Greg Miller's Big Year Tour Series

CALIFORNIA: South Coast, Deserts, & Mountains

Prairie Falcon, photo by Alex Lamoreaux

TOUR FOCUS
BIRDS & WILDLIFE

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SCHEDULED TOURS

2021 :: January 3 - January 10
2022 :: January 9 - January 15

TRIP LEADERS

TOUR COST

From: $2,100 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from San Diego, CA (SAN)

GROUP SIZE

3 - 5 Participants

AVAILABILITY

2021 – 5 spaces available

2022 – 7 spaces available

PRIVATE TOUR OPTION

This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.

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TESTIMONIALS

55 + 9 =

Highlights of CALIFORNIA: South Coast, Deserts, & Mountains

  • 200+ species of birds to kick off the New Year right!
  • 20+ specialties, and 6 out of 7 ‘California’ birds
  • SoCal coast, San Bernardino Mtns, Salton Sea & Mojave Desert
  • Beautiful weather, awesome birds!

Description of CALIFORNIA: South Coast, Deserts, & Mountains

Southern California’s Mediterranean climate is especially appealing during the dead of winter, when most of the country is locked into cold, dreary conditions day after day. This January tour begins and ends along the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, but travels in a large loop of the region and covers habitats varying from the urban streets of Los Angeles, to chaparral hills and pine-oak mountains in the San Bernardinos, to the vast Mojave Desert and Salton Sea. This whirlwind tour is the perfect winter escape for some solid birding while soaking up sunshine, and kicking your year list off right!

Birding might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Southern California, and maybe instead you recall the 1970s ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ on TV and thought “Californy” was a place for millionaires, swimmin’ pools, and movie stars. It certainly has that, but SoCal is so much more. In fact more than 20 million people call this place home, but with California’s pleasant temperatures, stunning scenery, and convenience to everything, how can you blame them! Of course, with lots of humans there is lots of traffic. Maybe you’ve stayed away for these reasons. But if so, you are missing out on California’s wild side. So why not let us do the planning and the driving for you? Despite its urban density, the birding can be absolutely fantastic right in the heart of the two largest cities, Los Angeles and San Diego. The coast varies from sandy beaches, to saltmarsh, and even scenic cliffs. The city parks are incredibly beautiful and vibrant, and large natural areas still exist outside the city limits. You won’t believe how the scenery changes from one hour to the next, and you never know what birds might pop up!

Southern California is a must-visit area on every birder’s calendar. The birdlife is stunningly rich due to the diversity of habitats that converge here. The Pacific shoreline, the grasslands of the Central Valley, the trifecta of mountain ranges coming together in the highlands, and the Mojave Desert and Salton Sea brings together 100’s of species. Huge numbers of over-wintering birds seek out sheltered bays, marshes, and lakes. We will visit each of these varied habitats during the course of our trip, and plan to tally up a really nice list of over 200 species of birds, many of which are western and California specialties!

Christmas Bird Counts in Los Angeles and San Diego are the most species-rich in the country, and with good reason – huge numbers of waterfowl, shorebirds, terns, gulls, and raptors visit the region during winter and regional residents are in good supply, many of which are beginning to sing and set up breeding territories. Over 20 regional specialties are completely or nearly endemic to California and we will be searching for each of them, including Ridgway’s Rail, Black Oystercatcher, Allen’s Hummingbird, Bell’s Sparrow, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Wrentit, Oak Titmouse, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Mountain Quail, Tricolored Blackbird, Pacific Wren, and Golden-crowned Sparrow. And of course, 6 out of the 7 bird species beginning with ‘California’ are top targets of this trip…. California Gull, California Gnatcatcher, California Towhee, California Thrasher, California Quail, and California Scrub-Jay! This is really a great tour for a taste of the excellent birding in California.

NEW for 2020 we have a 5-day target tour extension to this 8-day trip! This short tour focuses on finding California Condor, Island Scrub-Jay, and a bunch of Los Angeles exotic birds! Contact us to learn more about combining these two great California birding trips!

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Length of Tour

8-days/7-nights

Brief Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival at San Diego Int. Airport (SAN), Tijuana River Valley, Imperial Beach. Night in San Diego.
Day 2: San Diego River, Mission Bay, Point La Jolla, Mile Square Regional Park. Night in Huntingdon Beach.
Day 3: Huntingdon Beach, Bolsa Chica, Compton exotics, Playa del Rey. Night in Lancaster.
Day 4: Antelope Valley, Lancaster fields. Night in Moreno Valley.
Day 5: San Jacinto Wildlife Area, San Bernardino NF, Idyllwind. Night in Palm Springs.
Day 6: Coachella Valley, Salton Sea loop. Night in Borego Springs.
Day 7: Anza-Borrego Desert hotspots and oasis, Warner Valley. Night in San Diego.
Day 8: Local birding around San Diego. Departure from San Diego Int. Airport (SAN).

