Back in April when I was asked if I wanted to co-lead an Alaska tour with Dave, it took me about 3 milliseconds to decide yes! And before I knew it, I was off to Nome, land of Bluethroats, Muskox and Aleutian Terns, with an enthusiastic group of birders. After touchdown, we dropped off our bags donned our raincoats and blasted out on the Council Road to a Gyrfalcon nest we had learned about from Jesse and Chris. Lo and behold, the bird was there, crouched over its nest—the largest falcon in the world. What a way to start the trip!
The next day, we took the Kougarok Road some 75 miles into the Muskox-dotted wilderness in search of Bristle-thighed Curlew, an elegant shorebird that breeds along a narrow band of hilly tundra in Western Alaska. Bristle-thighs show close resemblance to Whimbrels but display a rich rufous rump and tail, clean white underparts and crisp buffy reticulations on the dorsum. What’s most impressive about these birds is their herculean migration. After the fleeting arctic breeding season, they take off across the Pacific, bound for Hawaii, a nonstop flight of 4,000 miles! From there, they continue to the islands in the South Pacific where they spend the winter months.
On our way to Coffee Dome, the site of the curlew, we made several stops to see Bluethroats, the recently arrived Arctic Warblers, Harlequin Ducks, Wandering Tattler, and our first of many Willow Ptarmigans. After a calorie-rich salmon picnic, we ascended the spongy tundra. Numerous Whimbrels displayed on the horizon—the most Dave had ever seen. We had a couple silhouette curlews, but nothing satisfying. Unfortunately, it was time to head back to the vans. Just as we began our trek back, Dave heard the song of a Curlew and he whistled it in. We watched as the bird went from a speck on the horizon to a full-blown Bristle-thighed Curlew perched right in front of us! What a save!
Our next couple days in Nome were spent birding Safety Sound and the magnificent Teller Road. At Safety Sound we encountered large flocks of Aleutian Terns and Sabine’s Gulls, chased by a Gyrfalcon, an Emperor Goose and a Short-tailed Shearwater that Dave spotted in a flock of gulls. Along Teller Road we had nice looks at Pacific Golden Plovers, more Bluethroats, American Dippers and Rock Ptarmigan on a scree slope.
Then from Nome it was back to Anchorage, where we rented two vans and drove along the Turnagain Arm of the Cook Inlet, then south to Seward for our boat trip to Aialik Glacier. We couldn’t have asked for better weather for our boat trip—we had clear skies and low wind all day. It wasn’t long after we left the port in Seward that we saw our first Marbled Murrelets, like little doves on the glassy water, and a couple Humpback Whales. As we rounded the bend towards Aialik Bay, we saw a small pod of Orcas, our first of many Horned and Tufted Puffins and a small pod of Dall’s Porpoises riding the waves ahead of our boat. As we approached the glacier, we stopped for a small flock of Rhinoceros Auklets and a pair of Kittlitz’s Murrelets backdropped by the glacier itself! These scarce alcids spend the summer months nearshore where they breed on rocky slopes, and in the winter they head to deeper waters. We watched them take off and saw the white outer tail feathers—a good feature to distinguish them from Marbled Murrelets. After lunch in front of the magnificent Aialik Glacier, we bee-lined it to the Chiswell Islands where we saw hundreds of nesting Common Murres, Black-legged Kittiwakes and both species of Puffin. Dave spotted a Thick-billed Murre in a line-up of Commons on one of the cliffs. It had a larger bill with a white malar mark.
Then it was back to Anchorage for our flight to Utqiagvik (aka Barrow). On our drive back, we explored numerous side roads around Seward and saw Pacific Wren, Varied Thrushes and a couple Townsend’s Warblers. Before our flight to Barrow, we spent the morning at Westchester Lagoon where we were dazzled by a flock of Hudsonian Godwits with their carrot-orange bills.
