For enquiries & bookings, please following this link: Birding Direct - United States
This tour is operated by High Lonesome BirdTours in partnership with BirdingDirect.
These are large group tours (up to 16 guests with multiple tour leaders), and will have guests from both Highlonesome as well as BirdingDirect.
Adak Island is a remote outpost in the central Aleutian Islands, but readily accessible from Anchorage which lies nearly 1,200 miles northeast of Adak. This relatively large Aleutian island, roughly 274 square miles in size, has been accessible to birders since the early 2000s after the closure of a sizeable naval base. Taking advantage of the extensive remaining infrastructure, which includes miles of good roads and comfortable accommodations, we can now explore this rugged and wild island easily. The island sits amidst the productive confluence of the Bering Sea to the north and the Pacific to the south and this rich pelagic environment supports millions of seabirds most notably the range-restricted Whiskered Auklet which we will seek via a short pelagic boat trip. Other marine birds easily seen on Adak include Ancient, Marbled and Kittlitz’s Murrelets, Laysan Albatross, Short-tailed Shearwater, and a smattering of other alcids. During the spring, Adak Island is also a fantastic place to find migrating Arctic and Yellow-billed Loons, Gyrfalcon, Aleutian Tern, and Common Eiders. The island also hosts an endemic subspecies of Rock Ptarmigan, Rock Sandpiper, Black Oystercatcher, Pacific Wren, Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, Snow Bunting, and Lapland Longspur. Due to its far-flung westerly location (roughly 445 miles east of Attu Island), Adak Island receives a healthy dose of Eurasian migrants and vagrants with early spring being an ideal time to find scarce shorebirds and waterfowl. In recent years, we have seen a variety of rare visitors to the ABA area during our tours, including Whooper Swan, Taiga and Tundra Bean-Geese, Smew, Tufted Duck, Eurasian Wigeon, Eastern Spot-billed Duck, Long-billed Murrelet, Lesser Sand-Plover, Ruff, Terek Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Temminck’s Stint, Common Snipe (likely breeds), Eyebrowed Thrush, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Hawfinch, Rustic Bunting, Brambling and many other Asiatic vagrants are possible. Of course, the number and variety of rare and vagrant species are highly weather dependent, and even a handful of these species would be an exceptional trip, but the potential and unpredictability make for adventurous and exciting daily outings.
Single Rooming is highly improbable on this tour.
Taiga & Tundra Bean Geese (rare); Smew (nearly annual); Laysan Albatross; Northern Fulmar; Short-tailed Shearwater; Whiskered Auklet; Kittlitz’s, Ancient & Marbled Murrelets; Pigeon Guillemot; Rock Sandpiper; Gyrfalcon; Arctic, Pacific & Yellow-billed Loons; Red-faced & Pelagic Cormorants; Black Oystercatcher; Aleutian Tern; Parasitic Jaeger; Rock Ptarmigan; Gray-crowned Rosy-finch; Hawfinch (nearly annual); Brambling; many other possible Asian vagrants
Sea Otters, Harbour Seals, Steller’s Sea Lions
maritime tundra, lakes, wetlands, coastline, pelagic
cool, sometimes wet and windy, temps 35 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit
12 with 2 HL Tour Leaders
easy to moderate; some hiking through marshes every day
comfortable and fully equipped townhouses
remote volcanic landscapes of the Aleutian Islands, history
excellent photographic opportunities
Stephan was an outstanding guide, as usual, and Claudia was a great spotter and helper. The lodging in Barrow was better than expected, as was the food there.
The weather adversely affected the Gambell visit such that hoped for vagrants were minimal during our stay. The Siberian Express mostly failed to stop there. That was beyond anyone’s control and, thanks to the efforts of the guides, the birding experience was still very good. Stephan Lorenz did an exceptional job. Between Covid and the weather his job seemed unusually difficult but he handled things extremely well. I would definitely go on another tour with Mr. Lorenz as guide.
This was a great trip – way better than could even be expected. Yes, we saw Ross’s Gulls streaking across the distant horizon, but we also saw a polar bear mom and two cubs and our time in Barrow coincided with the Inupiat whale harvest. While the death of whales is always a bit sad, the opportunity to see subsistence hunters is rare these days. Stephan Lorenz has proved to be one of my favorite guides – his combination of ‘bionic eyes’ (Claudia’s report), great hearing, real understanding of bird behavior and incredible patience means he is my go-to guide for difficult species that I’ve missed on other tours (or not tried to see before because it seemed too difficult). With Stephan, I have ‘ticked’ Bachman’s Sparrow, Swainson’s Warbler, Buff-collared Nightjar, Short-tailed Albatross, Whiskered Auklet, Spectacled Eider, Emperor Goose, Bar-tailed Godwit (in Alaska), among many other much-sought after species. But Stephan and Claudia also keep every trip enjoyable. Claudia is a great birder in her own right and can set up a scope on the target bird as fast as Stephan. It is great to have two scopes set up immediately. What could be very discouraging to an older birder with poor eyesight and poor hearing like me turns out to be a delightful trip. Imagine spending hours and hours in a freezing wind staring out to an empty sea and still calling it fun. I am looking forward to traveling with Stephan and Claudia again as soon as possible.
Gambell was great, an adventure I’ll not soon forget.
Stephen Lorenz and Dave Krueper were terrific guides. Complemented each other beautifully. Thanks so much for an incredible experience.
14 May 2024 - 18 May 2024 (5 days)
USD4,500 - Spaces Available
13 May 2025 - 17 May 2025 (5 days)
USD0 - No Spaces Available
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