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Majestic Fall Birds of the Mississippi Flyway

Program Number: 11892RJ
Start and End Dates:
11/6/2013 - 11/11/2013;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Onalaska, Wisconsin
Price starting at: $949.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Birding
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    

Where’s the best birding in America? For cranes it’s Nebraska and New Mexico. For hawks it’s New Mexico. And for swans? It’s the Upper River Mississippi Valley of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. Experience a spectacle of nature as thousands of Tundra Swans (and a few Trumpeter Swans) descend on this area before continuing their winter migration. Our expert knows the best places among the scenic river bluffs for viewing swans and soaring Bald Eagles, while avoiding the crowds. Our goal is for you to find the most birds, learn the geology of this complex area, enjoy the river and have a lot of fun!




Highlights

• Thrill in the sights and sounds of thousands of swans as they gather along the Mississippi River
• Some species seen in previous years include Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Wood Ducks, American Blackducks, Hooded Mergansers and huge numbers of Bald Eagles in every imaginable plumage.
• Enjoy a fall migration boat excursion on the Mississippi River, weather permitting.



Activity Particulars

Walking over rough terrain in forested areas.



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 Winona State University.




Onalaska

Onalaska is a city of 18,000 in western Wisconsin, near the Minnesota border. Built on the scenic, wooded bluffs above the Black River (a tributary of the Mississippi), it is an outdoor paradise, great for activities including cycling, birdwatching, snowmobiling and especially fishing. Onalaska is known as the “Sunfish Capital of the World.”



Accommodations
Comfortable motel with indoor pool.
Meals and Lodgings
   Stoney Creek Inn
  Onalaska, WI 6 nights
 Stoney Creek Inn
Type: Motel
  Contact info: 3060 Kinney Coulee Road
Onalaska, WI 54650 USA
phone: 800-659-2220
web: www.stoneycreekinn.com
  Room amenities: Free local telephone calls Personal voice mail Wireless internet access Cable television Coffee Maker Hair Dryer Iron and ironing board
  Facility amenities: 100% Smoke Free Facility Fresh coffee available 24 hours Unique Northwoods gift shop Fitness Center Guest laundry facilities Business center Lumber-Jack's Saloon Wilderness Park Pool Area
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Arrange with hotel Make arrangements by calling the hotel directly
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Arrange with hotel Make arrangements by calling the hotel directly
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Registration begins at 4:00 PM at hotel in Onalaska, WI You will be staying at Stoney Creek Inn that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends by noon in Onalaska, WI You will be staying at Stoney Creek Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Completed health form returned to Program Coordinator prior to arrival. Valid photo ID such as driver's license.
  Parking availability:
Free parking onsite.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Onalaska, WI
  Nearest highway: Highway 16
  Nearest airport:  La Crosse, WI (LSE)
  From End of Program
  Location: Onalaska, WI
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

LaCrosse, WI

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
Stoney Creek Inn
phone: 608-781-3060
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Complimentary
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

10 minutes 

   

Transportation must be arranged directly with the hotel in advance

 

La Crosse, WI

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
Stoney Creek Inn
phone: 608-781-3060
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Complimentary
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

10 minutes 

   

Transportation must be arranged directly with the hotel in advance

 

La Crosse, WI

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
Stoney Creek Inn
phone: 608-781-3060
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Complimentary
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

10 minutes 

   

Transportation must be arranged directly with the hotel in advance.

 

La Crosse, WI

 

To Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
Stoney Creek Inn
phone: 608-781-3060
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Complimentary
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

10 minutes 

   

Transporation must be arranged directly with the hotel in advance.

 
Driving Directions
  Traveling East via Interstate 90 On Interstate 90, take Exit 5 (US Highway 16). Stay on the right side of the ramp. Turn right onto US Highway 16. Immediately get into the left lane. Turn left at the first set of lights onto South Kinney Coulee Road (you will see a Kwik Trip convenience store at this intersection). Stoney Creek is located 2 blocks in, on the right.
  Traveling North via State Road 35 On State Road 35, turn right onto Losey Blvd. Losey Blvd will turn into State Road 16. Just past Valley View Mall, you will see a Kwik Trip convenience store. Turn right at this intersection (South Kinney Coulee Road). Stoney Creek is located 2 blocks in, on the right.
  Traveling North via State Roads 14/61 On 14/61, merge onto State Road 35 North. On State Road 35, turn right onto Losey Blvd. Losey Blvd will turn into State Road 16. Just past Valley View Mall, you will see a Kwik Trip convenience store. Turn right at this intersection (South Kinney Coulee Road). Stoney Creek is located 2 blocks in, on the right.
  Traveling South via US Highway 53 or State Road 35 Turn onto Interstate 90 East. On Interstate 90, take Exit 5 (US Highway 16). Stay on the right side of the ramp. Turn right onto US Highway 16. Immediately get into the left lane. Turn left at the first set of lights onto South Kinney Coulee Road (you will see a Kwik Trip convenience store at this intersection). Stoney Creek is located 2 blocks in, on the right.
  Traveling West via Interstate 90 On Interstate 90, take Exit 5 (US Highway 16). Turn left onto US Highway 16. Stay in the left lane. Turn left at the second set of lights onto South Kinney Coulee Road (you will see a Kwik Trip convenience store at this intersection). Stoney Creek is located 2 blocks in, on the right.
Equipment Requirements: Binoculars and cameras if available.
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/Check In/Orientation/Program Overview
(Wednesday, November 6)
   