Upon arrival in Barrow, we were met with a bone-chilling arctic wind and dozens of Snow Buntings specked across the tundra. We drove out on Cake Eater Road where we saw our first Steller’s and distant Spectacled Eiders in a flooded field. They were hard to make out, but they were nonetheless Spectacled and Steller’s Eiders! The next day we improved our view substantially on the Nunavak Road. We drove out to the viewpoint overlooking the frozen Chukchi Sea and on our way back we had a very up close and personal experience with a pair of Spectacled Eider (see video!) and later a pair of Steller’s. We also saw several Snowy Owls, a Pomarine Jaeger digging in the tundra, probably after a small mammal, and numerous flashy Red Phalaropes spinning around in the shallow puddles.
Certainly one of my favorite moments of the tour was our final evening in Barrow. After dinner we drove out to the hunt camp where we scanned the confluence of the Chukchi Sea and the Beaufort Sea. Along the horizon we saw a thin string of sea ducks headed our way. As they approached we could see they were King Eiders: males, females and immatures. They whirled around us in gorgeous light before thinning out on the arctic horizon. What a way to conclude a fabulous time in Alaska!
Flying out of Barrow it was mind blowing to look out and see that tiny town in the vast expanse of frozen lakes and think of the thousands of eiders, phalaropes, and jaegers breeding along their margins. Dave and I would like to thank you all for joining us on this incredible adventure—we hope to see you in the field again someday.
KEYS FOR THIS LIST
One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant
EMPEROR GOOSE (Anser canagicus)
SNOW GOOSE (Anser caerulescens)
Several flocks streamed by at Barrow.
GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE (Anser albifrons)
Seen frequently out on the Barrow tundra.
BRANT (BLACK) (Branta bernicla nigricans)
We scoped these along the Council Road outside of Nome and numerous sites around Barrow.
CACKLING GOOSE (Branta hutchinsii)
We saw these frequently around Nome.
CANADA GOOSE (Branta canadensis)
TRUMPETER SWAN (Cygnus buccinator)
We had our first views at Potter Marsh outside of Anchorage, then at numerous sites around Seward.
TUNDRA SWAN (WHISTLING) (Cygnus columbianus columbianus)
The common swan around Nome and Barrow.
NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata)
GADWALL (Mareca strepera)
A few were in the marsh at Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage.
AMERICAN WIGEON (Mareca americana)
MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos)
NORTHERN PINTAIL (Anas acuta)
Common in the ponds around Barrow.
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (AMERICAN) (Anas crecca carolinensis)
Seen around Nome and Anchorge.
CANVASBACK (Aythya valisineria)
We saw a male out at Safety Sound, Nome.
RING-NECKED DUCK (Aythya collaris)
A few were on a pond near Seward.
GREATER SCAUP (Aythya marila)
Frequent around Nome and Barrow.
LESSER SCAUP (Aythya affinis)
We picked out a few near Seward among the larger flat-headed Greater Scaups.
STELLER'S EIDER (Polysticta stelleri)
One of my most wanted birds in Alaska! We saw multiple pairs of these strange and stunning ducks of the far North.
SPECTACLED EIDER (Somateria fischeri)
Truly a spectacle! After having squinted through scopes at distant pairs on our first couple outings in Barrow, we watched a pair perusing a puddle just off the road. These hefty ducks spend the winter in the middle of the sea ice where flocks congregate in pools kept open by their own body heat.
KING EIDER (Somateria spectabilis)
We saw quite a few throughout our time in Barrow; most memorable were the 25 that whirred past us as we scanned the icy waters of the Beaufort Sea after dinner.
COMMON EIDER (PACIFIC) (Somateria mollissima v-nigrum)
These were common around Nome and seemingly absent from Barrow.
HARLEQUIN DUCK (Histrionicus histrionicus)
I was pleased to see so many of these dazzling ducks in the fast-flowing streams around Nome.
SURF SCOTER (Melanitta perspicillata)
A few seen our first afternoon of birding the Council Road at Nome.
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER (Melanitta deglandi)
We picked up a few flocks primarily along the Council Road at Nome.
BLACK SCOTER (Melanitta americana)
Safety Sound is where we scoped these out.
LONG-TAILED DUCK (Clangula hyemalis)
These were all over the place around Barrow.
