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ALASKA

Saturday 28th May - Thursday 16th June 2016

Craig Robson

Spectacled Eiders (Craig Robson)

Spectacled Eiders (Craig Robson)

Alaska never ceases to delight and amaze us, and our latest adventure there, knick-named the ‘close en-counters tour’, was no exception. The highlights among the 193 bird species that we enjoyed in 2016 were too numerous to mention, but included: Spruce Grouse, Emperor Goose, over 100 Spectacled Eiders, Steller’s and King Eiders, Gyrfalcon, Hudsonian Godwit, Black Turnstone, Surfbird, Rock Sandpiper, Bristle-thighed Curlew, a flock of 300 Sabine’s Gulls, Red-legged Kittiwake, Aleutian Tern, Marbled, Kittlitz’s, and Ancient Murrelets, Parakeet, Least, Crested and Rhinoceros Auklets, Horned and Tufted Puffins, Snowy Owl, Northern Hawk-Owl, American Three-toed and Black-backed Woodpeckers side-by-side, two distinct forms of Pacific Wren, Varied Thrush, Sooty Fox Sparrow, and the impeccable Smith’s Longspur. Eurasian rarities were limited by opposing winds this year, but we still found Bar-tailed Godwit, Red-necked Stint, and Vega Gull, as well as Arctic Warbler, Bluethroat, and Eastern Yellow (or Alaskan) and White (or East Si-berian) Wagtails. We also found no fewer than 30 species of mammal, the cream of the crop being the three incredible Polar Bears that we were lucky enough to observe on multiple occasions at Barrow - a tour write-in at the eighth attempt!! But let’s not forget Brown (or Grizzly) Bear (over 15 seen), Sea Otter, Humpback and Killer Whales, Moose, Caribou (or Reindeer) and the hulking great Musk Ox. We were blessed with good weather everywhere, and generally smooth-running if not fortuitous logistics.

Aleutian Tern (Craig Robson)

Aleutian Tern (Craig Robson)