22411
Montana

Birding in Glacier National Park

Join expert birders for an off-the-beaten path adventure to search for and learn about warblers, loons, woodpeckers and many more bird species that thrive in Glacier National Park.
Rating (5)
Program No. 22411RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,999
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Lake McDonald in West Glacier
D
Motel Lake McDonald

Activity note: Motel check-in available from 3:00 p.m. Walking 300 yards to dining and meeting room facilities.

Afternoon: Collect your Road Scholar Program Welcome Packet from motel front desk at time of check-in. Program Registration: 3:30 p.m. in the Auditorium at Lake McDonald Lodge. Here you will meet your Group Leader, complete any necessary paperwork, and make sack lunch selections. Please wear the Road Scholar name tag that you received in the mail. If you have not received your name tag one month prior to your program, call Road Scholar at 1-800-454-5768. Orientation: 4:00 p.m. in the Auditorium. 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. We will also pass out a “just–for-fun bird name synonym quiz” that you may work on during the week! For field trips, we will travel in 15-passenger vans to trail heads. Trail selections are made by Group Leaders on the day of the hike based on weather, trail conditions, and group ability. We will break into smaller groups so that you can select the hike distance that best suits you each day. Groups will be led by local experts who will share their knowledge along the trail. Restrooms are available at most trail heads. "America the Beautiful" passes cover entrance fees at national parks for up to 4 adults. If you have one of these national park passes, please bring it with you to the program and on our field trips. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience 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.

Dinner: At Russell’s Fireside Dining Room in the Lake McDonald Lodge, we'll use vouchers for for plated meals from the menu which includes house side salad or soup, entree, dessert, plus a non-alcoholic beverage. Other beverages available for purchase. Enjoy the meal and get to know your fellow travelers.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in to your room, and get a good night’s sleep for the full day tomorrow.

DAY
2
McDonald Creek & Inside North Fork Road, Presentation
Lake McDonald in West Glacier
B,L,D
Motel Lake McDonald

Activity note: Hiking 5 miles with elevation gains up to 500 feet on maintained dirt trails that may be rocky and uneven. Starting elevation approximately 3,200 feet. We'll split into two groups with different hike options; choose the option that suits your personal preference. Climbing in and out of 15 passenger van, standing for several hours at a time while wildlife watching. Driving approximately 40 miles throughout the day, total travel time about 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: At the dining room in nearby Lake McDonald Lodge, we'll use vouchers for the daily breakfast buffet which offers choices such as eggs, breakfast meat, hot/cold cereals, fruit, yogurt, toast, and pastries. Beverages include coffee, tea, water, juice, or milk.

Morning: We will ride in 15 passenger vans to Apgar Village. From there, local birding experts will lead a 2-mile hike along lower McDonald Creek through an even-aged stand of lodgepole pine created by the Half Moon Fire in 1929. Along the creek, the bird encounter possibilities may include Yellow, Yellow-rumped, MacGillivray’s and Orange-crowned warblers, American redstart, Northern Waterthrush, Yellowthroats, Black-headed grosbeaks, Swainson’s thrush, Willow flycatcher, Warbling and Cassin’s vireos, all five of our native swallows, Ruffed grouse, Spotted sandpipers, and various ducks and geese. Through the lodgepole forest on the way back we may see Dusky, Hammond’s and Least flycatchers that frequent the area, as well as Western tanagers, Townsend’s warblers and Red-eyed vireos. After our hike, we will travel by van for a drive-and-stop day exploring the west side of Glacier. We'll stretch our legs at McGee Meadows where we will watch and listen for open wetland species such as Red-winged blackbirds, Song and Lincoln’s sparrows, Townsend’s solitaires, and Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned kinglets. From there, we’ll stop and get out of the van for listening stops at several creeks and small swamps, an older deciduous forest, and a 15-year-old burn area We'll be birding by ear and by sight and due to thick vegetation, some birds may be heard but not seen. Please note the species listed are possibilities but not guaranteed.

