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North Country Birds: Birding in the Superior National Forest

Program Number: 2216RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/2/2013 - 6/8/2013;
Duration: 6 nights
Location: Ely, Minnesota
Price starting at: $828.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Birding
Meals: 16; 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt; Low Fat    

The varied woodland, wetland and lake habitats of the Superior National Forest support 155 species of birds, yielding more diversity than any other national forest. With birding instructors who have more than 15 years of experience, explore the southern edge of this boreal forest to study birds in nesting territories. This is the ideal time of year to learn bird songs, identification, habitats and feeding behaviors.




Highlights

• During early morning field trips, expect to encounter approximately 100 species including Common Loon, Bald Eagle, Grey Jay and Raven.
• Observe up to eight species of flycatchers, several thrushes and vireos, kinglets, and 20 species of warblers, including the Connecticut.
• Small groups for field trips — usually 8-10 participants per instructor — and total group maximum of 18.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles a day on uneven terrain; entering/ exiting passenger van.



So you can get the most out of your experience, all of our birding programs have a maximum participant-to-instructor ratio of 14:1.



Coordinated by Vermilion Community College.




Ely

The Superior National Forest, stretching 150 miles along the U.S.-Canada border, encompasses a variety of wildlife and terrain, including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Ely is the area’s quaint but bustling gateway.



Accommodations
Rustic lakeshore cabins. Private cabins (one bath) for double-occupancy participants; up to three single-occupancy bedrooms share cabin with single bath.
Meals and Lodgings
   Outdoor Learning Center
  Ely, MN 6 nights
 Outdoor Learning Center
Type: Cabin
  Description: This facility was formerly a family-run resort. Located on US Forest Service land, it now accommodates participants enrolled in educational programs.
  Contact info: 3255 Fernberg Trail
Ely, MN 55731 USA
phone: 218-365-4613
  Room amenities: The small cabins and apartment are furnished simply. Each has a living room, a kitchenette (stove/oven, sink, refrigerator, but no dishes), a bathroom (sink, toilet, shower) and one to three single or double occupancy bedrooms. The apartment has a tub.
  Facility amenities: Quaint cabins are within 100 feet of the lake. Site features short walking trail, canoes, and a beach.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: In six of the cabins, the bathroom in each cabin is shared by up to two participants, while in the the other two cabins and the apartment, it may be shared by up to three participants. One bathroom features a bathtub, while the other eight have a shower.
  Additional nights prior: Approximately $40 per person. Please call 218-235-2164 to make arrangements and find out current price.
  Check in time: 3:30 PM
  Additional nights after: Approximately $40 per person. Please call 218-235-2164 to make arrangements and find out current price.
  Check out time: 9:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:30 PM at the facility near Ely, MN. You will be staying at Outdoor Learning Center that night.
  End of Program:
After 6:30 AM breakfast, but before the 9:00 AM checkout time at the facility near Ely, MN. You will be staying at Outdoor Learning Center the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Participants must complete a supplemental information form and sign an informed consent to participate. These forms must be returned to the program provider prior to the start of the program. Participants should bring a valid ID such as a driver's license.
  Parking availability:
Parking is free at the site.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Ely, MN
  Nearest city or town:  Ely, MN
  Nearest highway: Highway 169
  Nearest airport:  Duluth, MN (DLH)
  From End of Program
  Location: Ely, MN
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Ely

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Vermilion Ely-Duluth Shuttle
phone: 218-235-2164
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$40
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

2 1/4 hours 

   

The shuttle runs only once, leaving the program site at 8:15 AM on Saturday, and arriving to the Duluth International Airport by 10:30 AM.

 

Ely

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Vermilion Duluth-Ely Shuttle
phone: 218-235-2164
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$40
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

2 1/4 hours 

   

The shuttle runs only once, leaving the Duluth International Airport at 1:30 PM on Sunday, and arriving to the program site at approximately 4:00 PM.

 
Driving Directions
  An Overview There are several ways to reach Ely. Choose a route that meets your time constraints and desire for sightseeing. The driving times indicated are all approximate, depending upon traffic conditions, your driving speed, and the number of times you stop.
  Duluth (option 1) Quickest Route from Duluth (2 hours) Take Highway 53 North to Virginia. Just after passing Virginia exits, take Highway 169 to Ely.
  Duluth (option 2) Scenic Route from Duluth (2 1/2 hours) Head northeast on the Highway 61 "Expressway" along the shore of Lake Superior. Once you reach the northeast end of Two Harbors, take County Road 2 North to its intersection with Highway 1. Follow Highway 1 northwest into Ely (turn left onto Highway 1).
  Duluth (option 3) Most Scenic Route from Duluth (3 1/2 hours) Start out of Duluth on Highway 61 but take the immediate right-hand turn onto the "Scenic Northshore Drive". This road closely follows along the shore of the lake and ends at Two Harbors where it intersects Highway 61. Follow Highway 61 north until you reach its intersection (marked "Illgen City") with Highway 1. Follow Highway 1 northwest until you reach Ely.
  Minneapolis/St. Paul Quickest Route from Minneapolis/St. Paul (5 hours) Take I-35 north to the Cloquet exit where you will join up with Highway 33 North. Highway 33 will merge into Highway 53 North. Just after passing Virginia exits, take Highway 169 to Ely. You avoid Duluth with this route.
  Minneapolis/St. Paul (variation) The trip from Minneapolis/St. Paul can include any of the scenic routes from Duluth described above if I-35 is taken all the way to Duluth. This adds to the total trip time, which will then be over 5 hours. (Duluth is approximately 2 1/2 hours from Minneapolis/St. Paul.)
  Once in Ely Once in Ely, follow these instructions to get to the Outdoor Learning Center. Starting from the Ely Chamber of Commerce (a log building on the east end of town) travel northeast 3.5 miles on 169. You will pass the small town of Winton on your left. (From the green highway sign marking Winton, the Outdoor Learning Center driveway is 1.5 miles.) Due to sign set-back rules, the Outdoor Learning Center is not well marked, so watch your odometer. Across from the lefthand driveway is a small, green official roadsign. As you turn into the driveway, you will see a white sign announcing "Vermilion Outdoor Learning Center." If you reach a road sign that indicates "End 169" you have gone too far by about 1/3 of a mile.
  Supplemental Road Information A) I-35 is a standard Interstate B) Highways 33 and 53 are divided 4-lane highways C) Highway 169 is a 2-lane highway D) Highway 61 is a divided 4-lane highway from Duluth to Two Harbors on the "Expressway"; beyond Two Harbors it is a 2-lane road E) County Road 2 is a well-maintained 2-lane road F) Highway 1 is a 2-lane road with many twists and turns, but it is very scenic; people sometimes occasionally see moose and other wildlife on this road
Equipment Requirements: Binoculars are required.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival / Orientation
(Sunday, June 2)
   
