Birding and Boating from Bethel, in Yup’ik Homeland


Trip 3.  Birding and Boating from Bethel, in Yup’ik Homeland

Dates: Saturday to Sunday, 22–23 June

Start and end times: 22 June (Saturday) 7:30 am depart Anchorage hotel; 23 June (Sunday) 10:00 pm return to Anchorage airport.

Cost: Total estimated cost is $820 per person. There is no AOS registration fee, because all reservations and costs will be handled directly by participants (see below), including:

  • Air ticket Anchorage-Bethel-Anchorage (currently $241 RT, not including discount—see below)
  • 1-night lodging ($150)
  • 2 boat outings ($150 each = $300)
  • Cab to-from Anchorage airport ($25 each way = $50, carpooling is encouraged)
  • 2 dinners, 1 breakfast (~$80 total)

Maximum participants: 6

Meals: Lunch and snacks included in Saturday and Sunday boat outings. Dinner on Saturday, breakfast and dinner on Sunday to be purchased at Bethel.

Trip Leader(s): Beverly Hoffman and John McDonald (Kuskokwim Wildlife Adventures, Bethel), Lili Naves (POC at Anchorage)

Trip Description: The community of Bethel, in southwestern Alaska, lies inside the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, which is among the richest bird areas in North America. For thousands of years, this area also has been the homeland of the indigenous Yup’ik people. Naturally, birds hold a special place in Yup’ik culture. This trip offers a unique blend of birding, nature, and Yup’ik culture. “Join us for two wonderful days in Yup’ik Eskimo Country on the Kuskokwim River. We love sharing our history, our knowledge, and our way of life with you.”—Beverly Hoffman

Likely species: Jaegers; Gray-cheeked Thrush; Northern Waterthrush; Yellow Warbler; Rusty Blackbird; Redpolls; Eastern Yellow Wagtail; Dark-eyed Junco; Pine Grosbeak; Northern Shrike; Tree, Bank, and Cliff swallows; Red-necked Phalarope; Wilson’s Snipe; Hudsonian Godwit; Greater, Lesser yellowlegs; American Wigeon; Northern Shoveler; Green-winged Teal; Common Goldeneye; Rough-legged Hawk; mosquitoes, Alaska-style; Northern Goshawk; moose, beaver, river otter


22 June 2019 (Sat)

  • Cab to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport 7:30 am
  • Alaska Airlines flight 43: depart Anchorage 10:15 am, arrive Bethel 11:30 am
  • Bev Hoffman will pick up folks at Bethel airport, check-in into Long House Hotel, then head to small boat harbor
  • 1-6 pm: nature and birding trip by boat at Kuskokwim River and Gweek River, several birding stops, includes deli lunch and snacks
  • Bev will drop off folks at Long House Hotel
  • Dinner on your own (suggested restaurants: Red Basket on site, or Snack Shack within walking distance of Long House)
  • Optional evening and early morning birding on your own (see local hotspots below)

23 June 2019 (Sun)

  • Breakfast: suggested restaurant Red Basket Restaurant within Long House Hotel
  • Bev will pick up folks at hotel for day trip, departure from Bethel small boat harbor
  • 10 am-4 pm: nature, birding, and cultural trip to the nearby village of Kwethluk and the Moravian Children Home, several birding stops, includes deli lunch and snacks
  • Bev will drop off folks for dinner (suggested restaurant: Fili’s), and later take them to airport
  • Alaska Airlines flight 46: depart Bethel 8:52 pm, arrive Anchorage 10:04 pm
  • Cab to Anchorage Hilton Hotel (or other selected hotel)

Book your trip in 4 steps:

1) Flight ticket ($241 as researched on 19 Nov 2018; obtain 5% discount on Alaska Airlines flights with discount code: ECMZ939; see for more information)

Alaska Airlines flight 43, 22 Jun 2019 (Sat), depart Anchorage 10:15 am, arrive Bethel 11:29 am

Alaska Airlines flight 46, 23 Jun 2019 (Sun), depart Bethel 8:52 pm, arrive Anchorage 10:04 pm

2) 1-night lodging at Bethel, 22 June ($150/person flat rate single- or double-occupancy)

Long House Hotel 751 3rd Ave, Bethel, AK 99559

Phone 907-543-4613.

3) 2 boat outings (22 and 23 June, $150 each = $300)

Kuskokwim Wilderness Adventures, phone: 907-543-3900

Beverly Hoffman and John McDonald

Kuskokwim Wilderness Adventures is a family owned business in Bethel, AK specializing in boat transportation on the Kuskokwim River and its tributaries. For 21 years, Bev Hoffman and John McDonald have been moving people to the nearby villages, picking up rafting parties, and providing nature and cultural tours. They operate safe and reliable Wooldridge riverboats that are comfortable in all types of weather, and captains that are licensed and experienced on the rivers in western Alaska.

4) Please inform Lili Naves about your booking, so she knows when this trip is full, phone 907-267-2302

Recommended gear and cautions: binoculars, spotting scope, rain gear, rubber boots, dress in layers for cold weather (winter hat, gloves), insect repellent, head net/bug jacket (Kuskokwim Wilderness Adventures can provide bug gear for boat outings), water bottle/thermos for hot beverage.

Other information:

Birding report for the Bethel area:

Additional local transportation in Bethel: Airport cab (907-543-5800), Kusko Cab (907-543-2169)

In case of emergency: City of Bethel Police Department (907-543-3781), Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Regional Hospital Emergency Room (907-543-6395)

Bethel’s birding hotspots:

  • Hangar Lake (east side of town): Red-necked Grebe, Pacific Loon
  • Small boat harbor and nearby wetlands: Gulls, terns, Wilson’s Snipe, Red-necked Phalarope
  • Tundra Trail off BIA Road: Pacific Golden-Plover, Least and Western Sandpiper, Long-tailed Jaeger, warblers, and sparrows
  • Mission Lake (behind the Moravian Church Pond): Greater Scaup, Red-necked Phalarope, Horned Grebe

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