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.
Russell's Fireside Dining Room in the Lake McDonald Lodge. The daily breakfast buffet offers choices such as eggs, breakfast meat, hot/cold cereals, fruit, yogurt, toast, and pastries. Beverages include coffee, tea, water, juice, or milk.
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.
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.
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.
Russell’s Fireside Dining Room plated meal.
At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.