COMMON GOLDENEYE (Bucephala clangula)
We scoped these at Summit Lake on our drive from Seward to Anchorage.
BARROW'S GOLDENEYE (Bucephala islandica)
It was cool to see these alongside Common Goldeneyes at Westchester Lagoon the morning before we flew to Anchorage.
COMMON MERGANSER (Mergus merganser)
RED-BREASTED MERGANSER (Mergus serrator)
Common in the creeks and rivers around Nome.
WILLOW PTARMIGAN (Lagopus lagopus)
The more common of the Ptarmigans around Nome. We had several nice encounters with these throughout our time there.
ROCK PTARMIGAN (Lagopus muta)
This one took some effort, but we finally spotted a few off the Teller Road, Nome, right before we had to fly back to Anchorage.
RED-NECKED GREBE (Podiceps grisegena)
These were glowing on the pond at Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage.
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD (Calypte anna)
Seen at one of the feeders near Seward.
RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus rufus)
I'm never going to get used to seeing hummingbirds next to cranes in the checklist. We had nice views of a couple of males the morning we birded around Seward.
SANDHILL CRANE (Antigone canadensis)
We saw a few flocks around Nome and Anchorage.
BLACK OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus bachmani)
Dave spotted one out on a rock on the Chiswells.
AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER (Pluvialis dominica)
Common around Barrow. We also had a few around Nome.
PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER (Pluvialis fulva)
It was cool to watch a pair out on the Teller Road, Nome. We even watched them copulate!
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus)
Small numbers were in the tundra around Nome and Barrow.
BRISTLE-THIGHED CURLEW (Numenius tahitiensis)
For many, the highlight of the trip! After hours of traipsing through the spongy tundra on Coffee Dome, Dave heard one and whistled it in. It did a couple circles over us, paused momentarily on the tundra, then took off over the ridge. What a save!
WHIMBREL (HUDSONIAN) (Numenius phaeopus hudsonicus)
Surprisingly common at Coffee Dome. It was the most Dave had seen in all his years of doing Alaska tours.
HUDSONIAN GODWIT (Limosa haemastica)
We had stunning views of these chestnut-colored godwits with carrot-orange bills on the island at Westchester Lagoon.
BLACK TURNSTONE (Arenaria melanocephala)
One seen our first afternoon of birding Safety Sound outside of Nome.
RED KNOT (Calidris canutus)
We scoped one at the Nome River mouth on our first afternoon of birding there.
DUNLIN (Calidris alpina)
We saw a few in peak breeding plumage around Barrow.
BAIRD'S SANDPIPER (Calidris bairdii)
Seen scuttling along the ponds at Barrow. These are larger than Semipalmated Sandpipers with large dark diamonds on their backs.
PECTORAL SANDPIPER (Calidris melanotos)
Common around Barrow. We saw these on just about every outing. I loved hearing their antpitta-like hooting.
SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER (Calidris pusilla)
The most common shorebird around Barrow. We saw them at just about every pond.
WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri)
Much less abundant than Semis. We saw just a few along the Nunavak Road outside of Barrow.
SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus griseus)
Some were seen at Westchester Lagoon.
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus scolopaceus)
Low numbers around Barrow. We saw some blast by at the hut camp on our final evening.
WILSON'S SNIPE (Gallinago delicata)
Quite common around Nome. We had several looks at them and heard them most everywhere we went.
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE (Phalaropus lobatus)
Common in the wetlands around Nome and Barrow.
RED PHALAROPE (Phalaropus fulicarius)
Barrow is the place to see these dapper shorebirds in their peak breeding regalia.
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)
WANDERING TATTLER (Tringa incana)
A lifer for many, including Micah! We saw one along a creek off the Kougarok Road.
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca)
A few were at Westchester Lagoon.
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)
Also seen at Westchester Lagoon.
POMARINE JAEGER (Stercorarius pomarinus)
We saw several of these majestic Jaegers in Barrow. We even watched one flinging moss, perhaps in pursuit of a vole or lemming.
PARASITIC JAEGER (Stercorarius parasiticus)
We saw both dark and light morphs around Nome and Barrow.
