Nome lies on the Seward Peninsula and juts into the Bering Sea. It’s a frontier town in a world where few such curiosities remain. Bordered on the west and south by the Bering Sea, the north and east by miles of trackless wilderness. Nome is a fascinating and challenging destination, accessible only by boat and aeroplane. During June, the midnight sun is at its brightest, the tundra is in full bloom, and the birds and mammals are breeding and therefore very active. Our tour will cover the prime birding areas along the coast, the tundra and the only boreal forest on the Seward Peninsula. Most of the birds are in their resplendent breeding plumage, rarely if ever seen in the ‘lower 48’. We’ll also make an extra effort to locate some of the Asian species that regularly occur around Nome. The road system here provides the very best access to the Alaska wilderness without an aeroplane. This is typically the best trip for Asian vagrants, and we expect to see around 90+ bird species, including Black-throated (Arctic) and Yellow-billed Loons, Bristle-thighed Curlew, Sabine’s Gull, Gyrfalcon, Bluethroat, Eastern Yellow and White Wagtails. Mammal possibilities include the huge Grizzly (Brown) Bear, Moose, Caribou (some years), and Muskox. Sometimes, with great luck, a Beluga or Wolverine is spotted! Our lodging overlooks the Bering Sea, and being only a few years old offers the most comfortable accommodations in the area.
Our trip to magnificent Denali National Park and the wilderness surrounding it is as much about large mammals, and a big (!) mountain, as it is about birds. With the blessing of the weather gods, the scenery can be beyond marvellous, and we expect to see such stellar species as Trumpeter Swan, Willow Ptarmigan, Gyrfalcon, Long-tailed Jaeger, and perhaps even Northern Hawk-Owl and Smith's Longspur. And typically we also see a number of Grizzly Bears (often sows with cubs) as well as Caribou scattered about, some Dall Sheep, Moose and, if we are lucky, perhaps even Wolf. We’ll also travel the gravel Denali Highway that parallels the stunning Alaska Range for 135 miles in our quest to see as many of the region’s special birds as possible.
This tour is operated by High Lonesome BirdTours in partnership with Rockjumper Birding Tours.
These are large group tours (up to 16 guests with multiple leaders), and will have guests from both Highlonesome and Rockjumper.
For any queries not related to a tour booking, please fee free to contact High Lonesome BirdTours directly Stephan Lorenz (Tour Director)
Due to a landslide in 2020 - the denali Highway is closed at mile 43, hence it will not be possible to reach the Eiselson Visitor Center. Whilst our game viewing should not be impacted, the dramatic views of the bulk of the Denali massif will only be possible from much further away than usual.
Emperor Goose; Black-throated (Arctic) Pacific, Red-throated & Yellow-billed Loons; Bristle-thighed Curlew; Bar-tailed Godwit; Wandering Tattler, American Golden & Pacific Golden Plover; Black Bellied Plover; Red-necked Stint; Sabine’s Gull; Aleutian & Arctic Tern; Gyrfalcon; Bluethroat; Eastern Yellow & White Wagtail; Arctic Warbler; Trumpeter Swan; Willow & Rock Ptarmigan;, Long-tailed & Parasitic Jaeger; Northern Hawk-Owl; Great Grey Owl; Smith’s Longspur, Golden Eagle, Rough-legged Hawk; Boreal Chickadee; American Three-toed & Black-backed Woodpecker; White-winged Crossbill; Bohemian Waxwing and many others. Top Mammals
Brown (Grizzly) Bear; Black Bear; Moose; Caribou; Lynx; Hoary Marmot; Short-tailed Weasel; Beaver; Gray Wolf; Red Fox; Dall Sheep. Habitats Covered
barren tundra & high tundra, stunted temperate growth forests, boreal forest, rocky shorelines, taiga forest, mountain ranges, lakes. Expected Climate
wide range of temperatures from 30’s to 70’s F Max Group Size
14 with 2 Tour Leaders Tour Pace & Walking
easy ; mostly easy; one optional, moderate to difficult hike for Bristle-thighed Curlew. Accommodation
Three to four star; very comfortable
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.
Forrest Rowland was a wonderful guide. He is extremely knowledgeable about birds and always takes the time to consider the wants, needs and priorities of the group. He works with his group to form a common goal. He was extremely professional and he had a remarkably positive attitude. His enthusiasm was infectious and admirable, as was his perseverance in finding us any species that we wanted and which was possible to see. Forrest is personable, humorous, and extremely generous and kind-hearted. I am so grateful to have met him.
Stephen Lorenz and Dave Krueper were terrific guides. Complemented each other beautifully. Thanks so much for an incredible experience.
Stephan as lead guide was one of the best guides I have ever had the privilege of working with. Wonderful at finding birds, making sure participants saw them, managing the challenging logistics, and a truly excellent group leader. Dave was an excellent partner guide. I will definitely seek them out to travel with again. Thanks to both of them.
Stephan Lorenz was great. He knew every bird and plant and was helpful to me in getting the photos that I wanted.