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Plains_Rockies Trip of 2012
May- The Northern Great Plains Trip (19-30): We’d fly in and out of Salt Lake City and bird in a large loop. First, we’d visit incomparable Bear River NWR, home of zillions of breeding birds and also see May migrants passing through. It’s a truly amazing place! You never imagined so many Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Eared, Western and Clark’s Grebes, many breeding ducks, nesting avocets and stilts, pheasants and dozens more species.
On the back side of the lake is also great terrestrial birding, with Short-eared and Burrowing Owls, Sage Thrashers, Chukar, Gray Partridge, and many neat sparrows. This drive and the lake itself is also fantastic photography.
We’d then drive several hours north and visit Camas NWR in Central Idaho (right on I-15) and bird there for a morning. Next comes the national forest in Northern Idaho, some of the richest songbirding in the American West.
We’ll then cross into the fabulous State of Montana and visit Red Rock NWR, perhaps the most beautiful National Wildlife Refuge in America. Walking the old dirt road turns up all kinds of neat land birds, plus Moose and such. This is a place you won’t want to leave!
We then drive 2-3 hours north and stay in Great Falls, where we’ll bird Benson Lakes NWR, a real jewel. There are loads of nesting Yellow-headed Blackbirds, California and Franklin’s Gulls, Eared Grebes, Wilson’s Phalaropes and all kinds of beautiful waterfowl, like male Ruddy Ducks. Better still are the Chestnut-collared Longspurs flitting overhead, with fellow prairie birds like Upland Sandpipers, pheasants, Brewer’s Blackbirds, Western Meadowlarks and such.
Next is terrific birding around the City of Malta, where there’s Bowdoin NWR in one direction, with an amazing list of birds like Baird’s and Grasshopper Sparrows, Sprague’s Pipits, gobs of waterbirds and more longspurs. But in the other direction is Black Coulee NWR and an amazing drive to see great birds and beautiful country. Best species will be dozens of tame, courting McCown’s Longspurs, plus nesting Ferruginous Hawks, Lark Buntings, and many more short grass prairie birds.
South of Malta is expansive Paul Russell NWR, with Sharp-tailed Grouse, Mountain Plover and gobs more birds. It’s another one of those beautiful places with neat birds. Several good birding sites are just south of it, including one with Golden Eagles and another canyon with all kinds of western songbirds.
Finally, we’ll wind up at the entrance into Wyoming at 11,000 feet, with Black Rosy-Finches hopping along the snow. Soon, we’re in Yellowstone National Park and there are Bison and other large mammals everywhere, and mind-bending scenery. We’ll drive the Park roads, birding along the way, and continue south to see the Grand Tetons on our way back to Salt Lake. It will be a trip you’ll never forget!
The trip is eleven days and costs $2400.
PLEASE ONLY LIST INTEREST IN ONE TRIP PER E-MAIL!