 Afternoon: Registration begins at 4:00PM. Pick up program materials from Program Coordinator in lobby of hotel. Orientation and introductions at 5:00 PM.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
 Evening: Program overview at hotel.
   
Accommodations: Stoney Creek Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Wetland Birding
(Thursday, November 7)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Birding along the Mississippi River including private wetlands between Houston & Hokah, MN. We will also have our first encouter with swans! Along the way we will look for a myriad of ducks including the American Black Duck.
 Lunch: Lunch at an authentic German restaurant in Houston, MN.
 Afternoon: We will have close views of ducks and before dinner we will be going to another Tundra Swan area to see and hear swans gather for the night. Might we see a Trumpeter Swan?
 Dinner: Dinner at an area restaurant.
 Evening: Briefly gather at the hotel to review plans for tomorrow. Remainder of the evening is free to relax!
   
Accommodations: Stoney Creek Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Birding on bluff tops and back roads
(Friday, November 8)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: We will bird along bluff tops looking for Golden Eagle and late south migrants like sparrows. We may see early Northern Shrike, Wild Turkey and American Tree Sparrow. We will also visit Wiscoy Valley and with any luck we will see an Early Rough-Legged Hawk. In Perkins Valley we may see woodpeckers, late Eastern Bluebird and Horned Lark.
 Lunch: Lunch will be at The Creamery in Rushford, MN where we will enjoy their delicious pizza buffet.
 Afternoon: We will continue to bird bluff tops, farm areas and back roads. This time of year begins another northern migration.....which depends on food supplies, temperature and snow depth north of us.
 Dinner: Dinner at an area restaurant.
 Evening: Briefly gather at the hotel to review plans for tomorrow. Remainder of the evening is free to relax!
   
Accommodations: Stoney Creek Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Birding/Boat Trip/Lansing,IA
(Saturday, November 9)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: We will bird our way to Lansing, IA with a visit to Pool Slough or Red Oak Road. We have the potential to see Bald Eagle at almost every age. We may also see Sandhill Crane, Cedar Waxwing and Purple & House Finch are possible.
 Lunch: Lunch in Lansing, IA.
 Afternoon: We will enjoy a fall migration cruise on the Mississippi Explorer boat. The trip goes into the Upper Mississippi National Fish & Wildlife Refuge. It explores areas where there can be massive amounts of ducks, Peregrine Falcon and Tundra Swan. It is a comfortable and interesting way to see the beautiful bluffs from the river. The cabin is heated but be prepared for any type of weather.....wet, cold, snow.
 Dinner: We will have an early dinner in Lansing, IA after we get off the boat.
   
Accommodations: Stoney Creek Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge and Great River Bluffs State Park
(Sunday, November 10)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: This morning we will bird at the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge. Twenty-two water birds were seen on the last trip including lingering American White Pelican! We will have another opportunity to view ducks, see Barred Owl and if lucky a Long-eared Owl. We may see resident birds like the Tufted Titmouse. A Red Breasted Nuthatch would be a nice find! We'll likely see a variety of woodpeckers including the resident Pileated Woodpecker.
 Lunch: We will travel to the lovely river town of Winona, MN for lunch at the Acoustic Cafe.
 Afternoon: We will stop at Great River Bluffs State Park. We hope to see Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey and late migrants. We will enjoy awesome views of the Mississippi River at this park.
 Dinner: Tonight we will have dinner in the tiny town of Freeburg, MN at a historic restaurant called Little Miami.
 Evening: Briefly gather at the hotel to review plans for tomorrow. Remainder of the evening is free to relax!
   
Accommodations: Stoney Creek Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Birding Excursion/Departure
(Monday, November 11)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel. You will need to check out of your room before getting on the bus. Baggage may be left in storage at the hotel, if desired.
 Morning: Today we will travel on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River. We will also bird along the Black River. We will make stops at Brice Prairie and Goose Island.
 Lunch: Before returning to the hotel we will stop at Culvers for our last meal together.
   
Accommodations: Stoney Creek Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
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


Fall Flight Surveys


Author: Conducted by US Fish & Wildlife Service


Description: www.fws.gov/Midwest/uppermississippiRiver/UMRWF11.html We view birds in Pools 8 & 9 only.



Field Guide


Author: Sibley


Description: Any field guide to brush up on ducks and Trumpeter and Tundra Swans





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