Nome 2020 Registration is now open:
Nome is a frontier town of nearly 4000 residents, currently witnessing a gold mining boom. Accessible only by boat and airplane, bordered on the West and South by the Bering Sea, and the North and East by miles of trackless wilderness.
Nome is a fascinating and challenging destination. During late May, June and July, the sun is at its brightest into the late evening, the tundra is in full bloom, the birds have begin arriving to nest. Mammals are active also building up fat for the winter ahead. You may see Muskox, Moose, Reindeer herds, arctic fox and bear.
Our tour will cover the prime birding areas along the coast, including Safety Sound Lagoon and Wooley Lagoon with beautifully blooming inland alpine tundra, rivers, and the wetlands surrounding Nome. We will also spend time birding our way to the boreal spruce forest towards the town of Council. Most of the birds are in their striking, fresh breeding plumages—rarely if ever seen in the lower 48. We make an extra effort to locate some of the accidental Asian species—such as Bluethroat, Yellow and White Wagtail, Arctic Warbler, Northern Wheatear, Snow Bunting, Gray-tailed Tattler (seen on a 2006 YBT trip)—that regularly occur at Nome.
I began birding the Nome eco-region in 1998. I have been leading small-group birding trips to Nome’s eco-region since 2002. My trips include wildlife watching as well, providing a relaxed experience. We stay on the bird until everyone has a chance to observe it. At each sighting, we take time for birders to collaborate using the available field guides. Our visit will not be a high-speed tour with no time for field collaboration or in-town Nome cultural experiences.
The field trips are limited to 4 birders to maintain a small-group feeling which Yellowbilled Tours has established for Nome. The vehicle used is a Ford four-door dual cab vehicle, that allows each birder a speedy and comfortable entrance and exit and plenty of window viewing area. This vehicle allows comfort and convenience on the rough, unpaved roads. You will not be crowded together as occurs in the 12-passenger vans.
The small group will provide you with a very personalized birding experience. Our lodging is a modern motel with clean rooms and private baths. The weather will be mild for Nome—ranging from 30 to near 60 degrees—but will require layers of clothing for maximum comfort.
Each morning after breakfast, we’ll pick up our own individual lunches. Dinners will be a hot meal of your choice in Nome. Cost of meals is not included in our price.
Evening of Arrival: You’ll arrive in Nome the evening of June 2nd. at 11:30 AM on Alaska Air flight # 151from Anchorage. I will pick you up at the Nome Airport. You’ll have you pre-registered in your room, then we go to dinner as a group. During dinner, I’ll review the required trip safety protocols. After dinner we’ll begin birding along the Bering Sea, Nome Harbor, Nome and Sewage Ponds. We can expect to see American Tree Sparrow, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Red-necked Loon and Red-necked Phalarope, up to three species of Gulls, possibly three species of Jaeger, Aleutian Terns, possible Bar-tailed Godwit and both Pacific and American Plover—all in breeding plumage.
Day 1 Safety Lagoon and Council Road: We’ll spend the morning hours carefully searching the shorelines, lagoons, and ponds near the inlet from the Bering Sea for rarities such as Arctic Loon, Black-legged Kittiwake, Slaty-backed Gull, possible Common, Steller’s and Spectacled Eider, as well as the many resident shorebirds and terns. In 2014, we had King Eider on the beach. Then we will drive on dirt roads toward Council, a small fishing village in the interior, searching along the way for Northern Shrike, Rough-legged Hawk, Redpolls, Yellow Wagtail, and Gray-cheeked Thrush. In past years, we have also had White Wagtail and White-winged Crossbill on this road. This area represents the northern boreal forest limit on the Seward Peninsula and should also yield Varied Thrush, Boreal Chickadee, Rusty Blackbird and other spruce forest/alpine species. In 2011, we found a male singing Harris’s Sparrow in Council. In 2012, we discovered Bohemian Waxwings—very rare birds for the region. In 2014, we had Slate colored Junco- another bird rare considerably north of its breeding range.
