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Birding the Land Between the Rivers and Exploring the Southern Illinois Wine Trail

Program Number: 13609RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/7/2013 - 10/10/2013;
Duration: 3 nights
Location: Carbondale, Illinois
Price starting at: $499.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Birding
Meals: 8; 3 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 3 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Traverse hills and hollows, diverse ecological areas of the Shawnee National Forest and wetlands of the Cache River State Natural Area in this “Land Between the Rivers” where the Mississippi and Ohio converge. Led by expert birding instructors, learn about field identification, life histories, binocular use and other techniques as you look for resident species and seasonal visitors. Then go from grape to bottle with vintners who share their expertise and give you a taste of their flavorful wines.




Highlights

• Take extensive birding field trips that vary by season. In spring look for neo-tropical migrants and nesting bird species such as warblers, tanagers, and flycatchers; in the fall search for warblers, woodpeckers, raptors and waterfowl. Plus an evening “Owl Prowl.”
• Explore 300 million-year-old sandstone bluffs and a native cypress-tupelo swamp at the Heron Pond Nature Preserve and Cache River State Natural Area.
• Go “behind the vines” at two wineries to meet and talk with expert vintners, taste wines, and keep your eyes peeled for bird species on these beautiful properties.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles a day.



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.




Date Specific Information

10-7-2013

Experience the changing of seasons as Fall colors brighten the landscape throughout the forest and wetlands. Fall warblers, raptors, and waterfowl are at their peak of migration through the area.



Coordinated by Land for Learning Institute.




Carbondale

This vibrant college town in southern Illinois is a gateway to the area's highlights, including the Shawnee National Forest, a preserve of magnificent sandstone cliffs, lowland fields and abundant wildlife. The region's hills and valleys also host local vineyards producing high-quality wines.



Accommodations
Historic lodge located in the heart of Giant City State Park. One room cabins with two double beds. Outdoor swimming pool. Home cooked meals served in the lodge; some meals in the field.
Meals and Lodgings
   Giant City State Park Lodge and Cabins
  Makanda, IL 4 nights
 Giant City State Park Lodge and Cabins
Type: Lodge
  Description: Found in the heart of the park is Giant City Lodge. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, it is in perfect keeping with the spirit of the park. Multi-hued sandstone and white oak timber were two of the native building materials used. The spacious and historic Lodge has a rustic beauty that creates an atmosphere found nowhere else in Southern Illinois. The Bald Knob dining room, with seating for 200, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, with an excellent reputation for food and hospitality. You’re sure to enjoy some of the best fried chicken ever if you choose the specialty of the Lodge, our all-you-can-eat Family Style Chicken Dinner.
  Contact info: 460 Giant City Lodge Rd
Makanda, IL 62958 USA
phone: 618-457-4921
web: giantcitylodge.com
  Room amenities: 2 full beds, privte bath, television, outdoor swimming pool
  Facility amenities: Giant City Lodge has private rooms perfect for your special event, banquets, and meetings. The Lodge also features a historic lounge and bar, gift shop, and guest cabins for a quiet getaway. Outdoor swimming pool, numerous hiking trails, Visitor's Center nearby.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: $69.00-$105.00 Make reservations with Giant City Lodge. Limited availability
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $69.00-$105.00 Make reservations with Giant City Lodge. Limited availability
  Check out time: 9:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check in between 4:00-5:00 PM. Meet in lobby at 5:15 for short introduction prior to dinner. You will be staying at Giant City State Park Lodge and Cabins that night.
  End of Program:
10:30 am You will be staying at Giant City State Park Lodge and Cabins the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Free parking on-site for duration of program.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Makanda, IL
  Nearest city or town:  Carbondale, IL
  Nearest highway: IL Route 13, I-57, I-24.
  Nearest airport:  Williamson County Regional Airport (MWA), Marion, IL.
  From End of Program
  Location: Makanda, IL
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

St. Louis, MO

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
B.A.R.T. Transportation
phone: 800-284-2278
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

varies $60-$75 per person reduced rate for children
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

2.5 

 

Distance:

 

144 miles

   

Shuttle service arrives/departs from the Ramada Inn in Carbondale. You then need to arrange taxi service to Giant City State Park Lodge. Taxi Service phone number: 618-457-8122 and 618-457-8121.

 
Driving Directions
  Chicago, IL Take I-57 south to exit #54, Illinois Route 13. Go West on Route 13 approx. 15 miles to Giant City Road. Take Giant City Road South, approximately 12 miles, to Giant City State Park. Follow signs to Lodge/Restaurant for parking and check-in
  Indianapolis, In Take I-70 west to Effingham, Il. where you will pick up I-57 at mile #160. Take I-57 south to exit #54, Illinois Route 13. Go West on Route 13 approx. 15 miles to Giant City Road. Take Giant City Road South, approximately 12 miles, to Giant City State Park. Follow signs to Lodge/Restaurant for parking and check-in
  Kentucky Take I-24 west/north to I-57 (in Illinois). Go North on 1-57 approx. 7 miles to exit #54, Ilinois Route 13. Go West on Route 13 approx. 15 miles to Giant City Road. Take Giant City Road South, approximately 12 miles, to Giant City State Park. Follow signs to Lodge/Restaurant for parking and check-in
  St. Louis, MO Take I-64 east to Mt. Vernon, Il. where you will pick up I-57 at mile #95. Take I-57 south to exit #54, Illinois Route 13. Go West on Route 13 approx. 15 miles to Giant City Road. Take Giant City Road South, approximately 12 miles, to Giant City State Park. Follow signs to Lodge/Restaurant for parking and check-in.
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:
(Monday, October 7)
   
