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20204
Ontario

Ontario's Birding Hotspot: Point Pelee National Park

In a birding hotspot where thousands of songbirds find refuge, watch and listen for rare species and study plumage and bird behaviors.
Rating (5)
Program No. 20204RJ
Length
8 days
Starts at
2,389
Ontario

Ontario's Birding Hotspot: Point Pelee National Park

In a birding hotspot where thousands of songbirds find refuge, watch and listen for rare species and study plumage and bird behaviors.
Length
8 days
Starts at
2,389
Program No. 20204 RJ
climate
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8 days
7 nights
20 meals
7B 6L 7D
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At a Glance

Point Pelee is a birding hotspot where thousands of migratory songbirds find refuge in the park’s habitats. Watch and listen for Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting and Wood Warblers in brilliant breeding plumage, and observe Bald Eagle, Red-headed Woodpecker and rare species like Kirtland’s Warbler and Mississippi Kite. Study plumage, voices and behaviors that distinguish one species from the next.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Visit important birding areas including Longpoint and Rondeau Provincial Parks and Point Pelee National Park.
  • Observe Wood Warblers like Chestnut-sided, Magnolia Cape May and possibly rarer species.
  • With a professional wildlife photographer, learn field techniques for taking quality bird and nature photos.

General Notes

All Road Scholar birding programs have a maximum participant-to-instructor ratio of 14:1 in the field. We adhere to the American Birding Association’s Code of Ethics. Learn more at http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Birder Murder Mysteries
by Steve Burrows
An enthusiastic birder watcher, and reluctant Detective Chief Inspector, Domenic Jejeune helps solve mysteries in Norfolk, England. Follow Domenic Jejeune’s escapades in A Siege of Bitterns (2014), A Pitying of Doves (2015), A Cast of Falcons (2016), A Shimmer of Hummingbirds (2017), A Tiding of Magpies (2018), and in A Dance of Cranes (2019).
A Birder's Guide to Point Pelee (and Surrounding region)
by Tom Hince
This is the first book providing comprehensive information on birding in and around Canada's best known migration hotspot - Point Pelee. Birders have flocked here to document, study, and enjoy the passage of songbirds for over 100 years. Spring or fall, this spear shaped peninsula is a natural magnet for birds on the move. Over 35 different warbler are recorded here annually, and the national park and surrounding region boasts an impressive list of 378 species of birds. This volume includes detailed information on birding sites within the national park, within a short drive, and sites commonly linked with a visit to the region. Detailed directions, birding info, and birding tips are included for each site. In addition to a detailed week by week status list for all birds of the region, there are also narratives of species of particular interest to visiting birders. Whether you are a seasoned veteran of "the Point" or a newcomer, this guide is sure to be an essential companion for any visiting birder visiting Canada's Deep South.
The Great Lakes: The Natural History of a Changing Region
by Wayne Grady
Beautifully photographed, this timely portrait showcases the nature, history and importance of the Great Lakes, hub of industry and agriculture and home to 40 million people. Published in conjunction with the David Suzuki Foundation, dedicated to preserving the diversity of nature and quality of life. (GLK43, $29.95)
The Incredible Journey
by Sheila Burnford
Instinct told them that the way home lay to the west. And so the doughty young Labrador retriever, the roguish bull terrier and the indomitable Siamese set out through the Canadian wilderness. Separately, they would soon have died. But, together, the three house pets faced starvation, exposure, and wild forest animals to make their way home to the family they love. The Incredible Journey is one of the great children's stories of all time--and has been popular ever since its debut in 1961.
Birding at Point Pelee
by Henrietta O'Neill
A birder's history of one of Canada's most famous birding spots Birding at Point Pelee traces Point Pelee's story from the 1870s, to the national park's establishment in 1918, to present day, when as many as 50,000 birders visit the park in May during spring migration. The book portrays the backdrop against which the park was evolving, the scientific discoveries and changes in ornithological methods through the decades -- early specimen-collecting, bird banding, the development of binoculars and telescopes, the growth of nature photography, the shift from birding as science to birding as hobby -- as well as philosophical shifts and debates about amateur versus professional credentials, and the balance to strike between conservation and recreation. Thoroughly researched and lively, the story takes readers from the earliest days, when the birders were few but fervent, to today's international tourism phenomenon.
Ontario Wildlife: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species
by James Kavanagh
A fold-up, laminated card featuring color drawings and short descriptions of commonly encountered wildlife in Ontario. (CND284, $8.95)
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8 days
7 nights
20 meals
7 B 6 L 7 D
DAY
1
Arrivals to Windsor, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Windsor, ON
D
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Windsor (Ambassador Bridge)

Activity note: Hotel check-in begins at 3:00 pm.