Day 2 Teller Road – Wooley Lagoon: We begin with local birding, and in just a few miles, we may be able to find Arctic Warbler, Northern Wheatear and Pacific Loon. Then our real day begins by slowly driving north on Teller Road, seeking both species of Ptarmigan, Western and Semipalmated Sandpiper, Red-necked Stint, Golden Eagle, Northern Waterthrush, Arctic Warbler, and possible American Dipper, Rusty Blackbird or Rock Sandpiper. We’ll bird the road into the Wooley Lagoon searching for Black-bellied Plover, Pacific Golden-Plover, and American Golden-Plover as well as Semipalmated Plover, Whimbrel and Northern Wheatear. We should get good looks at Parasitic Jaeger, Yellow Wagtail, and Snow Bunting in this area as well. In late June 2012, a White Wagtail was found in this area.
Day 3 Taylor and Kougarok Roads: We drive along the 72-mile Kougarok Road into the high tundra and mountains of Seward Peninsula in search of nesting Whimbrel, Wandering Tattler, several nesting-plumage sandpiper species, Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Plover, Red Fox Sparrow, and Northern Shrike. At roads end is Coffee Dome a large sloped mountain this is where the Bristle-thighed Curlew nest and is our best chance to see using scopes.This area also has potential for Bluethroat, Gyrfalcon, Blackpoll Warbler, and Northern Waterthrush among others. We’ll watch (carefully) for Grizzly Bear, Muskox, and Moose.
Please contact us if your questions are not answered on this site
The total cost of the four day Nome field trip is $2,900.00. There is no single supplement.The trip cost does not include airfare or meals. A $1,500.00 deposit is required upon registration. The balance of $1,400.00, is due March 23, 2020 for all trips. If you cancel, I will encourage you to find your replacement. If a replacement cannot be found, all payments will be placed in a YBT client account for use in 15 months. If the funds are not use in there entirety they will be forfeited.
Nome Field trip: Arriving in Nome the late morning of June 2, 2020 ending with your departing evening flight on June 5th to Anchorage. The evening flight to Anchorage may require an overnight room if no evening air flights are available. This room is not covered in the trip fee.
Starting on June 6, 2020 Barrow Field trip begins with a 7:15 AM flight and finishes with the 5PM flight to Anchorage on June 9th. Group 2 starts with your arrival on June 9th. and finishes on June 11th with the 5PM flight to Anchorage.
Barrow Is OPEN FOR REGISTRATION.
YBT – Nome Alaska Life list ebird 2017_US-AK-178_life_list
YBT – Barrow Alaska Life list 2017 ebird
June 13, 2018
Donna of El Granda, California wrote:
“Why go all the way to Barrow? EIDERS!
It’s the best place in the world to see all four species of Eider.
A very late winter thaw made it more difficult than usual to find them.
But our persistent and diligent guide, Richard Cimino, Yellowbilled Tours found them all for us.”
June 1, 2018 field trip – wanted you to know that the Nome trip was the best of my all-time birding moments. We really appreciate your hard effort to get us on good birds each day and your tremendous knowledge of the area. Both of us had a wonderful time and I am happy to tell everyone what a great guide you were and what a singular experience the Nome trip can be. I feel I came away with a better understanding of the birds and their environment- certainly, jaegers have moved up in my list of favorites! And of course, the Marlo every evening was good as well. (-:
– Anyway, thanks so much, and I hope to bird with you again in the future.
Jon W Wise | Partner
1100 Poydras Street, Suite 2300
New Orleans, LA 70163
o: 504-585-7549 | f: 504-544-6137
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June 2017 field trip – Although I’ve been a birder for over 40 years, my Nome visit with Yellow-billed Tours was the first I had signed up for a birding tour. It was excellent! I probably would not have found much more than half the species we saw if I had undertaken this visit alone. My favorite experience was seeing an Ivory Gull at close range — never an easy find here in June. With just 5 persons in our group, the birding and photography goals of each of us were well attended to. Our leader was professional and patient in balancing everyone’s needs. His many years of birding around Nome clearly helped us find nearly all the species we sought, as well as illuminating the ecology and culture of the region. Whether you’ve never taken a birding tour before or have taken many, I highly recommend Rich Cimino and Yellow-billed Tours.
Paul Adamus, Oregon
June 2017 Barrow Alaska: Thanks for leading such a great discovery of the birds of Barrow. We left very few stones unturned and I know you gave it all you had, thanks again.
Dave Sexton, Novato, Ca.
