Skip to navigation, or go to main content.

Jake Mohlmann reports at the end of a cracking good Alaska tour

July 13: Jake Mohlmann reports at the end of a cracking good Alaska tour

We recently wrapped up the second of two Alaska Majesty tours where inclement weather largely missed us, exciting birds seemed never-ending, and new mammal species were a constant surprise. Every guide dreams of the chance to show a group a first North American record. We did just that as we tracked down a new bird for the country’s list…a cracking Rufous-Tailed Rock Thrush! This bird was only around for 1 day so we were all elated at the fortunate timing of our flight. That same day we were alerted to the presence of a Polar Bear just offshore on the sea ice. We hurried out and were able to find the massive beast as it tore chunks of meat from the melting saltwater.

The arctic breeders were in their gorgeous breeding plumages including stunning cherry-colored Red Phalaropes tending to nests with eggs. Eiders of all 4 species were seen both in Nome and Barrow, but perhaps the most exciting experience was approaching 2 pairs of Steller’s Eiders on foot as they rested up before a courting session. One of our days in Seward was a wash in the afternoon, but luckily in the morning we tallied a suite of temperate rainforest birds including an endless display from a bold Pacific Wren defending his territory. The constantly changing scenery was always inspiring, and on several occasions a Moose would be in the frame, sometimes quite close. One never really knows what might show up birding at the top of the world.

Our group thrilled with our successful trip.

Rufous-tailed Rock-Thrush…a first for North America.

An enormous Polar Bear coming in to feed.

Multiple stunning Red Phalaropes in breeding plumage seen.

Male Steller’s Eiders resting up on tundra pools.

The song of Pacific Wren rang through the rainforest.

Moose were seen almost daily, some quite close.

Posted: July 13, 2021