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Barrow, Alaska:

Bird Photography on the Edge of the World!


June 7 -  13, 2020 - SOLD OUT

June 7 - 13, 2021

Why Barrow for birds?  Barrow is home to many highly sought, specialty bird species found only in the high arctic.  It is the best place in North America to photograph many of the high arctic nesting birds.  There are few places where one could expect to see all four species of eiders, all three species of jaeger or three species of loons without tallying a Common Loon.  At Barrow you have a good chance of doing all three!

In addition to the above desired species Barrow is also home to an array of arctic nesting shorebirds, many of which exhibit fascinating breeding displays.  You will be blown away by the multitude of amazing behaviors if you have never before experienced shorebirds on their breeding grounds.  And, if that were not enough singing Lapland Longspurs and Snow Buntings both in full breeding plumage are the most common passerines at Barrow.  Throw in the possibility of photographing Sabine’s Gulls and the magnificent Snowy Owl and you will be hard pressed to think of a more interesting destination for birds.  And, all of this is within reach  in a town that has learned to cater to the tourism that comes with being located at the northern most point in the United States.   Daily flights with Alaska Airlines from Anchorage via Fairbanks make getting to Barrow a snap.


Once we arrive in Barrow, you can relax knowing that you will have no additional out of pocket expenses on this all inclusive tour.*  We will find exceptional modern accommodations at our hotel, good food at a number of restaurants, and a full grocery.  We stay at the nicest hotel in town and your meals are taken care of leaving you to enjoy this ultimate arctic experience.

Brian is intimately familiar with the birds of the arctic tundra from multiple previous

Tour Details

Price: $4,399 per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: $425
Included: Expert Photography Guide, Photography Tips and Tricks, Ground Transportation in Barrow, Lodging at the King Eider Inn, the nicest hotel in Barrow, All Meals from Dinner on Day 1 to Breakfast on Final Day, $150 Land Use Permit
Not Included: Passport Fees, Visa Fees, Flights to and from Barrow's Wiley Post–Will Rogers Memorial Airport  (BRW), Personal Items
From: Barrow, Alaska
Participant Limit: 6 (3/leader)
Activity Level: High
Deposit: $1,000 per person is required to hold your spot on this tour (with your registartion form)

Balance: Due by March 7, 2021


Download Registration Form


To book your space on the tour, please contact us at info@sabrewingnaturetours.com

Tour Leaders
Brian Zwiebel
Tyler Ficker

trips to Barrow, AK where he has witnessed a multitude of fascination behaviors, some of which are not described in the ornithological literature.

Your leader will work extremely hard to get you into the right position to make the best images possible but, you will learn much more than simply how to get close to your subject.   You’ll also learn how to use the light and wind angles to full advantage to successfully capture images of action and behavior.  Your leader will point out opportunities to improve compositions and will warn of any pitfalls that could reduce the success of your images.  The small group size and super low student to instructor ratio will insure the best possible opportunities for each participant.  Along the way Brian will share with you natural history anecdotes and first-hand experiences of many of the species you encounter.

Join Brian in Barrow and learn to take your photography to the next level!

Equipment:  Bring your longest telephoto lens and matching teleconverters.  A 500mm or 600mm lens is preferred but a 400mm lenses with a teleconverter  and/or one of the small sensor cameras (1.5 or 1.6x crop) will provide ample magnification for a great number of opportunities.   If your longest lens is 400mm then you likely are used to having your subject a little smaller in the frame.  We will discuss how to make pleasing compositions when the subject is not frame filling.  A wider lens will come in handy for fully documenting your trip and taking the required tourist snap shots around town.  Chest waders are highly recommended for this tour.  We will be happy to provide suggestions as to which style might be best for you.


Physical Activity:  Walking in waders over soft tundra while carrying heavy camera gear is not your typical walk in the park.   Brief periods of strenuous activity should be expected but slow and steady wins the race.  A number of previous clients have arrived in Barrow with some nervousness about their physical abilities.  Each left proud of their efforts and with new found confidence in their abilities.  Various shorebirds and songbirds as well as some ducks and loons may be photographed quite close to the road.  This workshop may not be for you if you have knee or back problems or otherwise have difficulty with off trail walking while carrying your camera gear.


Daily Schedule: The never setting sun presents additional challenges.  In short order we will adapt our shooting schedule to "tundra time".  Our day will be split into a sometimes short (or non existent) night's sleep with a longer mid-day break in order to take full advantage of the best light.  While not easy, the results will be spectacular and there will be time to catch up on sleep when the ice fog rolls in.


Likely Species on the Barrow Birds Workshop: (Species in BOLD are species most frequently photographed on the trip)

  • Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata)

  • Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica)

  • Yellow-billed Loon (Gavia adamsii)

  • Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus)

  • Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) 

  • Brant (Branta bernicla)

  • Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis)

  • Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

  • Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)

  • Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

  • Greater Scaup (Aythya marila)

  • King Eider (Somateria spectabilis)

  • Spectacled Eider (Somateria fischeri)

  • Steller's Eider (Polysticta stelleri)

  • Common Eider (Somateria mollissima)

  • Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis)

  • American Golden-Plover (Pluvialis dominica)

  • Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)

  • Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis)

  • Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus)

  • Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)

  • Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla)

  • Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri)

  • Baird's Sandpiper (Calidris bairdii) 

  • White-rumped Sandpiper

  • Buff-breasted Sandpiper

  • Ruddy Turnstone

  • Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos)

  • Dunlin (Calidris alpina)

  • Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)

  • Red Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius)

  • Pomarine Jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus)

  • Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus)

  • Long-tailed Jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus)

  • Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus)

  • American Herring Gull (Larus smithsonianus incl. Vegae subspecies)

  • Sabine's Gull (Xema sabini)

  • Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)

  • Black Guillemot (Cepphus grylle)

  • Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus)

  • Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

  • Common Redpoll (Carduelis flammea)

  • Hoary Redpoll (Carduelis hornemanni)

  • Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)

  • Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus)

  • Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis)