Southern Manitoba & Churchill Birding Expedition

Trips & Tours // Sporting Events // 10 Days

Eco/Nature/Garden, Educational, National Parks, Sporting


A Birder’s delight as breeding will be well underway on the tundra and in the Boreal Forest.

A Birder’s delight as breeding will be well underway, with nesting Willow Ptarmigan, Hudsonian Godwit, American Golden-Plover, Stilt Sandpiper and many others on the tundra and in the Boreal Forest. The tour coincides with the migration of the species that breed in the High Arctic, such as Red Phalarope, Long-tailed and Pomarine Jaegers and Sabine’s Gull. Willow Ptarmigan and Smith’s Longspurs are on open tundra, Pacific Loons and eiders in ponds, shorebirds along shorelines, impressive numbers of waterbirds at Whitewater Lake including ibis and egrets, Nelson’s Sparrows and Sedge Wrens in marshes, Gray-cheeked Thrushes and Harris’s Sparrows in  stunted coniferous forests, and Black-backed and Three-toed Woodpeckers and Great Gray Owls in the Boreal Forest.

TAP Rating: TAP Deluxe


Highlights include:

  • Birding in Manitoba Canada
  • St. Ambroise Provincial Park
  • Douglas Marsh
  • Brandon Hills
  • Whitewater Lake
  • Riding Mountain National Park
  • Churchill River
  • Beluga Whales

Day 1 – June 01 - Arrival

Our Churchill and Southern Manitoba birding tour begins with arrival in Winnipeg and check-in at our hotel. We meet for dinner to discuss the adventure ahead and perhaps go birding for a few hours before retiring for the evening.                  

Overnight in Winnipeg – Courtyard Airport Marriott (B,L)

 

Day 2 - June 02 - St. Ambroise Park and the Douglas Marsh

Early in the morning we head west from Winnipeg, birding on route to St. Ambroise Provincial Park on the south shore of Lake Manitoba. This is a very rich area for birds, and we have a chance of finding a large number of species, including Western, Red-necked and Eared Grebes, rails, American Avocet, Willet, Upland Sandpiper, Forster’s Tern, Marsh and Sedge Wrens, Yellow-headed Blackbird, and Le Conte’s and Nelson’s Sparrows. Astonishingly high numbers of local breeding species such as Eastern and Western Kingbirds, Warbling Vireo, Baltimore Oriole, Gray Catbird, Eastern Wood-Pewee and Least Flycatcher occur along the ridges. Scarcer species include Orchard Oriole and Red-headed Woodpecker.

We then head west to our location for the night, at Brandon. After settling into our accommodations, after supper, we head for the Douglas Marsh, famous in the past for its Yellow Rails. Recently, however, the marsh has become less reliable for this enigmatic bird. We will try to induce one to sing, although there will be other species here to note, such as Soras, Wilson’s Snipe, Nelson’s Sparrows and Sedge Wrens. If the weather is not conducive for listening for Yellow Rails (such as windy conditions) then we will visit other locations in the area.                      

Overnight in Brandon – Lakeview Suites (B,L)

 

Day 3 – June 03 - Brandon Hills and Whitewater Lake

Today we drive south through the Brandon Hills, watching for Gray Partridge and Mountain Bluebirds and stopping at a wildlife management area to look for Sharp-tailed Grouse, Black-billed Cuckoo, Yellow-throated Vireo and Indigo Bunting. We then visit Whitewater Lake and other shallow lakes in the area, looking for migrant shorebirds and waterbirds not yet located. These lakes can teem with birds - grebes, shorebirds, waterfowl, pelicans, terns, herons with a patrolling Peregrine or two. White-faced Ibis are here, as are Great and Cattle Egrets and possibly the world’s largest Franklin’s Gull colony. We then head for the southwest corner of the province in search of mixed-grass prairie specialties such as Sprague’s Pipit, Vesper, Baird’s and Grasshopper Sparrows and Chestnut-collared Longspur. At day’s end we will have seen an impressive, wide and diverse array of species.                                                                                       

Overnight in Melita – Western Star (B,L)

 

Day 4 – June 04 - Prairie Birding and transfer to Riding Mountain NP

We will rise early today in order to be out before early morning winds start. We will look for those mixed-grass prairie specialties missed yesterday, as well as Swainson’s Hawks, widespread here, and Ferruginous Hawk which is regularly seen. We watch the overhead powerlines for Loggerhead Shrikes and we will catch up with species requiring a second look, perhaps Sharp-tailed Grouse, Upland Sandpiper and Marbled Godwit.

