Day 1: Arrive in Anchorage with late PM Birding

Participants can arrive anytime throughout the day.  Upon
arrival, we will arrange a transfer to a local hotel in

If your arrival time is before 2 PM, we will arrange for some
afternoon birding at a local park.  Either Kincaid or Hillside
Park will be a good spot for your guide to get the group on
several key boreal species.  We will be looking for Northern
Goshawk, Spruce Grouse, American Three-toed
Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadee, White-winged Crossbill
and Common Redpoll.  Summer visitors include Pacific
Loon, Western Wood-Pewee, Alder Flycatcher and Varied

By 6 PM (with some flexibility here to accommodate actual
flight plans), the group will get together for supper.  Ideally,
we will provide a full trip orientation at this time.

Overnight Anchorage.

Day 2: Depart early for Homer with several birding
stops along the Seward and Sterling Highways,
including Potter Marsh Game Refuge.  Afternoon
birding at Homer Spit.

We will leave Anchorage after breakfast and drive the
Seward and Sterling Highways to Homer, making several
birding stops on the way.
  • Our first stop will be at Potter Marsh Game Refuge
    where a boardwalk allows us to see a variety of
    geese, ducks, grebes, and gulls.  Key species here
    include Red-necked Grebe, Mew Gull, Arctic Tern,
    Pacific Loon, Red-necked Phalarope and Rusty
  • Where the highway passes close to Turnagain Arm
    inlet we will keep a close look out for Beluga Whales.
  • We will also make several other stops along the
    Sterling Highway where there are lakes.  We should
    find Trumpeter Swan and Common Loon there.  
  • Stops at some of the recent burn areas should
    produce looks at five species of woodpecker.  Olive-
    sided Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher and Western
    Wood-Pewee should also be present.

In the afternoon we will drive slowly along the 4.5 mile
Homer Spit for a variety of shorebirds, sea ducks, terns,
gulls, murres and murrelets. Black Turnstone, Surfbird,
Wandering Tattler, Semipalmated Plover, Common Eider,
Harlequin Duck, Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot,
Marbled Murrelet, Glaucous-winged Gull and Black-legged
Kittiwake will be just some of the species that we hope to

Overnight Homer.

Day 3: Birding along Sterling Highway to Seward, then
selected spots around Seward.

We leave Homer for a leisurely drive with many birding
stops en route to Seward, a drive of just 170 miles.
  • Several stops at bog and marsh habitat will hold
    Bonaparte's Gull and Mew Gull, Whimbrel, Short-
    billed Dowitcher, Wilson’s Warbler and Orange-
    crowned Warbler, Savannah Sparrow and Lincoln’s
  • Aleutian Terns have recently begun to breed near
    the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge visitor’s center; so
    we will have a stop here.
  • Stops at spruce and fir forest habitat along the way
    will give us opportunities for Sharp-shinned Hawk,
    Merlin, Spruce Grouse, five species of thrush,
    Bohemian Waxwing, kinglets, Blackpoll Warbler and
    Yellow-rumped Warbler, Northern Waterthrush,
    juncos, and Pine Grosbeak.

On the outskirts of Seward we will visit several beaches and
scope the bay for diving ducks, mergansers, cormorants,
grebes, terns and more.

Overnight Seward.

Day 4:  Pelagic Trip at Kenai Fjords:  Birding and
Marine Mammals

An all-day specialized birding boat trip to the Kenai Fjords
National Park and Chiswell Islands has been scheduled for
our group.  We are in a reasonably-sized boat to assure
looks at the birds and mammals as they fly and swim by.  
The PIB bird guide, along with captain and crew, will help
everyone get good looks at these species.  We have
chosen a captain very well experienced in finding the birds
as well as other marine life.

