I've recently returned from a successful trip to Gambell (St Lawrence Island) - the outermost fringe of western Alaska, where you really CAN see Russia, less than 40 miles away!
What brought me here the first time was the prospect of seeing Asian vagrants while still in North America. What brings me back is the unique opportunity to live in a Yup'ik village for a few weeks - and of course the birds. This spring it was Common (Siberian) Chiffchaff, one of only a handful of North American records,
and Eyebrowed Thrush, to name just 3 of the amazing list of spring vagrants this year.
But beyond the excitement of birding on the edge, there is for me, a growing interest and respect for the native Yup'ik people, deeply connected to the land and animals.
Many talented ivory carvers reside in Gambell and for me, a high point of the day is viewing the pieces they bring in. This year, I worked with several carvers to create fossilized bone and ivory beads and pendants that I plan to use in future designs.
Check back soon to see what they've become!