Then we drive north through the Oak Lake/Plum Marshes region and Minnedosa Pothole country. This area consists of native rolling mixed-grass prairie dotted with shallow and productive ponds and small lakes (“potholes”) and the area is home to at least 12 species of nesting waterfowl. Prairie shorebirds include American Avocet and Wilson’s Phalarope, and  potholes should provide good opportunities to view grebes, Yellow-headed Blackbirds and other wetland species. We then head for Riding Mountain National Park, arriving in late afternoon.                                                                                                                                      

Overnight at Riding Mountain National Park – Mooswa Resort (B,L)

 

Days 5 – June 05 -  Riding Mountain National Park

Today is a full day of birding in Riding Mountain National Park. This superb National Park rises out of the prairie to an elevation of 450 meters and the habitats here are rich and varied with over 260 species of birds recorded. Warblers abound, and we will look for many of so-called eastern species including Blackburnian, Mourning, Cape May, Magnolia, Black-throated Green and Golden-winged. Western species include Western Wood-Pewee, and boreal species include Spruce Grouse, Great Gray Owl, Gray Jay and both Black-backed and Three-toed Woodpeckers. As always, we will be on the lookout for mammals such as Black Bear, Elk and Moose.

Overnight in Riding Mountain National Park – Mooswa Resort (B,L)

 

Day 6 – June 06 - Transfer to Winnipeg

Today we spend the morning searching for species not yet found, perhaps Evening Grosbeak or Olive-sided Flycatcher and then we leave the park and head south to Neepawa, where Wild Turkeys are a possibility and where a huge Purple Martin colony occurs. Time permitting, we make a brief stop at the Portage la Prairie dump, looking for California Gull.                              

Overnight in Winnipeg – Courtyard Airport Marriott (B,L)

 

Days – 7, 8, 9 & 10 - Churchill

On Day 7, we fly to Churchill in the morning and settle into our accommodations before heading out in search of specialties. Our days will be organized around weather conditions and reports of target birds. On one or more days, we explore the Cape Merry area where the Churchill River flows out into Hudson Bay. Depending upon ice conditions in the river, groups of Pacific and Red-throated Loons and waterfowl should be present including such possible delights as Harlequin and even a King Eider. Jaegers hitch rides on ice-flows, and among the Parasitics may be a superb adult Long-tailed Jaeger or Pomarine Jaeger.

Along with the frenetic bird activity, we may have the opportunity to watch Beluga Whales riding the rising tide. Shorebirds destined for the high arctic mix with newly arrived locally breeding species. At high water we check the Granary Ponds for roosting shorebirds, Snow Buntings and Lapland Longspurs. We may revisit this spectacular area, looking for Sabine’s Gull among the throngs of birds and maybe an Arctic Hare among the ancient lichen encrusted rocks of the Cape.

We visit Akudlik Marsh, where Ross’s Gulls were first found nesting and then head east along the road passing through both wet and dry tundra. Nesting shorebirds will be in full cry. Stilt Sandpipers hee-haw overhead, Whimbrels, Short-billed Dowitchers and Lesser Yellowlegs will be in display flights, while other species such as Hudsonian Godwit and Dunlin abound. The Churchill dump may host an unusual gull or two and Sandhill Cranes nest close by.

We visit Goose Creek Road area alongside the Churchill River. In a variety of habitats, we search for Three-toed Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadee, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Northern Shrike, Bohemian Waxwing, Pine Grosbeak, Fox and Harris’s Sparrows and some of the more common wood warblers such as Tennessee, Blackpoll and Orange-crowned. Along the river shorebirds can be numerous and Little Gulls sometimes occur at the end of the road.In the Twin Lakes area, we search for boreal and tundra species such as Rough-legged Hawk, Spruce Grouse, Smith’s Longspur and White-winged Crossbill. As usual, shorebirds are abundant, including breeding American Golden-Plovers. Willow Ptarmigan will be seen alongside the gravel road. There is always the chance of Northern Hawk Owl, which has nested in this area. Also we take a look around Town, providing an opportunity to purchase souvenirs and to visit the Eskimo Museum. We’ll catch our return flight on the evening of Day 10 to Winnipeg.