Full Itinerary

*The exact order of each daily itinerary is subject to change depending on current conditions.*

Day 1 – Arrival at San Diego Int. Airport (SAN), Tijuana River Valley, Imperial Beach. Night in San Diego.

After morning arrivals at San Diego International Airport, we will set off for as much birding as we can pack into our first afternoon in southern California! San Diego is well-known for a long list of vagrants, so any major rarities will be prime targets. A vagrant Thick-billed Kingbird has overwintered near Poggi Creek for many years now, and if it returns we will try to track it down! Sometimes Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Vermillion Flycatcher can be found in this area too.

Beyond rarities, we will get started with resident specialties. The diverse habitats in the area host everything from exotic Black-throated Magpie Jays and various parrots, to the federally threatened California Gnatcatcher and endangered Ridgway’s Rail. Additional SoCal species including Allen’s Hummingbird, Anna’s Hummingbirds, Cassin’s Kingbird, California Scrub-Jay, Bushtit, Wrentit, California Thrasher, and California Towhee should be plentiful in the coastal sage-scrub as we bird our way around San Diego. Be on the lookout for White-tailed Kites and other raptors!

We will end the day at Imperial Beach and Tijuana Slough NWR, where we hope to spot a Ridgway’s Rail skulking in the marshes. Many waterfowl species, waders, and big shorebirds like Whimbrel, Marbled Godwit, ‘Western’ Willet, and Long-billed Curlew gather to roost here. Watching the sun sun on the Pacific Ocean is always a treat! Night in San Diego.

Day 2 – San Diego River, Mission Bay, Point La Jolla, Mile Square Regional Park. Night in Huntingdon Beach.

We will kick off our first full day birding the San Diego River. The narrow river and it’s estuary flow into the Pacific Ocean, and host an overwhelming number and diversity of birds, particularly waterfowl and shorebirds. Targets to look for here include ‘Black’ Brant, Eurasian Wigeon, Cinnamon Teal, Red Knot, and up to ten species of gulls and terns! The gorgeous Heermann’s Gull is common here. Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Great Blue Herons, and Little Blue Herons are common, and we would be lucky to spot Tricolored Heron or even Reddish Egret. Both night-heron species may be tucked into dense trees, sleeping the day away. The number of shorebirds can be mind-boggling, but we will carefully scan through them and point out different species while giving helpful ID tips and tricks on this difficult group of birds. Having so many species mixed together is a great chance to learn!

Heading north, we will bird around Mission Bay. Various parks and preserves around the bay offer lots of ducks and shorebirds gathered in prime foraging areas. Kendall-Frost Marsh Reserve can have ‘Black’ Brant, Ridgway’s Rail, egrets and herons, and maybe a few Red-masked Parakeets will fly past! Sometimes we spot Eared Grebe, Horned Grebe, and both Clark’s and Western Grebes here. California has various unique subspecies of the Savannah Sparrow, and we have the chance to find the dark ‘Belding’s Sparrow’ and maybe the ampty-named ‘Large-billed Sparrow’ while we bird around Mission Bay.

Crown Point is one of the only places to see wintering Black Skimmers in California. Up to 6 species of grebes can be found here too. Say’s Phoebe, Black Phoebe, and Cassin’s Kingbirds are common wintering flycatchers at this park. ‘Audubon’s Warbler’ and Orange-crowned Warblers are abundant in winter, but we will check flocks carefully for other wintering warbler like Yellow or Townsend’s. Chipping Sparrow and other songbirds can be hiding in the area.

Now we will visit world-famous La Jolla Cove for a bit of seawatching on the beautiful Pacific! A deep underwater canyon runs very close to shore here, and allows pelagic species to be seen right from the cliffs, sans nausea. The birds can be quite distant, but can often be seen pretty well in scopes. We’ll be looking for Black-vented Shearwater passing by offshore, and Wandering Tattler can be found on the rocks below. Three species of loons (Common, Red-throated, and Pacific), and the Pacific trifecta of cormorants (Double-crested, Pelagic, and Brandt’s) are common. Brandt’s Cormorants actually nest on the cliffs and their  point-blank views offer incredible photo-opportunities while the birds carefully build their beautiful seaweed nests! Surf Scoters, Clark’s Grebe, and Black Turnstones may also be spotted. Heermann’s Gull, Western Gull, and California Gulls should be plentiful along with Royal Terns, and maybe even a jaeger! The nearby seal haul-out is a great chance to see ‘Pacific’ Harbor Seals and huge California Sea Lions sleeping in big groups on the small, sandy beaches. Northern Elephant Seals sometimes turn up here too!

