2017 Cost :: 8-days/7-nights
$2000 per person, double occupancy from Bozeman, MT to Great Falls, MT (or Kalispell with Glacier Park Extension)
If a single room is preferred, or a suitable roommate is not available, a single supplement fee of $450 will be assessed.
A $500 deposit is required to reserve space. Register online with the form at right, by phone toll free 888.875.9453
Full payment, paid by check, is due at least 120 days before tour departure date.
Tour costs NOT included
Flight costs and meals are not included nor are trip insurance costs, alcoholic beverages, optional tips, phone calls, laundry, or items of a personal nature.
We highly recommend purchasing travel Insurance. In the event that you need to cancel your trip due to medical or other reasons, this insurance will protect you.
Note that this trip begins in Bozeman, MT and ends in Great Falls, MT
Day 1: Arrivals at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in Bozeman, MT (BZN)
Day 2: Birding in the Bozeman area
Day 3: East Gallatin Rec Area; Missouri Headwaters area; Lewis and Clark Caverns
Day 4: Mount Helena County Park; Cottonwood Reservoir; Harlowton area hotspots; Prairie Dog Town
Day 5: Pictograph Cave; hotspots en route to Northeast Montana
Day 6: Bentonite Rd; Bowdoin NWR
Day 7: Freezeout Lake; Benton Lake NWR; Giant Spring State Park
Day 8: Departures from Great Falls International Airport in Great Falls, MT (GTF)
Day 1 ~ Arrival at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in Bozeman, MT (BZN)
Arrival at Bozeman International Airport in Bozeman, MT. Orientation at dinner. If all of our arrivals are earlier in the day, we’ll spend the afternoon birding at Bozeman area hotspots. Night in Bozeman, MT.
Day 2 ~ Bozeman
Today we will explore areas around Bozeman known for owls and Prairie Falcons as well as bison and other wildlife. Night in Bozeman, MT.
Day 3 ~ East Gallatin Rec Area; Missouri Headwaters area; Lewis and Clark Caverns
Glen Lake is a part of East Gallatin Recreation Area. It’s a birdy location in Bozeman, Montana. Lazuli Bunting and Say’s Phoebe are easier here than other spots on our itinerary.
Our next destination is the area around the headwaters to the Missouri River. We will have more chances of seeing many of the species already named plus the possibility of seeing Hammond’s Flycatcher, Evening Grosbeak, and Say’s Phoebe. We may drive a section of Bench Rd to look for Sage Thrasher, Brewer’s Sparrow, and Ferruginous Hawk based on time.
Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park is Montana’s oldest park. It is also home to one of the largest known limestone caverns in the Northwest. For the birder, this area represents some drier habitat and a surprisingly diverse mix of birdlife. New birds we may find could be Western Tanager, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Common Nighthawk, White-throated Swift, Rock Wren, Dusky Flycatcher, Clark’s Nutcracker, and Green-tailed Towhee. Less likely birds include Dusky Grouse, Lazuli Bunting, Canyon Wren, and Pinyon Jay. Night in Helena, MT.
Day 4 ~ Mount Helena County Park; Cottonwood Reservoir; Harlowton area hotspots; Prairie Dog Town
Mount Helena County Park is one of Helena’s many good birding parks. Birds here are of a montane nature. It’s one of our better places for Western Tanager. And although uncommon and unpredictable, Red Crossbills are possible.
We’ll stop at Cottonwood Reservoir for a shot at finding Golden Eagle, Sage Thrasher, and Brewer’s Sparrow while looking at Trumpeter Swans, Franklin’s Gulls, and Yellow-headed Blackbirds.
By exploring some of the area roads around Harlowton we will look for McCown’s Longspur, Sprague’s Pipit, and Mountain Plover. Greater Sage Grouse, Gray Partridge, Baird’s Sparrow, and Ferruginous Hawk are all possible, too. A few of these birds will be more likely on Day 5.
Along Eastlick Road northwest of Billings is a prairie dog town. We’ll look for Upland Sandpiper, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Gray Partridge, Ferruginous Hawk, and Burrowing and Short-eared Owls.
Night near Billings, MT.
Day 5 ~ Pictograph Cave; hotspots en route to Northeast Montana
Our first stop will be Pictograph Cave State Park. Both Rock and Canyon Wrens are here, Lazuli Bunting, and Green-tailed Towhee. And we may be able to find Prairie Falcon.
Heading north out of Billings we’ll make a stop at one or more of the prairie hotspots along our route for birds like Burrowing Owl and Mountain Plover. We could see Golden Eagle, Swainson’s Hawk, and Ferruginous Hawk along the drive, too. Night near Malta, MT.
Day 6 ~ Bentonite Rd; Bowdoin NWR
Bentonite Rd. will be our easternmost stop. This road goes through habitat producing a unique mix of birds. Here we may find Ring-necked Pheasant, Gray Partridge, Greater Sage Grouse, or Sharp-tailed Grouse. Mountain Plover, Upland Sandpiper, Long-billed Curlew, and Marbled Godwit are here as are Sprague’s Pipit, both Chestnut-collared and McCown’s Longspurs, Baird’s Sparrow, and Bobolink.
A total of more than 160 species have been recorded in June at Bowdoin NWR. We’ll get to search for many of the same birds we looked for on Bentonite Rd but with the addition of a bevy of breeding waterfowl and shorebirds. This is a fabulous area for prairie birds of the northern Great Plains. In Montana, Bowdoin NWR is second only Medicine Lake NWR located 200 miles to the East near the North Dakota border. Our chances are almost as good here for many of our grassland target species. Birds include 20 species of waterfowl, Western and Eared Grebes (Clark’s is less likely), Greater Sage Grouse, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Gray Partridge, American White Pelican, White-faced Ibis, nearly 30 species of shorebirds, Sprague’s Pipit, Chestnut-collared Longspur (McCown’s Longspur is not likely here), Lark Bunting, and Baird’s Sparrow. Night near Havre, MT.
Day 7 ~ Freezeout Lake; Benton Lake NWR; Giant Spring State Park
A stop at Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area will give us our best possibilities for Black Tern, Clark’s Grebe, and Red-necked Grebe on this itinerary. Franklin’s Gulls should be here in good supply.
Benton Lake NWR is part of the Upper Great Plains. Some birds of the prairies in eastern Montana and North Dakota can be found here in the Great Falls, Montana area in small numbers. We’ll search for Wilson’s Phalarope, Swainson’s Hawk, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Upland Sandpiper, and Chestnut-collared Longspur.
Giant Springs were discovered in 1805 by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. It is one of the largest freshwater springs in the country. We have chances of seeing Cliff Swallow and Bobolink here. Night in Great Falls, MT.
Day 8 ~ Departures from Great Falls International Airport in Great Falls, MT (GTF)
Regular tour ends. Departures from Great Falls International Airport in Great Falls, MT (GTF)
Accommodations throughout the tour will be standard hotels and motels. Several of the towns have very limited options!