Alaska Winter Solstice Birding & Photo Tour

Dates:  December 12-21, 2018
Tour Fee: $4,010 double, $4,910 single
Leaders: Steve Shunk plus add'l local guide
Questions: Contact Paradise Birding owner Steve Shunk
How to Register: Click the button below to view and download the tour itinerary and registration form.


Tour Introduction

Several years ago, on a whim, we decided to spend Christmas in Alaska. It helped that a Rustic Bunting was being seen in the state, and it also helped that we have a friend who lives in Anchorage. But the trip was more about a nature quest. We found the same wild, magnificent land that we had visited in summer—only blanketed in winter white—and we found an amazing birding experience.

We enjoyed the trip so much that we decided to do it again, but we wanted to take it to the next level. Our second trip included participating in the Nome Christmas Bird Count (CBC). That’s right: Nome in winter. We wanted to repeat the excitement of our first winter trip to Alaska, but Nome offered the bonus of seeing the Mackay’s Bunting, almost the entire population of which overwinters on the Seward Peninsula. We knew our chances of seeing the bunting were good—over the years, an average of about 20 birds has been tallied for the Nome CBC. And we knew Nome had quality food and lodging. We made new friends and experienced a unique cultural environment in a resplendent winter setting, and we saw plenty of birds, including the bunting and Steve’s ‘life’ Willow Ptarmigan.

During that second trip, we spent extra days in Anchorage, immersed in swirling flocks of Bohemian Waxwings and running into redpolls and Pine Grosbeaks all over town. The snowy landscape only added to the magic. Upon returning home, we realized that we had stumbled upon our first official photography tour, and so here we are. Join us for winter solstice in Alaska and delight in a winter birding and photo experience like no other.

- Your Host and Trail Boss, Stephen Shunk

NOTE: We are billing this as a photography tour, but the trip lends itself to an equally exciting general birding experience, especially if you are a novice or aspiring photographer.


Steve is a fantastic guide, and has mad birding skills. Each day of the tour was filled with a personalized birding experience as well as good food, camaraderie, and fun. Steve and Christine are fantastic hosts, obviously enjoy what they do, and love sharing their passion for nature-travel with others. Aside from some 25 life birds for me, we saw Moose, a Lemming, Finback whales, Humpback Whales and Dahl’s Porpoise. This trip was my second with Paradise Birding and I’ve planned two more for 2015-Paradise Birding is the best!
— Carter Moore, California