Now it’s time to sit back and relax; we have 2 hour drive north towards Los Angeles. The remainder of the day will be spent exploring the Mile Square Regional Park near Huntingdon Beach. The golf course attracts Canada Geese which in turn attract rare wintering geese like Snow, Ross’s, ‘Aleutian’ Cackling, and Greater White-fronted. Exotic, but established, Egyptian Geese are residents here too. Raptors are often plentiful, including the stunningly colorful local subspecies of Red-shouldered Hawk. Eucalyptus Trees are invasive to California, but they do offer a winter habitat for warblers and other songbirds. Nuttall’s Woodpecker and Red-breasted Sapsucker may be hiding in the oaks. Various exotic bird species are residents in LA’s city parks, and we may encounter Scaly-breasted Munia, Bronzed Mannikin, Northern Red Bishop, Swinhoe’s White-eye, and others! Night in Newport Beach.

Day 3 – Huntingdon Beach, Bolsa Chica, Compton exotics, Playa del Rey. Night in Lancaster.

At sunrise we will have a quick check around Huntingdon Central Park for a few exotic songbirds (namely Swinhow’s White-eye and Scaly-breasted Munia). After that we will head to the coast and bird our way north through the Bolsa Chica Preserve’s coastal lagoons. This reserve underwent a major restoration effort in the 1970’s, and that is really paying off with a nice variety of waterfowl, shorebirds, and waders. Sea ducks like Surf Scoter, Greater Scaup, and sometimes a Long-tailed Duck can be at close range in the multiple bays and lagoons. California Gnatcatchers still persist in the scrubby hillsides around the lagoon. Pacific Golden Plovers and other rare shorebirds pop up here from time to time…

Then we have to bite the bullet and brave the LA traffic… we will head right in to the heart of the beast in to look for Spotted Doves. These Asian doves look like brighter, fancier Mourning Doves and were first introduced to southern California in 1915. Their population quickly exploded and they became common throughout urban and agricultural areas in the region. In the last two decades, however, Spotted Dove numbers have crashed. They are now hanging on by a shoestring in California, and only found in densely urban sites around Compton. They can be tough to pin down, but we will try our luck. Other rarities may be searched for depending on recent sightings. In 2019 we saw a wintering Red-flanked Bluetail at the UCLA library, so you never know what might be around!

The jetties and breakwaters around Playa Del Rey are a wonderful place to see rocky shorebirds like Black Oystercatcher, Wandering Tattler, Surfbird, Black Turnstone, and Whimbrel up close and personal. Loons, grebes, diving ducks, and gulls add to the experience. Sometimes rarer gulls like Mew and Glaucous-winged can be found here. We will spend a few hours on the coast, and have lunch in this classic California beach town.

The evening will be spent heading inland for the next segment of our tour. We will leave the city, venture through the suburbs nestled into the coastal mountain ranges, then cross over Angeles Crest on our way to the Antelope Valley. Night in Lancaster.

Day 4 – Antelope Valley, Lancaster fields. Night in Moreno Valley.

We’ll start our morning in the beautiful, high-elevation Mojave Desert. Exploring the sagelands and western limit of iconic Joshua Trees. The Antelope Valley can turn up really interesting birds, while the southern tip of the Sierra Nevada Mountains looms above us. Targets for the morning include Le Conte’s Thrasher, Sage Thrasher, Ross’s Geese, Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, and Bell’s Sparrow. Black-tailed Jackrabbits and Coyotes roam the desert. Weather conditions can sometimes be overcast and cool in the mornings but quickly heat up by mid-day, so bring layered clothing and a hat.