LONG-TAILED JAEGER (Stercorarius longicaudus)
Abundant around Nome--we saw several with their elegant streamer tails, gliding over the tundra.
COMMON MURRE (Uria aalge)
It was just awesome to see so many of them nesting on the cliffs at the Chiswells.
THICK-BILLED MURRE (Uria lomvia)
Dave picked one out in a line-up of Common Murres on a cliff at the Chiswell Islands. It was slightly larger, with a heavier bill and a pale line behind the bill.
BLACK GUILLEMOT (Cepphus grylle)
We saw a winter plumage bird at point Nome our first afternoon of birding there.
PIGEON GUILLEMOT (Cepphus columba)
We spotted a few early on on our boat trip out of Seward.
MARBLED MURRELET (Brachyramphus marmoratus)
Just a few seen on our Seward boat trip. These remarkable alcids will nest on moss-covered branches well away from the ocean.
KITTLITZ'S MURRELET (Brachyramphus brevirostris)
Sweet! These were lifers for almost everyone onboard. We saw a couple pairs with Aialik Glacier as the backdrop.
RHINOCEROS AUKLET (Cerorhinca monocerata)
We saw just one small group of these as we cruised towards Aialik Glacier.
HORNED PUFFIN (Fratercula corniculata)
We had numerous encounters with these iconic birds on our Seward boat trip. They were flying with eel grass in their bills, probably to line their nests.
TUFTED PUFFIN (Fratercula cirrhata)
The larger puffin with an all dark belly and wild yellow tufts on the head. They also seemed to be nest building out at the Chiswells.
BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE (Rissa tridactyla)
They covered the cliffs at the Chiswells. Although seemingly numerous, Dave said it was nothing compared to what it was like in the 80s.
SABINE'S GULL (Xema sabini)
We scoped a few of these striking gulls over the mud flats at Safety Sound. They spend the winter in the open ocean and breed out in the tundra.
BONAPARTE'S GULL (Chroicocephalus philadelphia)
We picked some out from a flock of Mew Gulls at Westchester Lagoon.
MEW GULL (AMERICAN) (Larus canus brachyrhynchus)
Common around Nome and Anchorage. It was cool to see them alongside the Black-legged Kittiwakes so we could compare their legs--the Mews having much longer legs than the Kittiwakes.
HERRING GULL (AMERICAN) (Larus argentatus smithsonianus)
HERRING GULL (VEGA) (Larus argentatus vegae)
GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL (Larus glaucescens)
The common large gull with dark wingtips seen around Nome and Seward.
GLAUCOUS GULL (Larus hyperboreus)
Like Glaucus-winged but with pale wingtips. They were common around Nome and Barrow.
ALEUTIAN TERN (Onychoprion aleuticus)
Nome River mouth is where we saw most of these range-restricted terns of the Bering Sea. Distinguished from Arctic Terns by their shorter tails and dark bar at the trailing edge of the secondaries.
ARCTIC TERN (Sterna paradisaea)
We saw lots of these migration champions throughout the trip, especially around Anchorage.
RED-THROATED LOON (Gavia stellata)
Our best views were at Nome where we saw some nesting just outside of town.
ARCTIC LOON (Gavia arctica)
One of the highlights of our time at Nome. We saw a pair right off the bat on our first afternoon there.
PACIFIC LOON (Gavia pacifica)
Pairs were out at Safety Sound and around Barrow.
COMMON LOON (Gavia immer)
There were a couple out at Summit Lake between Seward and Anchorage.
YELLOW-BILLED LOON (Gavia adamsii)
After seeing a few distant birds, one flew right over us at the 11th hour of the tour off the Nunavak Road behind Barrow. We saw its slow wingbeats and long feet trailing behind the body.
SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER (Ardenna tenuirostris)
Woohoo! Dave spotted one of these all dark shearwaters with short bills out near Safety Sound. This was certainly one of the rarest birds of the trip.
RED-FACED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax urile)
Small numbers were out at the Chiswells. They have thicker necks than the Pelagic Cormorants.
PELAGIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax pelagicus)
Seen on our Seward boat trip.