Overnights in Churchill – Polar Inn –  Days 7, 8 & 9 (B,L,D)

                                                                                      

Overnight Winnipeg – Courtyard Airport Marriott – Day 10 (B,L)

 

 

Day 11-June 11: Return Home                                                                                                                 

This morning transfer to Winnipeg International Airport for our return flight home (B)

Departure Date: Tour Status: Price Per Person (U.S. Dollars):
D
S
T
June 1, 2017 Available Scheduled$5,995$6,595Call

Arrival Instructions

Arrive to Winnipeg, MB by 4:00PM via Winnipeg Richardson International Airport(YWG)


Departure Instructions

Depart from Winnipeg, MB after 10:00AM via Winnipeg Richardson International Airport(YWG)


Payment Policy

Deposit: $ 500.00 per person due at time of booking - final payment due 90 days prior to departure


Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be made in writing and sent to Leisure West Tours & Cruises at the address shown below. If the trip is canceled due to insufficient bookings prior to March 1, 2017, a full refund will be given. Optional medical/travel protection plans are available through Leisure West Tours & Cruises. If you desire information on the travel protection plans, please request information on the reservation form. Please note that all costs are based on a minimum of ten (10) paying participants. Should the number of participants fall below this number, all participants will be contacted and given the option of paying an additional supplement or cancellation with full refund. There is a maximum of fourteen participants on this trip.

Included:

•             10 nights’ hotel accommodation

•             Breakfast and lunch daily

•             2 guides and 2 vans for up to 14 passengers

•             Entrance fees for parks and reserves

•             Round trip airfare between Winnipeg and Churchill

 

Not Included:

•             Airfare to and from home city and Winnipeg

•             Travel and medical protection plan

•             Evening meals

•             Gratuities for drivers and guides

•             Items of a personal  nature

Itinerary

Day 1 – June 01 - Arrival

Our Churchill and Southern Manitoba birding tour begins with arrival in Winnipeg and check-in at our hotel. We meet for dinner to discuss the adventure ahead and perhaps go birding for a few hours before retiring for the evening.                  

Overnight in Winnipeg – Courtyard Airport Marriott (B,L)

 

Day 2 - June 02 - St. Ambroise Park and the Douglas Marsh

Early in the morning we head west from Winnipeg, birding on route to St. Ambroise Provincial Park on the south shore of Lake Manitoba. This is a very rich area for birds, and we have a chance of finding a large number of species, including Western, Red-necked and Eared Grebes, rails, American Avocet, Willet, Upland Sandpiper, Forster’s Tern, Marsh and Sedge Wrens, Yellow-headed Blackbird, and Le Conte’s and Nelson’s Sparrows. Astonishingly high numbers of local breeding species such as Eastern and Western Kingbirds, Warbling Vireo, Baltimore Oriole, Gray Catbird, Eastern Wood-Pewee and Least Flycatcher occur along the ridges. Scarcer species include Orchard Oriole and Red-headed Woodpecker.

We then head west to our location for the night, at Brandon. After settling into our accommodations, after supper, we head for the Douglas Marsh, famous in the past for its Yellow Rails. Recently, however, the marsh has become less reliable for this enigmatic bird. We will try to induce one to sing, although there will be other species here to note, such as Soras, Wilson’s Snipe, Nelson’s Sparrows and Sedge Wrens. If the weather is not conducive for listening for Yellow Rails (such as windy conditions) then we will visit other locations in the area.                      

Overnight in Brandon – Lakeview Suites (B,L)

 

Day 3 – June 03 - Brandon Hills and Whitewater Lake

Today we drive south through the Brandon Hills, watching for Gray Partridge and Mountain Bluebirds and stopping at a wildlife management area to look for Sharp-tailed Grouse, Black-billed Cuckoo, Yellow-throated Vireo and Indigo Bunting. We then visit Whitewater Lake and other shallow lakes in the area, looking for migrant shorebirds and waterbirds not yet located. These lakes can teem with birds - grebes, shorebirds, waterfowl, pelicans, terns, herons with a patrolling Peregrine or two. White-faced Ibis are here, as are Great and Cattle Egrets and possibly the world’s largest Franklin’s Gull colony. We then head for the southwest corner of the province in search of mixed-grass prairie specialties such as Sprague’s Pipit, Vesper, Baird’s and Grasshopper Sparrows and Chestnut-collared Longspur. At day’s end we will have seen an impressive, wide and diverse array of species.                                                                                       

Overnight in Melita – Western Star (B,L)

 

Day 4 – June 04 - Prairie Birding and transfer to Riding Mountain NP

We will rise early today in order to be out before early morning winds start. We will look for those mixed-grass prairie specialties missed yesterday, as well as Swainson’s Hawks, widespread here, and Ferruginous Hawk which is regularly seen. We watch the overhead powerlines for Loggerhead Shrikes and we will catch up with species requiring a second look, perhaps Sharp-tailed Grouse, Upland Sandpiper and Marbled Godwit.