Lunch: Along the trail, enjoy a fresh pre-selected sack lunch sandwich or wrap that will include sides and a cookie. Please bring your own reusable, one liter leak-proof water bottle to consume at lunch and throughout the day.

Afternoon: We'll travel further along the western edge of Glacier, watching the snags from the 1988 Red Bench Burn for Northern hawk owls. We will stretch our legs with an approximately 2 mile round trip hike on a level trail where many kinds of non-bird wildlife show up unexpectedly. We’ll be on the look out for Western tanagers, sapsuckers and flickers, Lincoln’s sparrows, Gray jays, Mountain, and Western bluebirds. Next, we’ll take a short a walk on the closed portion of the road to where we might hear or see many kinds of warblers, sparrows, and raptors. Then we will return to Motel Lake McDonald. Later this afternoon, sit back and enjoy “Bird Behavior in Glacier,” a content- and comedy-rich theatrical presentation by that very knowledgeable, very bird-brained ornithology expert, Professor Avian Guano, Bir.D.

Dinner: In Russell’s Fireside Dining Room at the nearby Lake McDonald Lodge, we'll use vouchers for a plated meal from the menu.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
3
McDonald Creek Trail, Trail of Cedars, Southern border GNP
St. Mary, Montana
B,L,D
St. Mary Village

Activity note: Hiking up to 5 miles throughout the day with elevation gains up to 700 feet on dirt trails that may be rocky and uneven. Max elevation 6,000 feet. Standing for several hours at a time while wildlife watching. Driving 120 miles, approximately 2.5 hours.

Breakfast: In Russell's Fireside Dining Room at Lake McDonald Lodge, we'll use vouchers for the daily breakfast buffet.

Morning: We’ll travel by van along a portion of the Going to the Sun Road (road and weather conditions permitting) and explore habitat unique to the west side of the continental divide. We'll stop along thundering Upper McDonald Creek where we'll search for Harlequin ducks and nesting Black swifts behind a waterfall! Next, we'll begin our journey to the east side Glacier National Park via Highway 2 which follows the southern border of the park. Along the way our expert instructors will provide lessons in geology and history. Please remember the species listed are possibilities in this habitat but not guaranteed sightings. Birding by ear will be emphasized due to thick vegetation and many birds may be heard but not seen.

Lunch: Along the trail, enjoy a fresh pre-selected sack lunch sandwich or wrap that will include sides and a cookie. Please bring your own reusable, one liter leak-proof water bottle to consume at lunch and throughout the day.

Afternoon: This afternoon we'll cross the continental divide at Marias Pass, a magnificent place view Lewis Overthrust Fault, a geological feature that shaped the landscape millions of years ago. We'll take a short hike to listen and look for birds at Lubec Lake. We'll make additional birding stops along our route and explore the changing habitats as we travel from west to east across the continental divide. Later in the afternoon, we'll check-in at the St. Mary Motel. The motel is located just outside the east entrance of Glacier National Park where the mountains meet the prairie.

Dinner: At the Snow Goose Grill located 200 yards from the motel, we'll have vouchers to order a plated meal off the menu which features regionally inspired entrees. Non-alcoholic beverages included, other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: This evening, enjoy a lively and informative presentation by one of our expert birding instructors.

DAY
4
East side of Glacier National Park, Presentation
St. Mary, Montana
B,L
St. Mary Village

Activity note: Hiking up to 5 miles throughout the day with elevation gains up to 500 feet on dirt trails that may be rocky and uneven. Max elevation 5,300 feet. Standing for several hours at a time while wildlife watching. Driving approximately 22 miles one way, about 45 minutes.

Breakfast: At the nearby Snow Goose Grill, we'll use vouchers to order off the menu which features Eggs Benedict, pancakes, biscuits & gravy, egg scrambles, oatmeal, and granola. Non-alcoholic beverages included.