Afternoon: Arrive in Windsor and check-in to the hotel. Program registration begins at 4:00 pm. After you have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: A welcome dinner will be served at the hotel at 6:00 pm.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experiences even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

DAY
2
Birding: Hillman Marsh and Point Pelee National Park
Point Pelee National Park (Leamington)
B,L,D
Best Western Plus Leamington Hotel & Conference Centre

Activity note: Walking 2.5 miles (4 km) on flat trails, thick vegetation, muddy terrain, and small inclines. Driving 45 miles (72.4 km) for an hour. Distances are variable based on sightings and local circumstances. Field trips begin before dawn to be on-site for birding excursions by 6:00 am, which involves extended periods of standing, walking over uneven terrain and in wooded areas. Approximately 6 to 7 hours to be spent in the field daily. Walking shoes/boots and wind/rain gear are recommended.

Breakfast: Breakfast to-go will be available at 5:00 am.

Morning: Embark on our first birdwatching trip at Hillman’s Marsh and the Onion Fields (conditions permitting). Look for good numbers of waterfowl and migrating shorebirds, such as the Black-bellied Plover, Pectoral Sandpiper, and Short-Billed Dowitcher.

Lunch: Enjoy a boxed lunch at a scenic spot with views of local birds.

Afternoon: Explore the various birding trails around the tip of Point Pelee. Expect to catch a glimpse of warblers and songbirds en-route to their wintering grounds in the tropics. Conditions permitting, we should see the Blackburnian, Magnolia, Black-throated Blue, Indigo Warblers, and maybe even the rare Hooded and Connecticut Warblers. Enjoy a lecture by an ornithologist which will focus on spring migration in Ontario.

Dinner: Enjoy local cuisine at a nearby restaurant.

Evening: This evening is yours to enjoy at your leisure.

DAY
3
Birding: Point Pelee National Park
Point Pelee National Park (Leamington)
B,L,D
Best Western Plus Leamington Hotel & Conference Centre

Activity note: Walking 2.5 miles (4 km) on flat trails, thick vegetation, muddy and varied terrain with small inclines. There will be short transfers by van. Distances are variable based on sightings and local circumstances. Field trips begin before dawn to be on-site for birding excursions by 6:00 am, which involves extended periods of standing, walking over uneven terrain and in wooded areas. Approximately 6 to 7 hours to be spent in the field daily. Walking shoes/boots and wind/rain gear are recommended.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be available to-go at 5:00 am.

Morning: Birding will begin at the tip of the park. We hope to observe shorebirds, waterfowl, terns and gulls. The tip regularly attracts unusual species like the Little Gull. Along the trails we hope to see resident species like the Orchard Oriole, Carolina Wren, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and the Eastern Screech Owl. We may see uncommon birds like the Whip-Poor-Will, Scarlet Tanager, or Rose-Breasted Grosbeak in with the warblers.

Lunch: We’ll be eating a boxed lunch at a picnic table within the park, where you may see the Broad-Winged Hawk, Bald Eagle, or Northern Harrier. Other birds passing by include various species of swallows, the Chimney Swift, and Sandhill Crane.

Afternoon: Birding will continue in the park, exploring areas around the Visitor’s Centre, and various trails within park boundaries.

Dinner: Dinner will be served at the hotel and will include coffee, tea, and water.

Evening: The evening is yours to enjoy at your leisure. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

DAY
4
Birding: Rondeau Provincial Park
Rondeau Provincial Park (Chatham)
B,L,D
Travelodge Chatham

Activity note: Walking 2.5 miles (4 km) on flat trails, through thick vegetation, muddy terrain, and small inclines. Driving 81 miles (130 km) for about 2 hours. Distances are variable based on sightings and local circumstances. Field trips begin before dawn to be on-site for birding excursions by 6:00 am, which involves extended periods of standing, walking over uneven terrain and in wooded areas. Approximately 6 to 7 hours to be spent in the field. Walking shoes/boots and wind/rain gear are recommended.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be provided to-go at 5:00 am.

Morning: Check-out of the hotel in the morning before transferring to Point Pelee for birdwatching in the park.

Lunch: We’ll enjoy a boxed lunch in a scenic spot with a good view of birds.

Afternoon: We’ll journey to Rondeau Provincial Park and hike the Tulip Tree trail. Birds normally found here include the Red-Headed Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, and a variety of migrant warblers. We’ll visit the St. Clair Wildlife Area, an extensive wetland harboring many shy species of birds. Hopefully, we’ll see the Least Bittern, Swamp Swallow, Marsh Wren, Forster’s Tern, and the Yellow-Headed Blackbird.

Dinner: Dinner will be served at a local restaurant.

