Eastern Shore & Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel
January 10-14, 2019
So-called “Tidewater” Virginia is comprised of two parts: the wide, low coastal plain, cut by meandering rivers into long peninsulas, which forms the western shoreline of Chesapeake Bay; and the “Eastern Shore,” the Virginia portion of the Delmarva Peninsula (containing portions of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia), which forms the eastern shoreline of the Bay. Where the coastal plain meets the ocean there are barrier islands with wide beaches and sand dunes. Behind these lie salt and brackish marshes and shallow bays with wintering waterfowl and other water birds.
‘Owls & Winter Finches’
February 1-6, 2019
A trip to northern Minnesota in the dead of winter may beggar belief for the average person, but for birders, this is the best time of year to see the highly-sought after northern owls (Great Gray, Snowy, Northern Hawk, and sometimes Boreal and Northern Saw-whet). The list of winter finches adds additional highlights with Common & Hoary Redpolls, Pine & Evening Grosbeaks, and Red Crossbill all likely. Winter provides a much better chance of seeing things like Spruce Grouse in addition to the expected gamut of Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Black-backed Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, Bohemian Waxwing and more. We will also be on the lookout for any mammals, with moose and gray wolf both being possible.
Hummingbirds, Trogons, Sparrows, & More
July 7-16, 2019
This is the best time of year for such targets as Montezuma Quail and Botteri’s & Cassin’s Sparrows, which are at their most vocal. Southeastern Arizona is also known as the “hummingbird capital of the US” with 15 species being possible, including Rivoli’s (recently split from Magnificent), Broad-billed, Violet-crowned, Calliope, Blue-throated, and Lucifer Hummingbirds, with such rarities as Plain-capped Starthroat, White-eared and Berylline Hummingbirds appearing with some regularity in recent years. This is a great time in general for Mexican vagrants to show up, and parts of our itinerary will remain fluid to give us the best chance at finding whatever exciting birds happen to be around. Tufted Flycatcher, Flame-colored Tanager, Rufous-capped Warbler and even Eared Quetzal are possible!
October 29 – November 3, 2019
The uncommon and very hard-to-see Yellow Rail (we saw over 20 in an afternoon on our 2015 & 2016 trips!) will be the star of the show and we should see them from atop the combines as we move through the field, harvesting the late season of rice. Soras, Virginia and King Rails are all likely as well in the fields and there’s always the chance of seeing Le Conte’s, Nelson’s, and Grasshopper Sparrows. This tour will be at a relaxed pace and there will be plenty of time to thoroughly explore the agricultural fields, coastal marshes, gulf beaches, and pineywoods for an assortment of raptors, waterfowl, shorebirds, sparrows, and overwintering warblers, all the while enjoying a taste of authentic Cajun cuisine complete with crawfish, jambalaya, gumbo, and live music.