I am sitting here in Anchorage waiting for my flight home. After 22 days countless flights, many birds (150 species) and 26 ABA life birds this trip was a great success. I have made new friends and shared some great days with an old friend.
My companions on this trip: Chris is a friend from Georgia and we’ve birded together in many parts of North America and he has an impressive total of 740 ABA birds. Mike is new friend from Anchorage and also has an impressive total of 717 ABA birds.
We were hung up in Nome for a day and a half due to fog, always a problem when travelling to this part of the world.
We spent 9 days on Gambell and the first few days were very productive due to the heavy southwest winds. A Siberian Rubythroat and Olive-backed Pipit dropped in for a visit. The alcids on the rocks were all new to me, we found Least, Parakeet and Crested Auklets, both Horned and Tufted Puffins, both Guillemots and even a few Dovekie. We also had great upclose views of Red and Red-necked Phalaropes and countless shorebirds including a few Common Ringed Plovers. A Yellow-billed Loon and Ancient Murrelet also made an appearance one day.
Sadly for me, except for a few Common Eiders, a lone King Eider none of the Stellers or Spectacled Eiders were found.
I had a good time bombing around the area we were permitted to travel in, via ATV. I may not be in such a hurry to sell mine now.
The people of the island were very friendly but sadly the areas we could travel to were limited. I would have loved to see more of the island but the extra money for the travel permit and guide were just not in the budget for this trip.
Food is expensive (everything is flown in) be prepared, bring cash or credit. Travellers cheques are cashable at the post office but a few days they didn’t have any cash on hand. ATV’s are 80$ a day, pea stones and distances make it hard to walk anywhere and accomodations are 120$
The last 4 days the winds shifted from the north east and south east, the rarer birds just weren’t coming in at all.
I was ready to move on to Nome and was the first person on the plane.
We stayed at the Aurora Inn and prices are 160$ and over. Car rentals are 110$. In both cases cars and accomodations you need to book well in advance. My suggestion would be at least 6 months in advance. There is also the Nugget Inn a little less at 110$ and they have no cars for rent. Food is a bit more reasonable and there are a few more places to eat but a small pizza is 26$ so again be prepared.
There are 3 roads to bird on, the Kougarok, Teller and Council Road. Each is roughly 75 miles and can be birded in a day. We had many species Bluethroats, Bristle-thighed Curlews, Rock Ptarmigans, Willow Ptarmigan, Grey-cheeked Thrush were everywhere, Bar-tailed Godwits, Pacific, Red-throated Loons were common and everywhere. We even managed an Arctic Loon. Along the shorelines and bridges Artic Terns and an occasional Aleutian Terns could be found. Many species of shorebirds were also found including an Red-necked Stint. Common, King Eiders and even one Stellers Eider.
Over the next few weeks I will post details of the areas and birds that we found. Keep checking.
Below I’ve posted some random images, Ciao for now.