Leaving the dock around 8 AM, we will have breakfast and
lunch on board the boat.  Most trips (some change due to
weather can occur) head out past Aialik Cape and into
Aialik Bay.  We will next head either into the foot of Holgate
Glacier or Aialik Glacier for Kittlitz’s Murrelet, and then we
proceed out to the cliff seabird colonies at Chiswell.  Expect
to see Double-crested, Pelagic, and Red-faced
Cormorants.  We should also find Horned Puffin and Tufted
Puffin, Black-legged Kittiwake, Common Murre, Thick-billed
Murre, Rhinoceros Auklet, Cassin’s Auklet and (with some
luck) Parakeet Auklet.

Sooty Shearwater, Short-tailed Shearwater, Northern
Fulmar, several jaeger species and Ancient Murrelets are
often seen flying by at some stage of this exciting trip.

The mammal possibilities include Steller Sea Lion, Harbor
Seal, Sea Otter, Orca, Hump-backed Whale and Minke
Whale, Dall’s Porpoise, Black Bear and Mountain Goat.

Returning to the dock around 5 pm, we will head back to
the hotel and off to supper.  If folks are feeling well and up
to it, we may offer a short trip in the vicinity of Seward after
dinner for those who want to make the most of the long
daylight hours.  We all need to get to bed close to 9 PM to
support our early start in the morning.

Overnight Seward.   

Day 5: Seward to Denali National Park

We will likely start early today, getting the trip towards
Anchorage under our belt early in the day.  We will likely
have breakfast in Anchorage.

After getting to the north of Anchorage after breakfast, we
will make more frequent birding stops along the highway.  
North of Anchorage we go through additional forested
areas where we hope to find any boreal species which we
may have missed previously.

Later in the day will be an opportunity for more birding as
we ramble down the road.
  • We will have our first chance for Northern Hawk
  • We should also find several tundra nesting species,
    such as American Golden-Plover and Whimbrel.

The rest of the day depends upon how good of time we
make.  As time permits, we may visit Denali State Park for
Boreal Chickadee, Fox Sparrow, Brown Creeper and
Greater Yellowlegs.  However, we may just want to keep
going so we have time to bird the entrance of Denali
National Park.

Overnight Lodging near Denali National Park.

Day 6:  Birding (and Wildlife Watching) Denali National

Denali National Park includes habitat from willow thickets,
river gravel bars, black and white spruce forest, timberline
and alpine tundra.  To explore the Park, we will take the
shuttle bus to the Eielson Visitor Center, getting off the bus
at selected points on the way for short excursions along

Some of the highlight species that we hope to see include
Gyrfalcon, Spruce Grouse, Willow Ptarmigan, Rock
Ptarmigan, Long-tailed Jaeger, Arctic Tern, Northern Hawk
Owl, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Northern
Wheatear and Arctic Warbler.  Mammals include Arctic Fox,
Black Bear, Grizzly Bear, Dall Sheep, Caribou, and
Mountain Goat.   

If the weather cooperates, we will be able to spot Mount
McKinley.  Even if clouds surround its peak, the scenery will
be spectacular.

Day 7: Bird Denali Highway to Paxson.

The drive to Paxson along the Denali Highway passes
through alpine tundra and boreal forest, and we will make
frequent stops.
  • There are a number of sites along the highway for
    Smith’s Longspur.  This species has become much
    scarcer in recent years and is not always seen.
  • Waterfowl such as Tundra Swan, Trumpeter Swan,
    Long-tailed Duck and Red-throated Loon frequent
    the lakes alongside the road.
  • Short-eared Owl, Northern Hawk Owl, Northern
    Shrike, Willow Ptarmigan and possibly White-tailed
    Ptarmigan can be added to our list during the
    exploration of this area.

Overnight Paxson.

Day 8: Return to Anchorage, Birding Along the Way;
then Evening Flights to Nome

After breakfast we will drive to Anchorage via the
Richardson and Glenn Highways.

All the boreal forest species occur along the Glenn
Highway so we will make a number of stops to catch up with
any species that we have missed previously such as Pine
Grosbeak, White-winged Crossbill and Bohemian
Waxwing.  With just a touch of luck, we should add a nice
new trip species -- Great Gray Owl -- and maybe some
additional surprises.

