June 3-7, 2018
This pelagic trip targets three of North America's most-wanted pelagic species: Whiskered Auklet, Short-tailed Albatross, and Mottled Petrel. Other birds that are very likely including Laysan (usually in big numbers) and Black-footed Albatross, Northern Fulmar, Short-tailed Shearwater, Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel, Red-faced Cormorant, Black-legged Kittiwake, Common and Thick-billed Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, Ancient Murrelet, Cassin's, Parakeet, Least, and Crested Auklets, and Horned and Tufted Puffin. Both Marbled and Kittlitz's Murrelet can be seen fairly easily at Adak after the trip.
This trip is an excellent opportunity for photographing some of these hard-to-get species, and we'll be making a special effort to get you close to Whiskered Auklets.
We will be on board the M/V Puk-uk, a 72-foot vessel custom-built for Alaska charters. The Puk-uk has an advanced electronic stabilization system, high railings around the deck plus a large number of other safety features, four staterooms, two heads (bathrooms) with showers, a washer and dryer, and a galley with a full-time cook.
Click HERE to see photos from previous pelagic trips.
Day 1 (June 3): Depart Adak in the evening after loading the boat and a safety briefing. (The flight to the island arrives around 6 PM.) We will travel a short distance east to Little Tanaga Pass, where large numbers of Whiskered Auklets are usually found.
Day 2 (June 4): Our exact path will be dictated somewhat by weather and sea conditions, but our ultimate destination is Seguam Pass. Large upwellings occur here as tidal currents push through the pass, bringing food to the surface which attracts large numbers of birds, including Short-tailed Albatrosses. This is one of the best places in North America to see this rare species. Before we get here, we hope to swing north to the deep water north of the Aleutians in hopes of finding Mottled Petrels. Red-legged Kittiwake breeds in very small numbers in this area, so there's a chance at this Bering Sea specialty as well.
Day 3 (June 5): The plan for this day will be determined by our previous results. If we still haven't seen a Short-tailed Albatross (or want to see more), we'll stick around Seguam Pass. But if we've seen our targets and the weather allows it, we'll travel south over the Aleutian Trench. These waters of the North Pacific have been little explored for birds, and it will be exciting to see what we may discover.
Day 4 (June 6): We'll make our way back to Adak, birding along the way. We hope to spend additional time in Little Tanaga Pass with the Whiskered Auklets.
Day 5 (June 7): We're back on land this day and will be birding around Adak. Some of the birds we'll target are Aleutian Tern and Kittlitz's Murrelet.
The itinerary may be changed if weather conditions create unsafe or very uncomfortable conditions at sea. For example, in 2016 we went to Adak Strait instead of Seguam Pass and still saw Short-tailed Albatross, Whiskered Auklets, and Red-legged Kittiwakes.
TOUR FEE: $2450 if you sign up before Dec 31, 2017, $2750 after that. The tour fee includes all meals from breakfast on Day 2 to lunch on Day 5. It does not include transportation to and from Adak.
LEADER: John Puschock, owner of Zugunruhe Birding Tours and another guide will be trip leaders.
GROUP SIZE: This trip is limited 9 participants.
PHYSICAL CONSIDERATIONS/WEATHER: Sea conditions may be rough, and trip participants may experience seasickness. Participants, particularly those prone to seasickness, should bring a seasickness remedy. Rough sea conditions also may result in the shortening or cancellation of the trip; such decisions are at the discretion of the boat captain.
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 fee is due by 60 days prior to 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 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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