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Birding Trips

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe

Half-Day – Fairbanks Area 

The best time to go birding is early in the morning. In the summer in Alaska’s interior that means very early indeed. I will pick you up from your hotel around 5am or earlier, and we’ll set out find birds. Depending on our target species, we will hit a variety of hot spots within a short distance of town. These will certainly include wetlands and lakes, boreal forest, and some sub-alpine areas. We will stay out for approximately 4 hours, returning to your hotel before 10am.

Though we will be driving from site to site, there will be some walking over uneven and/or wet ground required to access some areas. Spotting scope, coffee, tea, water, and fruit provided.

Peak Seasons: 15 May- 30 June, 15 August – 7 September.

Cost: 1 person – $225, 2 people – $275, 3-4 people – $350, 5-6 people – $425

 

Full Day – Fairbanks and White Mountains

Like the half-day trips, full-day outings begin early (5am or earlier). After picking you up at your hotel, we will spend 8 or more hours searching out the local avifauna. With the greater time at our disposal, we have the opportunity to explore further afield.

A male American Golden Plover stands on the tundra of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, AK, USA.

American Golden Plover (male)

Frequently this leads us north from Fairbanks a couple of hours to the alpine habitat of the White Mountains. There, we will look for species like Northern Wheatear, American Golden Plover, Gyrfalcon, Willow and Rock Ptarmigan, Horned Lark, and Lapland Longspur. To and from, we will stop at a variety of ponds, forested areas, and wetlands to look for boreal and aquatic species.

To find the most species we can, this outing requires hikes over an hour, covering 2-3 miles over uneven, rocky, or soggy terrain. Spotting Scope, hot drinks, water, lunch, and snacks provided.

Peak Season: 15 May – 15 July, 15 August – 5 September.

Cost: 1 person – $325, 2 people – $475, 3-4 people – $550, 5-6 people – $650

 

Multi-day Trips 

Alaska is big state. If you want to see more than a small part of it, you’ll need some time. I can arrange multi-day trips that can carry you from the arctic to the Kenai Peninsula and many places in between. Here are some sample trips:

Denali Highway Roadtrip (3 full days, 6 participants max) – Start and end in Fairbanks

With an early morning departure from Fairbanks, we will drive south down the Richardson Highway. It’s about a four hour drive to the eastern end of the Denali Highway at the community of Paxson, but along the way we’ll stop to check out some great birding spots. As we drive south we’ll enter the Alaska Range and cross from the Yukon drainage into the Copper River basin. Once we hit the Denali Highway, we’ll wind our way up the road while keeping our eyes open for birds. There will be numerous stops, and we will make special effort to find the small nesting population of Smith’s Longspurs. Arctic Warblers are abundant on this end of the highway and we will likely encounter many. The first night we will camp near Tangle Lakes in the shadow of the Amphitheater Mountains. The following day, we will spend the morning birding around Tangle Lakes before leaving the pavement and heading west down the road. We will move slowly, stopping often for walks on tundra ridges, and to glass the dozens of lakes and ponds. At Maclaren Summit we will park and walk up onto a rocky alpine ridge where may encounter Horned Larks, Northern Wheatears, nesting Surfbirds, or ptarmigan. We will have lunch at the Maclaren Lodge, where we can bird the riverside and watch the resident colony of Cliff Swallows. Another 30 or so miles of driving and birding and we’ll settle into the night’s camp. The final day we will drive the western end of the Denali Highway, where, if it’s clear, we will catch a glimpse of the great mountain. The habitat grows more forested and we’ll be looking for species like Olive-sided Flycatcher, Bohemian Waxwing, Boreal Chickadee, and Three-toed Woodpecker. In the village of Cantwell, we will stop for gas before turning our wheels north and heading back to Fairbanks. If all goes as planned, you’ll make it back to your hotel in time for dinner.

Denali Highway view

Denali Highway view (autumn)

Included: Transportation from Fairbanks, all meals while in the field, some camping equipment supplied. Rental Gear available.

Peak Season: 20 May – 15 July

Cost: Varies by number of participants. For example, a trip with 3 participants = $1500 per person (The per-person rate increases with less than 3 participants and decreases with more. Contact for a precise quote for your party).

Note: Though designed as a car-camping trip for maximum flexibility, there is the option to stay in rustic lodges along the Denali Highway. Please let me know if you’d prefer this option (additional costs apply).

 

Dalton Highway Expedition (4 full days, 6 participants max) – Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay, Details Coming Soon

Peak Season: 1 June – 15 July, 15 – 31 August

Cost: Varies by number of participants. For example, a trip with 3 participants = $1900 per person (The per-person rate increases with less than 3 participants and decreases with more. Contact for a quote).

 

Alaska North to South (7 full days, 6 participants max) – Prudhoe Bay to Seward- 4 nights hotels, 3 nights camping. Details Coming Soon

Peak Season: 1 June – 30 July

Cost: Cost: Varies by number of participants. For example, a trip with 3 participants = $3950 per person (The per-person rate increases with less than 3 participants and decreases with more. Contact for a quote).