Day 1:  Arrival in Winnipeg in AM; PM Birding at Hill
Provincial Park

You should plan to arrive in Winnipeg before noon.  

Once all of our participants have arrived, we will make a visit
to Birds Hill Provincial Park.  Birds Hill is a large park with a
nice variety of habitats.  In the cedar bog/white spruce stands
we will look for Ruffed Grouse, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker,
Least Flycatcher and Ovenbird.  In the prairies and woodland
margins we might see Broad-winged Hawk, Clay-colored
Sparrow, Indigo Bunting and Baltimore Oriole.  

When we are finished with our afternoon of birding we will
check in at our hotel and have a brief orientation.  We will
review our bird sightings from the afternoon and start our trip
checklist.

Day 2:  Oak Hammock Marsh

North of Winnipeg lies the extensive marsh/woodland tracts
of Oak Hammock Marsh Wildlife Management Area.  After
acquainting ourselves with the area at the visitor’s center, we
will search the marshes for Eared Grebe, Sedge Wren, Le
Conte’s Sparrow, Nelson’s Sparrow, Yellow-headed Blackbird
and a variety of ducks and geese.  With a little luck we might
turn up a Yellow Rail or Least Bittern, while Northern Harrier
and Short-eared Owl might be seen cruising over the
wetlands.  The surrounding prairies can be good for
Bobolink, Swainson’s Hawk and Sharp-tailed Grouse.

Day 3: Early Arrival in Churchill;  Birding the Churchill
River and Cape Merry

We will catch an early flight to Churchill and arrive there by
mid-morning.  After retrieving our luggage and obtaining our
vehicle, we will start our birding at Cape Merry, a rocky
promontory which lies at the mouth of the Churchill River,
where it empties into Hudson Bay.  Along the short road to
the cape are several ponds which may host Arctic Tern and
Bonaparte’s Gull, as well as a number of dabbling ducks.  We
can get good views of the river along the way, and here we
should see diving ducks including Long-tailed Duck, Common
Eider and Common Goldeneye. Pacific and Red-throated
Loons occur here, as do White-winged, Surf and Black
Scoters.  Continuing to the end of the road, we will have a
fine vantage point for observing Beluga Whales and possibly
marauding Long-tailed Jaegers.

Since the summer days are very long at these high latitudes,
we won’t wait for sunset!  At some point we will return to town
and check into our motel.  

After settling into our rooms, reviewing the day’s checklist
and having dinner, we may return to the Cape Merry area or
other areas near town for some bonus evening birding while
the sub-arctic sun is still well above the horizon.

Day 4:  Hudson Bay and Twin Lakes

Today, we will start along the rocky southern coastline of
Hudson Bay, where Herring Gulls nest and Common Redpolls
feed in the scattered vegetation.  Small lakes along the
Coast Road host Little, Sabine’s and Ross’s Gulls, while
larger ones have nesting Pacific Loon and American Bittern.  
We will check some wet tundra areas for nesting shorebirds,
including Hudsonian Godwit, Whimbrel, Dunlin and Stilt
Sandpiper.  Drier upland areas may have Semipalmated
Plover and American Golden-Plover.  As we drive the roads
along the coast, we will pass through nesting and roosting
areas of Common Eider, Arctic Tern, Willow Ptarmigan and
Smith’s Longspur.

As we approach the end of our drive at Twin Lakes, we will
have an opportunity to see nesting Rough-legged Hawks and
Parasitic Jaegers.  At the lakes we will look among the spruce
trees for Bohemian Waxwing, Pine Grosbeak and the elusive
Spruce Grouse.  Also found in this area are Boreal
Chickadee, Solitary Sandpiper and Rusty Blackbird.  On rare
occasions both Great Gray Owl and Northern Hawk Owl have
nested here.

Day 5:  Goose Creek Road and Hydro Road

Besides Cape Merry , there are two main birding areas near
Churchill - the coastal roads and Twin Lakes to the east, and
Goose Creek and Hydro Roads to the south.  Having
explored the eastern sites yesterday, today we will venture
into the somewhat different habitats to the south.  The
stunted boreal forest called taiga lines these roads,
interspersed with marshes and spruce bogs.  The upland
forest here gives us an opportunity for woodland species
such as Boreal Chickadee, Gray-cheeked Thrush and
American Three-toed Woodpecker, as well as another
chance for Spruce Grouse.  The woodland bogs host nesting
Blackpoll Warbler, Tennessee Warbler and Orange-crowned
Warbler, Alder Flycatcher, Northern Waterthrush and Fox
Sparrow.  

We will stop at a number of marshes along the road to look
for Nelson’s and LeConte’s Sparrows, Sora and with
considerable luck, a Yellow Rail.  Northern Harriers and Short-
eared Owls work the wet meadows near the end of the road.

Day 6:  AM Revisiting Churchill Birding Sites; Afternoon
Flight Back to Winnipeg

At this time of the year at this latitude, mornings come early
and sunset is late.  We will have spent some long days
exploring the wonders of the Churchill area, but inevitably
there will be some sites that deserve further investigation.  
This morning we will do additional birding in some areas that
we may have missed earlier in our tour, or which we feel
deserve more attention.  Among additional species that are
possible areTundra Swan, Gyrfalcon (unpredictable), Red-
necked Phalarope, Red Phalarope, White-rumped
Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Boreal Owl (rare and
difficult to see, but usually present), Northern Shrike, Lapland
Longspur, Snow Bunting and White-Winged Crossbill.  Many
of these birds are uncommon here, but we will almost
certainly see at least a few of them.

We will catch a mid-afternoon flight back to Winnipeg.  You
should plan for a relatively late flight home, or you can spend
a very worthwhile additional day or two exploring the
Winnipeg area on your own.
Trip Description
Summer Birding in the Sub-Arctic
Churchill, Manitoba, Canada
For more information or to sign up for one of our trips, call Charles at
888-203-7464 or directly at 720-320-1974 or by email at
info@PIBird.com.
Arctic Tern: Photo by Robert Royse
Common Eider: Photo by Robert Royse
Spruce Grouse: Photo by Robert Royse
Ruffed Grouse: Photo by Robert Royse
Photo by Robert Royse
Tenessee Warbler: Photo by Robert Royse
Bobolink: Photo by Robert Royse
Boreal Chickadee: Photo by Robert Royse
Parasitic Jaeger: Photo by Robert Royse
Hudsonian Godwit: Photo by Robert Royse
Clay-colored Sparrow: Photo by Robert Royse