Morning: We'll spend the day exploring the dramatic landscape of the east side of Glacier National Park. Our expert instructors will lead us on hikes where we will listen and look for bird species such as Loons, Gray and Steller’s jays, Mountain and Black-capped chickadees, Lazuli buntings, eagles, and Osprey. We'll watch the hillsides for bears and mountain goats and search the lake shores for moose. We'll be birding by ear and by sight and many birds may be heard but not seen because of thick vegetation. The species included here are possibilities but not guaranteed encounters.

Lunch: Along the trail, enjoy a pre-selected sack lunch that will include a sandwich or wrap, sides, and a cookie. Please bring your own reusable, one liter leak-proof water bottle to consume at lunch and throughout the day.

Afternoon: After our hikes, we will depart back to St. Mary. We’ll keep our eyes open for White pelicans in Lower St. Mary Lake on our drive back. After arriving back at St. Mary, we'll enjoy an educational presentation by one of our local birding experts.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for transfer in the morning.

DAY
5
Beaver Pond Trail, Reynold's Burn, Arrive in Kalispell
Kalispell
B,L,D
Hilton Garden Inn Kalispell

Activity note: Hiking up to 5 miles throughout the day with elevation gains of up to 500 feet on dirt trails that may be rocky and uneven. Max elevation 6,700 feet. Early morning outing before breakfast. Standing for several hours at a time while wildlife watching. Driving 160 miles, about 3 hours.

Breakfast: There will be an early morning outing prior to breakfast. A light snack provided to tide everyone over until breakfast. Our early hike will be near the motel on Beaver Pond Trail (2.6 miles). (The length of this early hike means a somewhat later full breakfast today.) This trail winds through meadows and forest, eventually moving into the 2007 Red Eagle Burn and terminating at a beautiful beaver pond. Possible bird encounters include Black-backed and Three-toed woodpeckers, Prairie and Peregrine falcon, Northern hawk owl, Northern harrier, two kinds of bluebirds, Veery, Ovenbird, and a huge variety of warblers, sparrows and other perching birds. We'll be birding by ear and birding by sight and many birds may be heard but not seen. Please note the species listed are possibilities but not guaranteed encounters. After the hike we will return to the Snow Goose Grill where we will use vouchers to order a plated breakfast. Non-alcoholic beverage included.

Morning: Following breakfast, we'll check out of St. Mary Motel. We will travel by van on some of the eastern portion of the Going to the Sun Road. We'll stop and take a few short walks to bird along this spectacular corridor. St. Mary Lake and steep mountains in every direction will occasionally distract us from our appointed tasks!

Lunch: Along the trail, enjoy a fresh pre-selected sack lunch sandwich or wrap that will include sides and a cookie. Please bring your own reusable, one liter leak-proof water bottle to consume at lunch and throughout the day.

Afternoon: As we commence our journey back to Kalispell, via Highway 2 along the southern boundary of Glacier National Park, we'll have one last chance to marvel at the incredible landscape. Along the way, we'll stop to get out of the van for more birding and short walks. Upon arrival in Kalispell we will check into the hotel.

Dinner: We'll celebrate a week full of adventure and learning with a casual farewell dinner together at the hotel. Enjoy a plated sit-down meal with entrée, sides, and dessert plus an optional glass of wine, coffee, iced tea, lemonade or water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Near the end of dinner we will share some closing thoughts, review our synonym game answers perhaps awarding a prize or two for the winners, and say goodbye to our Group Leader and Field Instructor. At your leisure continue to celebrate a week of birding with fellow Road Scholars.

DAY
6
Program Concludes
Kalispell
B

Activity note: Hotel check out by 12:00 p.m.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the freshly prepared breakfast buffet features selections including made-to-order omelets, pancakes, French toast, and waffles, fruit, pastries and breakfast breads, hot and cold cereals, and yogurt, plus an assortment of juices, milk, coffee, hot tea, and water. This concludes our program.

Morning: We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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