Birding in North Dakota
and Minnesota in the USA
Birding Minnesota's Boreal Forests and
North Dakota's Prairie Potholes
Day 1:  Arrival Into Minneapolis by Mid-afternoon.  
Birding en route to Duluth.

All participants should be in Minneapolis by 2 PM, allowing
plenty of time for birding as we drive north to Duluth.
Birding stops will depend in part on target birds that are
less likely later in the trip.
Overnight Duluth.

Day 2:  Birding Western Lake County, Ely (Echo Trail)
and Return to Duluth.

We will make an early morning departure from our hotel
and head into the boreal forests of Lake County. Birding at
various stops along County Road 2 and Highway 1 will give
us a chance to look for Northern Goshawk, Spruce Grouse,
Black-billed Cuckoo, Black-backed Woodpecker,
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher, Gray Jay,
Philadelphia Vireo, Boreal Chickadee, Cape May Warbler,
Mourning Warbler, Connecticut Warbler, Evening
Grosbeak among many other boreal species.  After lunch,
we'll continue birding as we drive along Echo Trail, north of
Ely, eventually turning around and beginning the drive
back toward Duluth.  If it is early enough, we can make a
visit to the Sax-Zim Bog area.  Many of the same species
are possible here, but we will also be looking for
Sharp-tailed Grouse, Great Gray Owl, Black-billed Magpie,
Sedge Wren and Le Conte's Sparrow.
Overnight Duluth

Day 3:  Morning Birding at Sax-Zim Bog. Afternoon
and Evening Birding in Aitkin County, Including
Search for Yellow Rails at McGregor Marsh After

We will spend the morning in the area of Sax-Zim Bog,
targeting any species we have not yet seen.  We could find
Sandhill Crane, Winter Wren, Golden-winged Warbler,
Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark.  Following lunch, will
work our way down to Aitkin County.  Here we will
concentrate on finding Sedge Wren, Connecticut Warbler,
Le Conte's Sparrow and Nelson's Sparrow.  An early dinner
will allow the group to rest up for some night birding, since
we should head over to McGregor Marsh after dark to
listen and hopefully see nesting Yellow Rails.
Overnight Aitkin

Day 4:  All Day Birding Between Aitkin and Bemidji,
Including Itasca State Park.

Because we'll have been birding late the night before, a
later departure will be likely today - though a pre-dawn
return to McGregor Marsh is a possibility for any hardy
souls wanting more chances to see Yellow Rails.  Our
lodging for the night is just over two hours away, so we'll be
in no rush to make the drive. There are many potential
birding stops in between, including Botany Bog SNA,
Mud-Goose Wildlife Area and Leech Lake.  We should find
a few more warblers in these areas, including Nashville
Warbler, Northern Parula, Chestnut-sided Warbler,
Black-and-white Warbler and American Redstart.  We will
end the day at Itasca State Park, which has prime pine
forest and is one of best places for Black-backed
Woodpecker and several key warblers (Bay-breasted,
Cape May, Magnolia and more).
Overnight Bemidji

Day 5:  Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, Prairies
East of Fargo, then North Dakota Prairie Birding.

Having caught up on our sleep, we can make another early
departure and head for Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge.  
Here we will look for Common Loon, Red-necked Grebe,
Trumpeter Swan, Red-shouldered Hawk, Black-billed
Cuckoo, Golden-winged Warbler, Pine Warbler.  Once
finished enjoying this area, we will drive west to begin our
grassland birding at Felton Prairie (still in Minnesota).  A
whole new set of birds awaits us here, including: Upland
Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, Willow Flycatcher,
Grasshopper Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Chestnut-collared
Longspur and possibly our first chance at Sprague's Pipit.
Eventually we will enter North Dakota and head toward
Jamestown, driving back roads to look for Gray Partridge,
Sharp-tailed Grouse, Short-eared Owl, Yellow-headed
Overnight Jamestown

Days 6 and 7:  Based in Jamestown, ND. Birding at
Arrowhead National Wildlife Refuge, Horsehead Lake,
Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Alkaline

During these two days, we will visit the Prairie Potholes
region which holds some of the highest density of wetlands
in the nation as well as remnant areas of tall grass prairie.  
We will visit Arrowhead National Wildlife Refuge, Horsehead
Lake Wildlife Management Area, Chase Lake National
Wildlife Refuge and Alkaline Lake.  Short drives from our
hotel each day will bring us to these excellent birding
destinations, where we will take short walks and often
explore from the roadsides.
Several of the birds we hope to see include Western Grebe
and Clark's Grebe, American Bittern, Sharp-tailed Grouse,
Yellow Rail, Upland Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, Piping
Plover, Wilson's Snipe, Black Tern, Sedge Wren,
Sprague's Pipit , Baird's Sparrow, Le Conte's Sparrow,
Nelson's Sparrow, Short-eared Owl and Chestnut-collared

Day 8:  Morning Birding around Jamestown.

We will have time this morning for additional birding before
heading to Fargo.  We can try for any missed target
species, or visit some new areas on our way toward Fargo.

Departure:  Today you have the option of departing for
home from Fargo, ND, (saving you the ~4 hour drive to
Minneapolis) or Minneapolis, MN.  We plan to arrive in
Fargo for lunch around noon (so you should schedule
flights out after 3 PM), and in Minneapolis around 5 PM.  
Flights home from here would need to be scheduled after
about 7 PM.
You may also choose to stay overnight in Minneapolis and
depart the following day.  We can help you with lodging if
you choose this option.
Golden-winged Warbler
Photo by Bill Schmoker
Sprague's Pipit:  Photo by Bill Schmoker
(above and including the banner photo).
Northern Hawk Owl
Photo by Bill Schmoker
Empidonax flycatcher
Photo by Bill Schmoker
Canada Warbler
Photo by Bill Schmoker
Le Conte's Sparrow
Photo by Bill Schmoker
Black-backed Woodpecker
Photo by Bill Schmoker
Boreal Chickadee
Photo by Bill Schmoker
Sedge Wren
Photo by Bill Schmoker
Blackburnian Warbler
Photo by Bill Schmoker
Connecticut Warbler
Photo by Bill Schmoker
Great Gray Owl
Photo by Bill Schmoker
Detailed Itinerary
For more information or to register for this trip, call
Charles at 888-203-7464 or Charles directly at
720-320-1974 or by email at