Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
ettled as a gold-mining town, Nome is certainly a gold mine for birders. It is the best location in western Alaska to see Arctic species, such as Bristle-thighed Curlews, Spectacled and Steller's Eiders, scoters and other ducks, Arctic and Pacific Loons, Bar-tailed Godwits, American and Pacific Golden Plovers, Red-necked Phalaropes, Rock Sandpipers, Parasitic and Long-tailed Jaegers, Arctic and Aleutian Terns, Willow and Rock Ptarmigan, Snow Buntings and Lapland Longspurs. Don't forget to keep an eye peeled for a Gyrfalcon. The diversity of shorebirds is especially interesting on their nesting territories where they display in their breeding plumage.
Also attractive are Eurasian birds that spill over into western Alaska, such as Arctic Warblers, Bluethroats, White and Yellow Wagtails and Northern Wheatears. Nome is also a great site to find rare Asian and Arctic species -- gulls, shorebirds, passerines and waterfowl rank highest as possibilities.
Birders have the option of taking three roads out of Nome, leading them east, west or north -- each direction provides great birding opportunities. The Bering Sea stretches to the south of Nome, and attracts interesting gulls, waterbirds and seabirds. Almost all birders fly to Nome, except those arriving by dog sled (the Iditerod race ends in Nome); rental cars are available, but book early. Contact the Nome Convention and Visitors' Bureau (907) 443-5535 for information.
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