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax auritus)
It was unusual to see one out on a sandbar near the Nome River mouth. Also seen from Seward.
GOLDEN EAGLE (Aquila chrysaetos)
We scoped a distant bird along the Kougarok Road.
NORTHERN HARRIER (Circus hudsonius)
Several seen on the tundra around Nome.
BALD EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
SNOWY OWL (Bubo scandiacus)
Several were out along the Nunavak Road outside of Barrow.
SHORT-EARED OWL (Asio flammeus)
It was exciting to see a couple of these out on the tundra around Barrow. One had a small mammal in its talons.
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon)
The only one we saw was at a pond near Seward.
DOWNY WOODPECKER (Dryobates pubescens)
One brief flyover at Westchester Lagoon.
HAIRY WOODPECKER (Dryobates villosus)
A female flew in while we were calling for Three-toed Woodpecker on our way back from Seward.
MERLIN (Falco columbarius)
A few of us got on a Merlin that crossed the Kougarok Road as we headed to Coffee Dome to look for the curlew.
GYRFALCON (Falco rusticolus)
Our first afternoon in Nome we blasted out to see the nest on the Council Road that Jesse and Chris had told us about. We later saw another bird chasing Aleutian Terns and Sabine's Gulls out at Safety Sound.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)
A bird crossed the tundra at Barrow our first afternoon there.
ALDER FLYCATCHER (Empidonax alnorum)
The only flycatcher of the tour. We saw one at Westchester Lagoon. Differs from Willow Flycatcher by its bright eyering and song.
NORTHERN SHRIKE (Lanius borealis)
It was neat to see one hunting over the Nome River mouth.
STELLER'S JAY (Cyanocitta stelleri)
Judy spotted some for us the day we birded around Seward.
BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE (Pica hudsonia)
Frequent around Anchorage.
NORTHWESTERN CROW (Corvus caurinus)
The crows seen around Seward.
COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax)
One of the most adaptable birds in North America. We saw some nesting at the Dew-line station in Barrow.
BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE (Poecile atricapillus)
CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE (Poecile rufescens)
We called in a small family group near Seward.
BOREAL CHICKADEE (Poecile hudsonicus)
A small feeding flock with Boreal Chickadees came by our picnic table at Tern Lake the day we drove from Seward to Anchorage.
TREE SWALLOW (Tachycineta bicolor)
VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (Tachycineta thalassina)
BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia)
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)
CLIFF SWALLOW (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)
The only place we saw these was the bridge out Kougarok Road.
ARCTIC WARBLER (Phylloscopus borealis)
These had just arrived in Nome and were plentiful in the low tundra. We heard their buzzy song almost everywhere we went.
GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET (Regulus satrapa)
In the tall conifers around Seward.
RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET (Regulus calendula)
RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta canadensis)
BROWN CREEPER (Certhia americana)
PACIFIC WREN (Troglodytes pacificus)
We scoped one singing from near the top of a giant conifer near Seward and it sat for over 3 minutes!
AMERICAN DIPPER (Cinclus mexicanus)
We watched one from the bridge on the Teller Road. It probably had a nest nearby since it was gathering inverts in its bill.
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]
VARIED THRUSH (Ixoreus naevius)
One of my favorite birds of the Pacific Northwest. We had several good looks while birding around Seward.
GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH (Catharus minimus)
The common Catharus around Nome. We heard them practically everywhere we went.
SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus)
HERMIT THRUSH (Catharus guttatus)
Heard around Seward and seen briefly by some.
AMERICAN ROBIN (Turdus migratorius)
BLUETHROAT (Luscinia svecica)
One of my most wanted birds in Alaska (and I'm sure for others, too). We had several prolonged looks along the Kougarok and Teller Roads outside Nome.
EASTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (Motacilla tschutschensis)
We locked on a pair right outside Nome.
AMERICAN PIPIT (Anthus rubescens)
It was neat to see these out on the snow along the Kougarok Road.
COMMON REDPOLL (Acanthis flammea)
Fairly common around Nome and Barrow.
