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ALASKA

Tuesday 29th May - Sunday 17th June 2018

Craig Robson

Smith's Longspur was once again seen very well (Craig Robson)

Smith's Longspur was once again seen very well (Craig Robson)

Another amazing adventure to The Last Frontier, saw us almost reach the magic 200 species, falling just one short. For the first time, we saw all three species of ptarmigan, and mammal write-ins included Walrus, Be-luga and Fin Whale. So many good birds this year, but a special mention should go to Spruce Grouse, Spec-tacled, Steller’s and King Eiders, Gyrfalcon, Hudsonian Godwit, Black Turnstone, Surfbird, Rock Sandpiper, Bristle-thighed Curlew, Red-legged Kittiwake, Aleutian Tern, Marbled, Kittlitz’s, and Ancient Murrelets, Para-keet, Least, Crested and Rhinoceros Auklets, Tufted Puffin, Snowy Owl, Northern Hawk-Owl, American Three-toed and Black-backed Woodpeckers, Varied Thrush, and Smith’s Longspur. Eurasian rarities were full-on this time, particularly on St Paul. We found our own Eurasian Hobby, Little Stint and Common Sand-piper, and also enjoyed Tufted Duck, White-tailed Eagle, Common Greenshank, Common Cuckoo, Siberian Rubythroat, Eyebrowed Thrush, and Olive-backed Pipit.

We also logged no fewer than 33 species of mammal, the cream of the crop being an enormous male Wal-rus, and a totally unexpected Beluga. But let’s not forget Brown Bear, Sea and North American Otters, Humpback, Fin and Killer Whales, Eurasian Elk (Moose), Reindeer (Caribou) and the hulking great Muskox. We were blessed with good weather again and, apart from a couple of hiccups that we soon overcame, we enjoyed generally smooth-running logistics.

RTed-legged Kittiwake... Always a favourite (Craig Robson)

RTed-legged Kittiwake... Always a favourite (Craig Robson)