Birding is a lot like life. Sometimes things go your way, and sometimes they don’t. The last couple days in Nome, things just fell into place. I came, I saw the birds, I soaked in every detail and experience I could, and then I flew overnight back to Chicago.  End of trip. 

My Nome trip was a last-ditch effort for me to get back up to Alaska and do a little “target birding” - pursuing specific birds in a given area with the hopes of seeing them well enough to add them to my year (or life) list. I had 10 birds that were my “targets” and for the sake of time I'll share photos of five of them, and some accompanying remarks in hopes to add a little bit more to the experience of just looking at a beautiful photo. Hope you enjoy! 

 

1.) Long-tailed Jaeger

I thought I saw a Long-tailed Jaeger on my pelagic trip out of California earlier this year, however the looks I had at the bird didn't allow me to see the long tail plumes. Knowing I would have an opportunity to see this species nesting in Nome, I couldn't wait to see them and get a "perfect" photograph. I'm happy with this image! 

I thought I saw a Long-tailed Jaeger on my pelagic trip out of California earlier this year, however the looks I had at the bird didn't allow me to see the long tail plumes. Knowing I would have an opportunity to see this species nesting in Nome, I couldn't wait to see them and get a "perfect" photograph. I'm happy with this image! 

 

2.) Northern Wheatear

Finding a Northern Wheatear in Nome has been easier last time I visited; this time we lucked out spotting one high up on Skookum pass the day before I was going to check a known nesting location from eBird. Sneaking up on the barren alpine tundra with no cover for an adequate photograph was challenging to say the least! 

Finding a Northern Wheatear in Nome has been easier last time I visited; this time we lucked out spotting one high up on Skookum pass the day before I was going to check a known nesting location from eBird. Sneaking up on the barren alpine tundra with no cover for an adequate photograph was challenging to say the least! 

 

3.) Bluethroat

Ideally, early June is the best time to find Bluethroat in Nome, when they are singing and displaying at the beginning of breeding season. Now, they're silent and secretive, as was the hardest bird to find on our trip. It came down to a last-minute effort, driving the Kougarok Road the last morning before going to the airport. A 75-meter bushwack up the hillside from a milepost from a recent eBird checklist turned up this male who popped up from the bushes, sang an alternate song, and disappeared back into the sea of willows. 

Ideally, early June is the best time to find Bluethroat in Nome, when they are singing and displaying at the beginning of breeding season. Now, they're silent and secretive, as was the hardest bird to find on our trip. It came down to a last-minute effort, driving the Kougarok Road the last morning before going to the airport. A 75-meter bushwack up the hillside from a milepost from a recent eBird checklist turned up this male who popped up from the bushes, sang an alternate song, and disappeared back into the sea of willows. 

4.) Bristle-thighed Curlew

After a failed search hiking up "Mt. Doom" several summers ago, this bird has been near the top of my "most-wanted" list for North America. Luckily, my earlier timing this year put me in prime breeding habitat while these birds were on territory! I lucked out with beautiful weather and some great looks at this "lifer". 

After a failed search hiking up "Mt. Doom" several summers ago, this bird has been near the top of my "most-wanted" list for North America. Luckily, my earlier timing this year put me in prime breeding habitat while these birds were on territory! I lucked out with beautiful weather and some great looks at this "lifer". 

5. Arctic Warbler

A common breeder around the river valleys of Nome, this Arctic Warbler was singing at our first stop of the morning along the Kougarok Road. It is the only member of the Old World warblers that breeds in North America, making an interesting addition to my year list.

A common breeder around the river valleys of Nome, this Arctic Warbler was singing at our first stop of the morning along the Kougarok Road. It is the only member of the Old World warblers that breeds in North America, making an interesting addition to my year list.


NOME PHOTO GALLERY