We have a full day to explore the numerous birding opportunities in and around Anchorage. During October, we can search for a variety of resident boreal forest species and migrating waterfowl. Visiting valleys and boreal forests in the nearby Chugach Mountains, we will look for Spruce Grouse, Willow and Rock Ptarmigans (difficult), Northern Goshawk, American Three-toed and Black-backed Woodpeckers, Boreal Chickadee, and Canada Jay. Depending on the season and weather conditions, Bohemian Waxwings and White-winged Crossbills may also be present alongside Common Redpolls. Lakes and wetlands in the Anchorage area hold good numbers of waterfowl, including Common and Barrow’s Goldeneyes, Greater Scaup, various dabbling ducks, Trumpeter and occasionally Tundra Swans. A few sparrows like Fox and American Tree Sparrows also occasionally linger into October. The wilderness begins right on the edge of the city and we could see moose and may even glimpse a bear or lynx with exceptional luck.

During our time in Utqiaġvik, we will divide our days between extensive sea watching and exploration of the tundra surrounding this northernmost city. Utqiaġvik sits right on the edge of the Arctic Ocean with Point Barrow itself jutting out into the confluence of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. During October, great numbers of eider and smaller numbers of loons are migrating in addition to our main target here, the elegant Ross’s Gull. We will spend several hours each day scanning the open ocean from various productive points along the shoreline and can expect to see large numbers of Common and King Eiders with chances for the rare Spectacled and Steller’s Eiders. The open water can also hold Yellow-billed, Pacific, Common, and Red-throated Loons and a few lingering acids, like Thick-billed Murre and Black Guillemot. In addition to Ross’s Gulls, hundreds of Glaucous Gulls are present with smaller numbers of Herring and Iceland while even Ivory Gulls have passed by on rare occasions.

The flat tundra surrounding Utqiaġvik can be easily accessed by a good road system and here we can search for the beautiful Snowy Owls usually several birds hunt on the snow-covered expanses, offering great photo opportunities. Gyrfalcon is also a rare visitor here. In the town itself, we can check various feeders for Hoary Redpolls and Snow Buntings. In addition to these rare high arctic birds, we can expect a good variety of northern mammals like Arctic Fox, Bearded and Spotted Seals, and with great luck Polar Bear. There will be plenty of opportunities to become immersed in the unique Iñupiat culture.

Each day begins with a late breakfast between 8:00 and 9:00 am. We then head off to our preferred birding site for the remainder of the morning, taking a break for lunch and warming up indoors. For the remainder of the afternoon, we will return to do further seawatching and exploration interspersed with breaks to warm up in the vehicles or indoors. We will have an early dinner at a local restaurant nearby. Overall, we will spend the majority of daylight hours in the field.

This tour has only short drives on maintained roads and some time will be spent birding from vehicles.

Anchorage has several excellent cultural museums, fantastic seafood restaurants, and excursions.

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)

Tour Facts Top Birds
Utqiaġvik: Spectacled, King & Common Eiders; Yellow-billed Loon; Snowy Owl; Ross's & Ivory (very rare) Gulls; Anchorage Area: White-winged Crossbills; Pine Grosbeak; Common Redpoll; Bohemian Waxwing; Black-backed & American Three-toed Woodpeckers; Spruce Grouse.
Top Mammals
Polar Bear (rare), Arctic Fox, Moose.
Habitats Covered
Utqiaġvik: arctic tundra, coast and wetlands; Anchorage: boreal forest and marshes
Expected Climate
cold to freezing temperatures (-10 to 5 degrees celsius), but little precipitation
Max Group Size
7 with 1 HL Tour Leader
Tour Pace & Walking
easy, late mornings (the sun doesn’t rise until 9:00 am) and early evenings, minimal walking with mainly seawatching from vehicles or standing outside, some longer periods of standing, the terrain around Anchorage is also very easy.
basic but comfortable with private baths
Ease of Birding
Number of Species Expected
Other Attractions
unique Iñupiaq culture of Utqiaġvik and wonderful arctic landscapes
Photographic Opportunities
Tour Route Map Client Testimonials

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.

Gambell was great, an adventure I’ll not soon forget.

The tour was very well organised and run. The guides, Stephan Lorenz and Dave Krueper, were excellent. They went out of their way to ensure that all the group members had a chance to see and identify the birds, especially concentrating on those they knew were life birds. Having two guides for 10 tour members was great and being in two vans for travel ensured that we all had sufficient space and window area to spread out and see everything. Even the weather was pretty good. Great tour!

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 is an outstanding guide. His knowledge of birds - including their identification, behaviours and biology - is exceptional. He and his partner Claudia provided excellent service to the clients. They made sure all our interests and needs were attended to, and they actively engaged in making the trip both educational and fun.

Dates, Leaders and Pricing
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