We will need to be in Anchorage by about 3:30 PM to catch
our flight to Nome around 5 PM.

Overnight Nome.

Day 9 to 11: Bird Nome Area over Three Days,
including the Teller, the Taylor and the Council

Nome is one of the best birding spots in Alaska and we
hope to find some of the scarcer Alaskan species such as
Arctic Loon, Bristle-thighed Curlew, Aleutian Tern,
Bluethroat and Eastern Yellow Wagtail during our visit.  Our
exact plan depends upon recent sightings, but we will bird
the three roads out of Nome over these three days.
  • The road west to Teller leads out to the Bering
    seacoast, and it has good habitat for Arctic Warbler,
    Hoary Redpoll, Rock Ptarmigan, Willow Ptarmigan,
    Pacific Golden-Plover, Gyrfalcon and Northern
    Wheatear.  In Teller itself, White Wagtails have bred
    for the past few years.
  • Likely on our second day, we'll take the Kougarok or
    Taylor road leading north to the interior where we will
    search for the scarce Bristle-thighed Curlew.  To
    look for this species requires a strenuous hike up to
    the Coffee Dome (although sometimes they fly over
    the road where the vehicle has been parked).  On
    the way in and out of this spot we have further
    opportunities for Gyrfalcon, Bluethroat, Arctic
    Warbler and Northern Wheatear.  Mammals likely to
    be seen on our visit include Caribou, Musk Ox and
    Grizzly Bear.
  • The road east to Council passes along Safety
    Sound, and is the best location to see Aleutian Tern
    and Arctic Loon together with a variety of waterfowl,
    gulls and shorebirds (such as Bar-tailed Godwit).

Day 11:  Final Full Day Birding in Nome and Flights
Out in PM

I suspect we will all agree for an early start for our final day
birding the Nome area.  We will surely work along one of
the three roads we have not yet birded, but may change
our plans based upon what we may have missed.  After a
final day birding around Nome, we will leave our hotel to
catch the afternoon flight back to Anchorage, arriving
around 4:30 PM.  Participants should plan on flights home
after 7 PM.

Departure Choices:
  • On the evening of Day 11, after returning from Nome
    at about 4:30 PM, some on the trip may fly from
    Anchorage on overnight flights home.
  • Some on the trip may continue birding in Alaska
    across to the Pribiloff Islands.  Extension arranged
  • Others may fly out the next day (with additional
    lodging cost in Anchorage).
For more information or to register for this trip, call Charles at 888-203-7464 or
Charles directly at 720-320-1974 or by email at
Detailed Itinerary
Birding in Grand Alaska
Birding in Alaska
Detailed Itinerary
Long-tailed Jaeger by Brandon Percival
Arctic Tern by Brandon Percival.  Header
photo also by B. Percival.
Black Oystercatcher by Bill Schmoker
Arctic Warbler by B. Percival.
Willow Ptarmigan by B. Percival.
Northern Hawk Owl by B. Percival
King Eider by B. Percival.
Spectled Eider by Brandon Percival.
Varied Thrush by B. Percival.
Hoary Redpoll by B. Percival.
Northern Hawk Owl by B. Percival
King Eider by B. Percival.
Spectacled Eider by Brandon Percival.
Varied Thrush by B. Percival.
Hoary Redpoll by B. Percival.
Northern Hawk Owl by B. Percival
King Eider by B. Percival.
Varied Thrush by B. Percival.
Hoary Redpoll by B. Percival.
Northern Hawk Owl by B. Percival
King Eider by B. Percival.
Varied Thrush by B. Percival.
Hoary Redpoll by B. Percival.
Long-tailed Jaeger by Brandon Percival
Black Oystercatcher by Bill Schmoker
Arctic Warbler by B. Percival.
Willow Ptarmigan by B. Percival.