HOARY REDPOLL (Acanthis hornemanni)
Also seen frequently at Nome and Barrow.
RED CROSSBILL (Loxia curvirostra)
We got on a female and juvenile outside of Seward.
PINE SISKIN (Spinus pinus)
LAPLAND LONGSPUR (Calcarius lapponicus)
What a treat to see these in their breeding plumage around Nome and Barrow.
SNOW BUNTING (Plectrophenax nivalis)
Certainly the most common bird in Barrow. We saw our first ones outside the airport!
AMERICAN TREE SPARROW (Spizelloides arborea)
We came across quite a few in the willow thickets around Nome.
FOX SPARROW (SOOTY) (Passerella iliaca sinuosa) [*]
We heard quite a few but unfortunately we weren't able to call one out to view around Seward.
FOX SPARROW (RED) (Passerella iliaca zaboria)
My favorite of the fox sparrow subspecies. It was a treat to see them on their breeding grounds around Nome.
DARK-EYED JUNCO (SLATE-COLORED) (Junco hyemalis hyemalis)
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (GAMBEL'S) (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii)
GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW (Zonotrichia atricapilla)
The theme song of Nome in the summer. We heard them just about everywhere we went and spotted a few out on the willows.
SAVANNAH SPARROW (Passerculus sandwichensis)
SONG SPARROW (Melospiza melodia)
The only one we saw was out on our boat trip.
LINCOLN'S SPARROW (Melospiza lincolnii)
We saw one off the Teller Road one drizzly morning.
RUSTY BLACKBIRD (Euphagus carolinus)
Dave squeaked one out at the Teller Road and it flew straight at us.
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis)
We scoped one from the bridge on the Teller Road.
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER (Leiothlypis celata)
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia)
BLACKPOLL WARBLER (Setophaga striata)
A true champion migrant that winters in Amazonia and breeds in willow thickets across the Alaskan tundra. We had awesome looks at a male off the Teller Road.
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (MYRTLE) (Setophaga coronata coronata)
Common in the conifer forests around Seward.
TOWNSEND'S WARBLER (Setophaga townsendi)
We called one down to eye level near Seward.
WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla)
SNOWSHOE HARE (Lepus americanus)
We decided (after splitting hairs) these were the ones out on the Kougarok Road.
ARCTIC GROUND SQUIRREL (Spermophilus parryii)
Seen around Nome and Barrow.
RED SQUIRREL (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)
MUSKRAT (Ondatra zibethica)
NEARCTIC BROWN LEMMING (Lemmus trimucronatus)
Bryan saw one outside the Top of the World Hotel.
ORCA (Orcinus orca)
We had a brief encounter with a pod of 3 females and one male on our Seward Boat trip.
DALL'S PORPOISE (Phocoenoides dalli)
A small pod played in the waves ahead of our boat as we entered Aialik Bay.
HUMPBACK WHALE (Megaptera novaeangliae)
These whales breed in Alaska then migrate to the waters around Hawaii. We saw a couple early on our Seward Boat excursion.
RED FOX (Vulpes vulpes)
We had a couple memorable encounters with foxes along the Kougarok Road. One of them was running around on Coffee Dome while we searched for the curlew.
SEA OTTER (Enhydra lutris)
STELLER'S SEA LION (Eumetopias jubatus)
HARBOR SEAL (Phoca vitulina)
What a sight to see them hauled out on the ice in front of Aialik Glacier!
SPOTTED SEAL (Phoca largha)
RINGED SEAL (Phoca hispida)
Seen on the sea ice at Barrow. These had diffuse large splotches as opposed to the Spotted Seals, which had darker smaller spots.
MOOSE (Alces alces)
Jeannie spotted a close one off the Council Road on our way back from the Gyr nest.
MUSKOX (Ovibos moschatus)
One of the mammals I was most excited to see... and I wasn't disappointed! We encountered numerous of the oversized goats around Nome.
DALL'S SHEEP (Ovis dalli)
Up on the cliffs off the highway to Seward. We pulled off the road to get a look at them.
Totals for the tour: 156 bird taxa and 17 mammal taxa