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ALASKA

Thursday 31st May - Tuesday 19th June 2012

Pete Morris

Spectacled Eider (Pete Morris)

Spectacled Eider (Pete Morris)

With a grand total of 199 species of birds, and 30 species of mammals, our tour to Alaska, was once again a great success. We were largely blessed with good weather (though the Pribilofs and Barrow were pretty chilly!) and as a result, we were able to complete the tour circuit without a hitch. All flights and boats were on time, and as would be expected, traffic was never an issue! Avian highlights were many and the following is just a taster: great views of all five species of diver (loon) in breeding plumage; stupendous views of all four species of eider; several stunning Emperor Geese; thirteen species of alcids (including fabulous Crested Auklets and Tufted Puffins); a fantastic array of breeding waders including delightful Red and Red-necked Phalaropes and the rare Bristle-thighed Curlew; numerous dainty Sabine’s Gulls, Red-legged Kittiwakes, Aleutian Terns and graceful Long-tailed Jaegers; several stunning Snowy Owls (it was a reasonably good lemming year!), and two brilliant Northern Hawk Owls; a fine selection of spruce forest species including gorgeous Varied Thrushes, Pine Grosbeaks and American Three-toed Woodpeckers; and, last but not least, a fine male Smith’s Longspurs. Grizzly and American Black Bears, Canadian Lynx, Musk Ox and Killer Whales were the pick of the mammals, though Northern River Otter and cute Collared Picas ran them close. The scenery was awesome and the near 24 hour daylight, at times, challenging! Watching the Arctic Ocean pack-ice in the early morning sun at Barrow was an experience not to be missed!

Tufted Puffin (Pete Morris)

Tufted Puffin (Pete Morris)