 Afternoon: Plan to arrive between 3:30 PM and 5:00 PM.
 Dinner: Enjoy meeting your fellow program participants over a hearty dinner.
 Evening: Welcome and orientation with introductions is held in the classroom.
   
Accommodations: Outdoor Learning Center
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Birding Field Trip / Lectures / Optional Evening Paddle
(Monday, June 3)
   
 Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast, at 5:30 AM to get a good start on the day.
 Morning: Explore different habitat types on a birding field trip.
 Lunch: Enjoy a lunch.
 Afternoon: Scheduled are presentations on northeastern Minnesota plants, habitats, and birds.
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner in the company of fellow birders.
 Evening: Learn or review canoeing skills in an optional canoeing introduction followed by a paddle on Fall Lake.
   
Accommodations: Outdoor Learning Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Birding Field Trip / Free Afternoon / Optional Field Trip to Local Point of Interest
(Tuesday, June 4)
   
 Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast, at 5:30 AM to get a good start on the day.
 Morning: Explore different habitat types on a birding field trip.
 Lunch: Enjoy a lunch.
 Afternoon: Explore Ely, area trails, or other options during an afternoon of free time on your own.
 Dinner: Choose a restaurant in Ely to enjoy a dinner on your own.
 Evening: Enjoy some free time, followed by a late evening night bird field trip. On your free time, perhaps take in Ely's Tuesday Night Live. Enjoy one of several performances by local musicians sharing a variety of musical styles. This is a perfect night for exploring the quaint town of Ely.
   
Accommodations: Outdoor Learning Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Full Day Birding Field Trip
(Wednesday, June 5)
   
 Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast, at 5:30 AM to get a good start on the day.
 Morning: Explore different habitat types on an extended birding field trip in the Superior National Forest.
 Lunch: Eat a picnic lunch in the field.
 Afternoon: Continue to explore different habitat types on birding field trip.
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner.
 Evening: Enjoy an evening on your own, relaxing or pursuing other options.
   
Accommodations: Outdoor Learning Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Morning Field Trip / Evening Presentation
(Thursday, June 6)
   
 Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast, at 5:30 AM to get a good start on the day.
 Morning: Explore different habitat types on a birding field trip.
 Lunch: Eat a picnic lunch in the field.
 Afternoon: Enjoy free time on your own, or a field trip to one of several locations, which may include the Soudan Underground Mine, the International Wolf Center, the North American Bear Center, the Dorothy Molter Museum, or the Ely-Winton History Museum.
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner.
 Evening: Enjoy a program on a regional topic of interest and presented by a local person.
   
Accommodations: Outdoor Learning Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Birding Field Trips / Closing Ceremony
(Friday, June 7)
   
 Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast, at 5:30 AM to get a good start on the day.
 Morning: Explore different habitat types on a birding field trip.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch, likely in the field.
 Afternoon: Explore different habitat types on a birding field trip.
 Dinner: Enjoy your final evening meal.
 Evening: Participate in the closing ceremonies.
   
Accommodations: Outdoor Learning Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Check-Out and Departure
(Saturday, June 8)
   
 Breakfast: Enjoy a Continental Breakfast prior to departure.
 Morning: Be checked out of your cabin by 9:00 AM.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Ely, MN Ely and the region
The town of Ely and the region surrounding it offer many activities to visitors. Explore the website of the Ely Chamber of Commerce to find out more. For additional information, visit www.ely.org
  International Wolf Center
The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wild lands and the human role in their future. In addition to the award-winning exhibit, there are interpretive programs, and a pack of live wolves. For additional information, visit www.wolf.org
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Canoe Country Flora: Plants and Trees of the North Woods and Boundary Waters


Author: Mark Stensaas


Description: Introduces you to 96 of the most common trees, shrubs, wildflowers, fungi, ferns, lichens, and other plants you're likely to encounter during your travels north.



Canoe Country Wildlife: A Field Guide to the Boundary Waters and Quetico


Author: Mark Stensaas


Description: This enjoyable book highlights the important animals found in this region.



Tales from Jackpine Bob


Author: Bob Cary


Description: Imagine sitting near a crackling fire in a clearing surrounded by tall pines. A mug of hot coffee warms your hands. All that's needed is a tale from Jackpine Bob.





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