AUKLETS & ALBATROSSES FOR LANDLUBBERS

(and other seabirds too!)

June 8-11, 2017


If you've always wanted to see Whiskered Auklet, Albatrosses, and some other fantastic pelagic species, but dread the thought of spending all day on a boat, this is the trip for you. Whiskered Auklets are usually just a short boat ride (usually about an hour one-way) from Adak, one of only two sites in North America where this species is reasonably accessible. Whiskered AukletWe often see Laysan Albatrosses on the trip to and from the auklets, and if we don't, it usually only takes a short swing out to deeper water to get to them.

Starting in 2017, we will also try for Short-tailed Albatrosses in Adak Strait if weather permits. We've seen this globally rare species here twice, including in 2016 during our first and only chumming attempt at this location. We tried chumming here because we heard that a fishing boat had six around it a few days earlier. We also attraced several Red-legged Kittiwakes.

We'll have three days at Adak, allowing us to pick the calmest conditions. The trip will last about six hours if we go just for auklets and about 12 hours if we also try for Short-tailed Albatrosses in Adak Strait. We'll be onboard the M/V Puk-uk, a 72-foot vessel custom-built for Alaska charters with advanced electronic stabilization system, and the largest boat looking for Whiskered Auklets. Other birds that we have a reasonable chance of seeing include Short-tailed Shearwater, Black-legged Kittiwake, Crested, Parakeet, and Cassin's Auklet, and Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel. Black-footed Albatross and Leach's Storm-Petrel are possible if conditions and time allows us to go a little further out.

Click HERE to see photos of Whiskered Auklets and other seabirds from previous pelagic trips.

Aleutian Terns by Jess FindlayThe seabirding doesn't stop when we're on land. Kittlitz's Murrelets occur side by side with Marbled Murrelets on Clam Lagoon giving some of the best views to be had anywhere. Aleutian Terns and Parasitic Jaegers are found at the lagoon, too. Red-faced Cormorants rest on rocks just offshore. Other alcids such as Tufted and Horned Puffins, Ancient Murrelets, Pigeon Guillemots, and Common Murres are regularly seen close to shore.

Adak is home to other interesting birds. Rock Ptarmigan, Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, Lapland Longspur, Snow Bunting, and Rock Sandpiper are common. While we'll be there at the very late end of spring migration, there's still a chance for a vagrant from Asia. Common Snipe may occasionally breed here.

Here's an overview of the tour itinerary:

Day 1 (June 8): Arrive at Adak in the early evening. After settling in, we'll head out for a little birding around Clam Lagoon.

Day 2-4 (June 9-11): We'll go out for a half-day boat trip when the forecast looks best. For the rest of our stay, we'll travel around the road system of Adak, birding in as many places as possible. Depart early evening on Day 4.


TOUR FEE: $1950 (price subject to change). The tour fee includes all meals from breakfast on Day 2 to lunch on Day 4.  It does not include transportation to and from Adak.

LEADER: John Puschock, owner of Zugunruhe Birding Tours, and a second guide will be trip leaders. 

GROUP SIZE: This trip is limited 8 participants.  

PHYSICAL CONSIDERATIONS/WEATHER: We will plan the boat trip around the best forecasted conditions, but trip participants still may experience seasickness. Plan on bringing a seasickness remedy. Temperatures in June are usually in the range of 40F to 55F, and there is usually a mix of sun, clouds, and short periods of rain. Most birding on land is done from the road system, but there may be a limited amount of hiking, primarily at Clam Lagoon and a few roads.

REGISTRATION and DEPOSIT: A deposit of $900 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 fee is due by 60 days prior to the tour.

CANCELLATION POLICY: All fees received will be refunded when notice of cancellation is received more than 90 days before the start of the tour.  All fees except the deposit will be refunded when notice is received 60-90 days before the start of the tour.  No refund is possible when cancellation occurs less than 60 days prior to the tour start.

TRIP and MEDICAL INSURANCE: We strongly 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.  

We also strongly recommend that you check that your medical insurance covers medical evacuations.  A medical emergency may require an evacuation flight, which costs tens of thousands of dollars.  If your regular medical insurance does not cover evacuations, please consider purchasing supplemental coverage to protect yourself.

For more information and registration forms, please e-mail us.

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