As summer arrives in the high arctic, the tundra around Barrow explodes with bird life. Red and Red-necked Phalaropes, Pectoral Sandpipers in display flights, Dunlin, and other sandpipers seem to be everywhere. All four of the world’s eider species can be seen in a single day, with three of them – Spectacled, Steller’s, and King – breeding on tundra ponds. And there are other highly-desired birds such as breeding-plumaged Snow Buntings and Jaegers that are common sights around Barrow. There are a few pairs of Snowy Owls nesting near town, and with a little luck, we may see one of the world’s best-looking gulls, Sabine’s Gull. Polar bears are also a possibility. We saw three in 2016.
With so many birds in beautiful breeding plumage, this is an ideal tour for birders who are also photographers. We’ll stop to take advantage of photo opportunities and hike on the tundra to get closer to some birds. The sun won’t set during the tour, so there will be plenty of time for birding and photography. (A $150 land-use permit, not included in the tour fee, is necessary for hiking off roads.
Day 1 (June 13): Meet in the early evening at the airport in Barrow.
Day 2-4 (June 14-16): We’ll drive the roads around Barrow looking for eiders, shorebirds, jaegers, and any other birds we can find. We’ll also make a few forays on to the tundra by foot. With 24 hours of daylight every day, our schedule will be dictated a bit by weather and what you want to do.
Day 5 (June 17): We’ll have a few hours to bird before catching our departing flight in the late morning.
TOUR FEE: $2450/person. The tour fee includes lodging, all meals while in Barrow, ground transportation, and guide services at Barrow. It does not include transportation to and from Barrow, AK before and after the tour, land-use permit ($150/person), phone calls, laundry, room service charges, alcoholic beverages (note that Barrow is a “damp town”; you may possess alcohol but cannot purchase it there), or any items of a personal nature.
LEADER: John Puschock, owner of Zugunruhe Birding Tours, will be your leader for this tour.
GROUP SIZE: Mimimum of 3, maximum of 5.
PHYSICAL CONSIDERATIONS/WEATHER: Participants should be able to sit in a vehicle for up to 2 to 3 hours . Temperatures may be cold, from 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Snow is possible. Much of the birding will be done from or near a vehicle, but hiking on the tundra can be difficult for some. Please notify us if you have any medical conditions that may affect your participation.
REGISTRATION and DEPOSIT: A deposit of $1000 and a signed registration and release form will reserve your spot on this tour. Please e-mail for more information on the registration procedure and forms (contact info below). The balance of the tour fee is due 60 days prior to the start of the tour.
CANCELLATION POLICY: All fees received will be refunded with more than 90 days notice of cancellation. With 60-90 days notice of cancellation, all fees except the deposit will be refunded. No refund is possible with less than 60 days notification.
TRIP INSURANCE: We recommend that you purchase trip insurance to protect yourself in case you need to cancel, luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged, a medical emergency occurs, or other unforeseen circumstances. Note that many insurance policies require that you purchase it at the time you make the initial deposit for the tour and terms and coverage differ among policies.
For more information and registration forms, please e-mail us.