I went with Rich and Yellow-billed tours last June to Nome and Gambell for a total of days 8 days. My 2 friends and I had a good time and saw most of our target species including the Bristle-thighed Curlew and Bluethroat. I would certainly recommend him as guide and organizer. One item we liked most was the small group venue and the use of his four door Ford pick-up truck. If you have time, Anchorage is worth a few days, and a boat trip off the Kenai Peninsula is also excellent.
Michael, Oakland, Ca.
I want to thank you for the wonderful tour and fun time in Nome. It was the best! I look forward to another tour with you in the future. Adam and Martin were perfect traveling companions, a group of five that’s hard to beat. The birds and wildlife were pretty good too. And the Polar Cafe, my favorite!
Nancy Panther, Lone Pine California
Thanks.The Nome was planned well. Your passion and depth of knowledge mirrors your character and humor. Know that what you do and how you do it are appreciated! MP
Martin Powell, Lone Pine, California, 2016
Thank you for leading this great birding trip to Nome. I had a lot of fun and got 16 life birds! Thanks for the personal touch and all the extra like the hat and the extra morningof departure for the extra birding time.You did a great job! Hope to see you soon on another field trip.
Rich thanks for the great birding trip into Nome. The landscape and birds were wonderful. All the life birds especially the Bristle-thighed Curlew is the one to remember.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought of going to Nome, Alaska, but after hearing Rich Cimino’s presentation at the Napa-Solano Chapter of the Audubon Society meeting, I was hooked. Soon after the meeting, I sent in my deposit for the May 2014 trip.
It was the trip of a lifetime. Rich took us on the three main roads out of Nome and each day we birded until we couldn’t bird any more. We also spend quite a bit of time birding in and around Nome. The scenery was fantastic and the trip was worry-free as Rich handled all of the logistics, including changing a flat tire at the Pilgrim River. Rich made sure that once a bird was sighted, that he kept the scope on it until everyone had a chance to see the bird. I came away with 45 new species of birds that I’d never seen before and learned that if you want to see new species, you need to go to new places! I highly recommend Rich’s tours to anyone who wants to see new bird species and wants to have a carefree birding trip where all the details are expertly handled. Thanks, Rich, for everything you did to make this trip fantastic.
Jane H., Vallejo, CA
Great birding trip. Great rooms and loved the meals. Loved the small group size. Francoise – 2014
** Gambell St. Lawrence Island Extension – By special request begins with the morning flight from Nome to Gambell. We have rooms at the Lodge in Gambell. The birding in Gambell is by foot or ORV – cost not covered in fee. The areas which are rich with Asian migrants are close walking distance from the lodge. We will frequent the Boneyard area which is a grave yard for harvested whales by the Yupik Villagers. This area is one of the first location where birds find land. This area has produced many great Asian migrants over the years. We’ll bird the huge breeding colonies of Alcids on the cliffs of the Chibukak Point. We can plan to spend as much time in these areas as you wish. Contact Rich Cimino for trip cost and air flight scheduling, clothing requirements and menu items.
*Other mammals we may see here and in other locations on our trip include Short-tailed Weasel, Spotted Seal, Harbor Porpoise, Walrus (immature), and others. Note:The sequence of the daily trips is subject to change due to weather or road conditions or rare bird sightings.
Contact Rich Cimino at 925-353-0266, or Yellowbilledtours@gmail.com to reserve a space on the June 20, 2020 field trip. Space is limited to four birders per field trip to assure you a comfortable field trip. Rich Cimino is your guide; he supplies the lodging, and field guide services. ORV transportation, fuel, Airfare and meals are not included.
Travel Safety & Comfort Advisories: Planning your clothing is important to reduce your luggage needs. During the YBT field trip you do not get dirty, one change of clothes is enough for the entire field trip. You will be responsible for carrying and loading your luggage. You can to bring your own scope. You are limited to small back pack to carry daily with your snack and misc. personal items. No large backpacks are needed on these day trips. Do not wear fragrances (lotions, aftershave, or colognes), which may attract bears. For client safety this trip cannot support handicapped persons or persons with significant hearing disabilities. If you have limited hearing or if you use two hearing aids, we need to discuss your limitations during the registration period. YBT uses four wheel drive, four-door Ford Pick-up trucks. These trucks have a high step up feature with no running boards. If you have a short step reach this may be uncomfortable. We need to discuss what YBT can do to offer assistance.
The photo above is from 2015 Bristle-thighed Curlew chase which was successful.