Then we drive north through the Oak Lake/Plum Marshes region and Minnedosa Pothole country. This area consists of native rolling mixed-grass prairie dotted with shallow and productive ponds and small lakes (“potholes”) and the area is home to at least 12 species of nesting waterfowl. Prairie shorebirds include American Avocet and Wilson’s Phalarope, and  potholes should provide good opportunities to view grebes, Yellow-headed Blackbirds and other wetland species. We then head for Riding Mountain National Park, arriving in late afternoon.                                                                                                                                      

Overnight at Riding Mountain National Park – Mooswa Resort (B,L)

 

Days 5 – June 05 -  Riding Mountain National Park

Today is a full day of birding in Riding Mountain National Park. This superb National Park rises out of the prairie to an elevation of 450 meters and the habitats here are rich and varied with over 260 species of birds recorded. Warblers abound, and we will look for many of so-called eastern species including Blackburnian, Mourning, Cape May, Magnolia, Black-throated Green and Golden-winged. Western species include Western Wood-Pewee, and boreal species include Spruce Grouse, Great Gray Owl, Gray Jay and both Black-backed and Three-toed Woodpeckers. As always, we will be on the lookout for mammals such as Black Bear, Elk and Moose.

Overnight in Riding Mountain National Park – Mooswa Resort (B,L)

 

Day 6 – June 06 - Transfer to Winnipeg

Today we spend the morning searching for species not yet found, perhaps Evening Grosbeak or Olive-sided Flycatcher and then we leave the park and head south to Neepawa, where Wild Turkeys are a possibility and where a huge Purple Martin colony occurs. Time permitting, we make a brief stop at the Portage la Prairie dump, looking for California Gull.                              

Overnight in Winnipeg – Courtyard Airport Marriott (B,L)

 

Days – 7, 8, 9 & 10 - Churchill

On Day 7, we fly to Churchill in the morning and settle into our accommodations before heading out in search of specialties. Our days will be organized around weather conditions and reports of target birds. On one or more days, we explore the Cape Merry area where the Churchill River flows out into Hudson Bay. Depending upon ice conditions in the river, groups of Pacific and Red-throated Loons and waterfowl should be present including such possible delights as Harlequin and even a King Eider. Jaegers hitch rides on ice-flows, and among the Parasitics may be a superb adult Long-tailed Jaeger or Pomarine Jaeger.

Along with the frenetic bird activity, we may have the opportunity to watch Beluga Whales riding the rising tide. Shorebirds destined for the high arctic mix with newly arrived locally breeding species. At high water we check the Granary Ponds for roosting shorebirds, Snow Buntings and Lapland Longspurs. We may revisit this spectacular area, looking for Sabine’s Gull among the throngs of birds and maybe an Arctic Hare among the ancient lichen encrusted rocks of the Cape.

We visit Akudlik Marsh, where Ross’s Gulls were first found nesting and then head east along the road passing through both wet and dry tundra. Nesting shorebirds will be in full cry. Stilt Sandpipers hee-haw overhead, Whimbrels, Short-billed Dowitchers and Lesser Yellowlegs will be in display flights, while other species such as Hudsonian Godwit and Dunlin abound. The Churchill dump may host an unusual gull or two and Sandhill Cranes nest close by.

We visit Goose Creek Road area alongside the Churchill River. In a variety of habitats, we search for Three-toed Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadee, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Northern Shrike, Bohemian Waxwing, Pine Grosbeak, Fox and Harris’s Sparrows and some of the more common wood warblers such as Tennessee, Blackpoll and Orange-crowned. Along the river shorebirds can be numerous and Little Gulls sometimes occur at the end of the road.In the Twin Lakes area, we search for boreal and tundra species such as Rough-legged Hawk, Spruce Grouse, Smith’s Longspur and White-winged Crossbill. As usual, shorebirds are abundant, including breeding American Golden-Plovers. Willow Ptarmigan will be seen alongside the gravel road. There is always the chance of Northern Hawk Owl, which has nested in this area. Also we take a look around Town, providing an opportunity to purchase souvenirs and to visit the Eskimo Museum. We’ll catch our return flight on the evening of Day 10 to Winnipeg.

Overnights in Churchill – Polar Inn –  Days 7, 8 & 9 (B,L,D)

                                                                                      

Overnight Winnipeg – Courtyard Airport Marriott – Day 10 (B,L)

 

 

Day 11-June 11: Return Home                                                                                                                 

This morning transfer to Winnipeg International Airport for our return flight home (B)

Pricing & Availability

Inclusions

Included:

•             10 nights’ hotel accommodation

•             Breakfast and lunch daily

•             2 guides and 2 vans for up to 14 passengers

•             Entrance fees for parks and reserves

•             Round trip airfare between Winnipeg and Churchill

 

Not Included:

•             Airfare to and from home city and Winnipeg

•             Travel and medical protection plan

•             Evening meals

•             Gratuities for drivers and guides

•             Items of a personal  nature



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