St. Paul, ALASKA
September 17-24, 2017
A tiny speck of land in the midst of the vast Bering Sea, St. Paul Island and the few other small islands that make up the Pribilofs are the only refuge for off-course migrants for hundreds of miles. Traditionally a spring tour, birders have been staying later into the fall over the past several years, and they've been finding some amazing Asian vagrants. Just in the past few years during fall migration, birders have found Common Redstart, Pin-tailed Snipe, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Fork-tailed Swift, and White-tailed Eagle among other rarities. Shorebird migration begins winding down in mid-September, but Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and Gray-tailed Tattler are likely and Common Snipe, Lesser Sand-Plover, Red-necked Stint, and other species are possible.
On this tour, we actively hunt for rarities, and that will involve hiking through vegetation. Participants are not required to join every hike, but having more people searching will increase our chances of finding Asian vagrants. Even if you are not part of a hike, if a rarity is found, you may need to hike through vegetation to be able to see it. We'll do our best to make accommodations for everyone's abilities, but be prepared to walk.
Day 1 (Sep 17): Meet at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport for the flight to St. Paul, which departs around noon.
Day 2-7 (Sep 18-23): Vagrant hunting takes a bit of work, and we'll be exploring the island by vehicle and on foot to find rarities. We will also do some seawatching. Some of the usual breeding residents, such as Red-legged Kittiwake, Red-faced Cormorant, and Horned and Tufted Puffins are still around in mid-September, and rarer species such as Mottled Petrel are possible.
Day 8 (Sep 24): On our final morning, we will bird in the morning before our return flight to Anchorage. (The flight to Anchorage is scheduled to arrive there around 8:15 PM.)
TOUR FEE: Price to be determined. In 2016, it was $4385 per person based on double occupancy. The tour fee includes flights between Anchorage and St. Paul, lodging, all meals, ground transportation, and guide services on St. Paul. It does not include transportation to and from Anchorage, AK before and after the tour, phone calls, laundry, room service charges, alcoholic beverages, or any items of a personal nature.
LEADER: John Puschock, owner of Zugunruhe Birding Tours, and local guides will be your leaders for this tour.
GROUP SIZE: Mimimum of 4, maximum of 8.
PHYSICAL CONSIDERATIONS/WEATHER: We make an effort to find vagrants, which can involve hiking through vegetation. Participants are encouraged to join the guides for this if they are physically capable, but you may chose to wait in or around our vehicle if you need to rest. Birds may be found in areas not visible from roads, so you may need to hike through vegetation and over rough terrain for a chance to see all of the birds that are found.
Temperatures tend to be between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Rain and high winds are possible.
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 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. A medical emergency may require a medevac flight to Anchorage, as medical care options on St. Paul are limited. Note that many insurance companies require that you purchase policies 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 us.
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