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WINGS Birding Tours – Photo Gallery

Alaska: Majesty of the North

Our trip begins with an optional extension to the Pribilof Islands. Modern Saab turboprop planes will take us from Anchorage… …to the windswept cliffs of Saint Paul Island. Nesting seabirds are abundant and photogenic, with many alcids to choose from, like Least, …Parakeet… …and Crested Auklets by the thousands…  …as well as Horned and… …and Tufted Puffins. Hundreds of the beautiful and globally rare Red-legged Kittiwakes join the crowd too. The shorelines of Saint Paul Island host as well… …the world’s largest colonies of Northern Fur Seals. The main tour commences with a trip to the staggeringly scenic Denali National Park… …where we’ll look for several interior Alaska species like Northern Hawk-Owl… …American Three-toed Woodpecker… …the beautiful Bohemian Waxwing… …and the range-restricted (in North America) Arctic Warbler. Big mammals can be abundant, such as these Moose… …and almost certainly Grizzly Bear. Our next stop is Nome, an area of open tundra and wilderness. Nome’s birdlife includes many specialties, such as the incomparable Bluethroat… …Willow Ptarmigan… …Rock Ptarmigan… …and the enigmatic Aleutian Tern. We’ll take an optional walk up a hillside… …to look for the very local Bristle-thighed Curlew. Mammals abound here as well, from shaggy Muskox… …to attractive and frequently seen Red Foxes. We’ll have picnic lunches in the tundra… …perhaps with a Bar-tailed Godwit… …or an inquisitive Arctic Tern. The weather can be warm in June; here locals swimming in the Bering Sea! The last leg of the journey takes us to Seward, a fishing town on the Kenai Peninsula. Sitka spruce trees dominate the lower mountain slopes… …and provide a new suite of birds such as Varied Thrush… … and, with some luck, Spruce Grouse. A boat trip to the Kenai fjords is always great for birds and… …we should encounter Orca… …and the charismatic Sea Otter, …and our chief prize, the very local Kittlitz’s Murrelet. Calving and eerily blue glaciers are another feature as are… …Steller’s Sea Lions lounging on the Chiswell Islands… …waterfalls cascading down to the sea… A post-tour extension to the high Arctic in Barrow… …will reveal a host of breeding shorebirds, like this American Golden-Plover… …vigorously displaying Pectoral Sandpipers, and Red Phalarope. We’ll look too for all four species of Eider, with a special focus on the endangered Spectacled… and dapper Steller’s… …and will always be alert for nearby Snowy Owls… …or perhaps a vagrant from Russia, such as this gorgeous white Ruff. We’ll even have a reasonable chance at one of North Americas most coveted mammals, the Polar Bear!