Evening: Review the day’s viewing with the group.

DAY
5
Birding: Rondeau Provincial Park
Rondeau Provincial Park (Chatham)
B,L,D
Travelodge Chatham

Activity note: Walking 2.5 miles (4 km) on flat trails, through thick vegetation, muddy terrain, and small inclines. Driving 55 miles (88.5 km) for an hour and a half. Distances are variable based on sightings and local circumstances. Field trips begin before dawn to be on-site for birding excursions by 6:00 am, which involves extended periods of standing, walking over uneven terrain in wooded areas. Approximately 6 to 7 hours to be spent in the field. Walking shoes/boots and wind/rain gear are recommended.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be provided to-go at 5:00 am.

Morning: Birding will start at the Visitor’s Centre at Rondeau Provincial Park where we’ll observe their bird feeding station for White-Throated Sparrow, Tufted Titmouse, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, and Lincoln’s Sparrow. Explore the South Point Trail, often teeming with warblers, and other migrating species of birds. Investigate the lakeshore for many interesting birds such as the Red-Breasted Merganser, Bonaparte’s Gill, or the Little Gull.

Lunch: Enjoy a boxed lunch at a scenic spot within the park.

Afternoon: Continue birding around Rondeau Provincial Park, including the areas around the picnic grounds, the Spice Bush Trail, the Pony Barns, and the Blenheim Lagoons.

Dinner: Enjoy the tastes of Ontario at a local restaurant.

Evening: Gather for a recap of the day’s viewing.

DAY
6
Birding: Long Point Provincial Parks
Long Point Provincial Park (Simcoe)
B,L,D
Best Western Little River Inn

Activity note: Walking 2.5 miles (4 km) on flat trails, through thick vegetation, muddy terrain, and small inclines. Driving 160 miles (257.5 km) for 3.5 hours. Distances are variable based on sightings and local circumstances. Field trips begin before dawn to be on-site for birding excursions by 6:00 am, which involves extended periods of standing, walking over uneven terrain and in wooded areas. Approximately 6 to 7 hours to be spent in the field. Walking shoes/boots and wind/rain gear are recommended.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be available to-go at 5:00 am.

Morning: Continue to explore Rondeau Provincial Park before journeying to Long Point Provincial Park. We’ll explore Big Creek National Wildlife area where a number of wetland species can typically be observed on both sides of the causeway. Hopefully, we’ll have the chance to see the Sandhill Crane, Black Tern, Marsh Wren, and Swamp Sparrow, as well as, the Least Bittern, Virginia Rail and Sora. We should see Osprey, Caspian Terns and the Mute Swan on the Long Point Inner Bay.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch at Old Long Point Provincial Park, with access to both the forest and shoreline. Look for the Magnolia and Wilson’s Warbler along with the many songbirds migrating. We may see migrating terns and gulls on Lake Eerie.

Afternoon: Birdwatching continues at the Bird Studies Canada Head Quarters. The short trails and wetlands can attract waterfowl and shorebirds, including the Least, Semipalmated, and Solitary Sandpipers.

Dinner: Dinner will be served at a local restaurant.

Evening: The evening is yours to enjoy at your leisure. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

DAY
7
Birding: Long Point Provincial Park, Transfer to Windsor
Windsor, ON
B,L,D
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Windsor (Ambassador Bridge)

Activity note: Walking 2 miles (3.2 km) on flat trails, through thick vegetation, muddy terrain, and small inclines. Driving approximately 210 miles (338 km) for 4 hours. Distances are variable based on sightings and local circumstances. Field trips begin before dawn to be on-site for birding excursions by 6:00 am, which involves extended periods of standing, walking over uneven terrain and in wooded areas. Approximately 3 hours to be spent in the field. Walking shoes/boots and wind/rain gear are recommended.

Breakfast: Breakfast will be available to-go at 5:00 am.

Morning: Check out the pine plantations and open scrub habitats in Long Point Provincial Park for both resident and migratory species of birds. Observe bird-banding in process at the Old Cut Field Station. The thick vegetation around this corner of the peninsula can be excellent for a variety of migratory species including several wood-warblers and thrushes, including the rare Hooded Warbler.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We’ll travel by motor coach to Windsor and check-in to the hotel. The afternoon is yours to enjoy at your leisure.

Dinner: Enjoy a farewell dinner served at the hotel.

Evening: Gather for a final recap of bird sightings, compare birding lists, and share our memories of the week.

DAY
8
Program Concludes, Departure
Windsor, ON
B

Activity note: Check-out of the hotel by 11:00 am.

Breakfast: Breakfast may be enjoyed at the hotel from 7:00 am – 9:00 am. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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