroat, breeding shorebirds on the tundra, possible Siberian vagrants, good mammal viewing (Musk Ox, Grizzly Bear, and Moose all possible) and wonderful scenery as we journey through the frontier wilderness of the Seward Peninsula.
We will have four days to scour this bird-rich area in pursuit of some of Alaska’s most highly sought birds. In Nome, the birdlife has a strong Siberian element with vociferous Bar-tailed Godwits protesting from the hummocks, Aleutian Terns foraging along the edges of Safety Lagoon, Eastern Yellow Wagtails hovering above the tundra, Arctic Warblers singing from the willows, and spectacular Bluethroats skylarking against snow-covered backdrops. Willow and Rock ptarmigan forage along the roadsides. Long-tailed Jaegers patrol the coastal tundra, while Gyrfalcons range through the hills above town. Even the nearly mythical Bristle-thighed Curlew is a possibility in this remote region.
Other expected species in this area include such gems as Red-throated, Pacific, and Arctic (scarce) loons, Tundra Swan, Common Eider, Harlequin Duck, Red-necked Phalarope, Pacific Golden-Plover, Arctic Tern, Parasitic Jaeger, Short-eared Owl, Northern Shrike, Lapland Longspur, and Hoary and Common redpolls, among many others. Shorebirds in full breeding attire cover the tundra, and the possibility of a Siberian rarity is ever-present. Some strays such as Eurasian Wigeon, Red-necked Stint, and Slaty-backed Gull have become somewhat regular, while true vagrants like Whooper Swan, Ivory and Ross’s gulls, and Gray-tailed Tattler have been recorded on past trips.
Mammal viewing is generally good with Musk Ox having become quite numerous in recent years, as well as good chances for Moose, Grizzly Bear, and occasionally Caribou. The scenery and vast grandeur of the Seward Peninsula is arguably worth the trip alone. This tour is the perfect complement to the Grand Alaska Part II trip.
Good accommodations; internal flights to/from Nome; van travel on gravel roads in Nome; generally easy to moderate terrain; easy to moderate hikes with one optional, difficult hike over rugged terrain to look for the curlew; often long days with picnic lunches and late dinners; some post-dinner birding options may be offered; cool to mild climate.