phil jeffrey:: Alaska 2012 Trip Report


Anchorage, Kenai and Nome. June 2012.

Resurrection Bay
Resurrection Bay, Seward

This Alaska trip was executed with less planning than I would typically devote to it - not least of all because I'd been procrastinating about researching one - but in 2012 I made the decision to go on my first trip to AK relatively late in the game (mid-March) due to a surfeit of vacation days. In part because of this I took the unprecedented (for me) step of going with an organized tour to Nome for part of the trip, since I had too little time to make educated arrangements. All my other trips (FL, TX, AZ, CO, NM, UT, WY, WA, OR, CA, ND, SD, MN, LA) have been self-organized and researched. In Alaska I concentrated on three types of habitat: inshore pelagic [*]; wetland; arctic tundra. I almost totally ignored the northern boreal because of lack of time and post-Nome exhaustion, but also because the potential life birds in AK were simply not in that habitat type. I started first on the Kenai Peninsula for the first 3 days, moved on to Nome for 4 days and ended up in Anchorage for the last few. The Kenai and Nome legs were the most productive with 10 life birds on each leg and one in Anchorage to give a rather healthy total of 21 with some overlap between potential lifers. This moved me from USA 652 to 673 so depending on your life list you could find more life birds than this. Two whole days were spent traveling to and from AK and about another half day in transit to/from Nome. The difference in time zones (EDT to AKDT) is 4 hours and the and the sheer distance involved (trans-continental and then some) made for about 9 hours flight time EWR-ANC.

[*]: inshore pelagic is technically a contradiction in terms, however I call "pelagic" anything where I have a decent chance of throwing up over the stern. A recommendation of high doses of ginger may have reduced the chances of that in the future, but time (and NC, CA pelagics) will tell.