Birding Tour USA: Alaska – Utqiagvik (Barrow), Top of the World
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Alaska: Utqiagvik (Barrow) – Top of the World
Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska, is the northernmost city in the United States, located over 300 miles (480 kilometers) into the Arctic Circle. In the summer the sun never fully sets as the area experiences 24-hour daylight, an amazing phenomenon to see firsthand. Several species utilize this high-Arctic habitat for breeding, such as Steller’s, Spectacled, and King Eiders, Long-tailed Duck, Tundra Swan, and numerous shorebirds.
The remarkable King Eider, one of four species of eiders we should see on this tour.
This trip can be combined with our main tour Alaska: Vast Beauty, which immediately precedes it and covers many other amazing areas of Alaska.
Itinerary (5 days/4 nights)
Day 1. Arrival in Utqiagvik
This extension trip will start in Anchorage at the tail end of our main Alaska tour as we take an afternoon flight to Utqiagvik (formerly known as Barrow). Once we arrive we will get settled in for the evening with potential for some birding, depending on time and conditions.
Days 2 – 3. Birding the Top of the World
We will have the next two days to fully experience the culture and birding of Utqiagvik. With a large percentage of the population being Iñupiat, an indigenous Inuit ethnic group, there are many cultural aspects that give us a small insight into the life in the high Arctic. We will be birding around town, where the ice thaw can create nice ponds and lakes while also changing the habitat drastically day-to-day. These areas are famous for their small nesting populations of Steller’s, Spectacled, and King Eiders as well as other waterfowl, such as Tundra Swan, Brant Goose, and Long-tailed Duck. Some of these thaws will also create shallower waters that are utilized by numerous shorebirds like Red and Red-necked Phalaropes, Pectoral Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, and Dunlin. We will also spend some time birding Point Barrow, where Pomarine Jaegers are staples, with Glaucous Gulls hanging around, and we may even have a shot at a drifting Yellow-billed Loon. The combination of great birding, cultural experience, and the never-setting sun make Utqiagvik a memorable experience.
The powerful Pomarine Jaeger patrols the waters of Utqiagvik.
Day 4. Back to Anchorage
We’ll spend the morning birding around town again for our final looks at several species before catching an afternoon flight back to Anchorage. Once we arrive we will shuttle to a hotel for the evening.
Day 5. Departure – tour concludes
This morning we will use the hotel shuttle services to take us to the Anchorage airport to catch our various flights home. This concludes the extension tour to the unique area of Utqiagvik.
Some of the spectacular scenery we will encounter on this tour.
Please note that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides and other factors. In addition, we sometimes have to use a different international guide from the one advertised due to tour scheduling.Download Itinerary