 Afternoon: Arrive between 4:00 and 5:00 PM for program registration and check-in. If arriving early, participants can walk the trails at Giant City State Park or visit the Visitor's Center. Giant City Lodge offers a full service restaurant and gift shop.
 Dinner: In the Lodge Restaurant served family style.
 Evening: Program overview and introduction to the unique features of the Land between the rivers. A short presentation will explore the natural history of this beautiful region.
   
Accommodations: Giant City State Park Lodge and Cabins
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Birding field trips to 2 unique natural divisions
(Tuesday, October 8)
   
 Breakfast: In the Lodge Restaurant
 Morning: Birding within Giant City State Park. This is great opportunity to share hints and tips for beginners to advanced. If you are having problems with field ID or with your binoculars this is the time to ask questions. A short birding excursion among the sandstone bluffs, hardwood forest, and open areas to spot woodpeckers and soaring raptors. Excursion extends into LaRue Swamp Pine Hills Ecological Area. Unlike anywhere else in Illinois, this is a true extension of the Ozark Plateau into the Land of Lincoln. Short Leaf Pine trees cling to the limestone cliffs overlooking the Mississippi River Valley where we'll search for vultures, eagles, herons, kites, raptors, and some fall warblers and shorebirds. Walk along the base of the bluffs adjacent to the spring-fed wetlands on the famous road that is closed seasonally for snake migration.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local winery with a private wine tasting. Enjoy a glass while overlooking the lush views of the vineyard.
 Afternoon: Birding excursions continue. Exact location based on the birds!
 Dinner: At the Lodge
 Evening: Evening Owl Prowl. Join us as we search for the winged-cats of the night...Learn why owls are such effective nocturnal predators. A short evening walk will give us the opportunity to call in some resident barred, screech or great horned owls.
   
Accommodations: Giant City State Park Lodge and Cabins
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Field Trip to the Cache River Wetland Complex
(Wednesday, October 9)
   
 Breakfast: In the Lodge restaurant
 Morning: Cache River Wetlands and Heron Pond State Natural Area. A designated "Wetland of International Importance", this wetland complex is a birders paradise! Bird counts confirm the presence of more than 250 species within the Cache River Basin including over 49 species of neo-tropical migratory birds that breed there. Birders are likely to see herons, Mississippi Kites, migrating raptors, fall warblers, wood ducks, eagles and black vultures. Pileated, red-head, red bellied, downy, and hairy woodpeckers are found year round. Nestled deep within the shadowy bottomland forest of this area lies Heron Pond dominated by cypress and tupuelo trees. A foot bridge over the Cache River leads us to a floating boardwalk which winds its way into the secluded depths of this forested swamp, providing visitors a chance to step back in time and observe the cypress and tupelo swamp that has remained relatively undisturbed for thousands of years. Above and below the surface, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects interact in a symphony of survival. The flat walking trail (approx. 1 1/2 miles) also gets us to the state champion Cherrybark Oak tree. It isn't unusual to see a few swamp snake species while on this trip.
 Lunch: In the field........served up picnic style.
 Afternoon: We'll wind our way through the Shawnee Hills to a local vineyard for wine tasting and birding. If you have specific questions about viticulture, wine production, or the wine you are tasting, the answers are a question away. We'll get a 'behind the vines' tour from an expert vitner and learn about the whole wine-making process. Wine available for purchase by the glass or bottle.
 Dinner: In the Lodge Restaurant served family style
 Evening: Musical entertainment by singer/songwriter/naturalist Curt Carter.
   
Accommodations: Giant City State Park Lodge and Cabins
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Pontoon boat ride on Little Grassy Lake. We will search for eagles, kingfishers, and Mississippi kites as we explore the undeveloped shoreline. Program ends around 10:30 am
(Thursday, October 10)
   
 Breakfast: in Lodge restaurant
 Morning: Pontoon boat ride on Little Grassy Lake. We will search for eagles, kingfishers, and waterfowl as we explore the uninterrupted shoreline. Program ends at 10:30 am.
   
Accommodations: Giant City State Park Lodge and Cabins
Meals Included: Breakfast
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


Audubon's Aviary: The Original Watercolors for the Birds of America


Author: Roberta Olson, The NEw York Historical Society


Description: Audubon's masterpieces are illuminated by stories of their creation and quotes from his original writings.



A Sand County Almanac: With other essays on conservation from Round River


Author: Aldo Leopold


Description: First published in 1949, Leopold weaves nature writing and scientific observation with insights on our ethical regard in our relationship with the Land.



Exploring Southern Illinois Wineries


Author: Matt Bliss, Kelly Drew




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