A slow loop around Apollo Park offers a good chance f0r finding roosting owls. In the past we have found Great-horned, Barn, and even Long-eared Owls sleeping in the junipers and tamarisks. California Quail, various ducks, and point-blank Greater White-fronted Geese are common here. Large numbers of juncos overwinter at this site, and although the flocks are dominated by ‘Oregon Juncos’ we have also spotted ‘Slate-colored’, ‘Cassiar’, and ‘Pink-sided’ subspecies here too! Both ‘Audubon’s’ and ‘Myrtle’ Yellow-rumped Warblers gather in the trees around the park, and we will search through them carefully for rare songbirds. Mountain Bluebirds winter in the fields nearby; sometimes with dozens in one field!

After lunch we will make a loop around the eastern half of the Antelope Valley. Targets will include Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Merlin, and grassland shorebirds like the rare, and range-restricted Mountain Plover. Horned Larks, American Pipits, Loggerhead Shrike, and 100s of Common Ravens can be expected. ‘Western’ Red-tailed Hawks overwinter here in large numbers, and we might get to see the rufous or dark type birds which compose less than 10% of the population.

We will have a 1.5 hour drive to the Moreno Valley where we are staying for the night, so the later afternoon will mostly be spent driving south. Depending on time and interest we may also hit some birding hotspots along the way, namely Saint Andrew’s Priory. This tiny oasis in the desert offers cover and fresh water to birds, and we can often find a few notable species hiding out in the trees including Townsend’s Solitaire, Red-breasted and Red-naped Sapsuckers, and Oak Titmice. Night near the Moreno Valley, CA.

Day 5 – San Jacinto Wildlife Area, San Bernardino NF, Idyllwind. Night in Palm Springs.

We are in for a big day birding some really great habitats and hoping for a bunch of regional specialties. At sunrise we will head to the San Jacinto Wildlife Area. This is a wetland oasis at the base of the cismontane (coastal) slope of the San Bernardino National Forest. The range itself is a major migratory corridor. The abundance of waterfowl and small mammals at San Jacinto and in the surrounding grasslands provide ample prey for raptors like Bald and Golden Eagles, Prairie Falcon, Peregrine, Ferruginous Hawk, and White-tailed Kite. Cattail-filled wetlands, cattle farms, and dairies provide winter food and cover for the endangered Tricolored Blackbird, and we may also encounter Cinnamon Teal, American White Pelicans, American Bittern, Cattle Egrets, and White-faced Ibis. Sometimes Least Bittern can be found in the lush wetland impoundments. Compost piles at a nearby ranch can host a nice collection of gulls, with Thayer’s and Lesser Black-backed Gulls being somewhat regular in winter… although we may have to scan through hundreds of California and Ring-billed Gull to find them!

The rest of the day will be spent exploring the chaparral hillsides and oak-pine mountains of the San Bernardino Mountains. McCall Memorial Park is a great place to find California Quail and a number of great mountain species like Steller’s Jay, Mountain Chickadee, Oak Titmouse, ‘Pacific’ White-breasted Nuthatch, and Pygmy Nuthatch. Acorn and Nuttall’s Woodpeckers can be abundant. Huge pine cones scattered on the ground belong to Sugar Pines and Coulter Pines, native to these mountains. A quick check of the manzanita scrub along the shores of Lake Hemet can produce nice views of the skulky Wrentit and maybe a flock of Bushtits! Sometimes Bald Eagles overwinter on the lake. The Holy Grail of California birds is the regal Mountain Quail. Keep a sharp eye on the side of the road for this colorful quail which likes the manzanita-covered slopes. Keep your ears peeled for their ‘quee-ark!‘ calls.

We will have lunch in the quaint mountain-town of Idyllwild and then check some parks for more woodpeckers! White-headed Woodpecker, Williamson’s and Red-naped Sapsuckers, and ‘Pacific’ Hairy Woodpeckers are attracted to the old-growth pines and cedars. Band-tailed Pigeons may be seen flying over in small flocks. Keep an eye out for Western Gray Squirrels and Mule Deer! Heading downhill toward Banning we will check a few side-roads for birds, and make a stop at a scenic overlook where Rufous-crowned Sparrow and Spotted Towhee may be found. Watch the skies for soaring Golden Eagles and White-throated Swifts!

After making our way through the San Gorgonio Pass (which sits at the confluence of the Colorado and Mojave Deserts), we will round the San Gorgonio Peak, and head toward Palm Springs. Night in Palm Springs, where the vibe and architecture almost make you feel like you’ve entered a 60’s movie set!

Day 6 – Coachella Valley, Salton Sea loop. Night in Borego Springs.

We’ll get an early start so that we can fully appreciate our last day in the Mojave Desert and around the Salton Sea. After a quick stop to check for rarities at one of Palm Spring’s city parks, we will head off for a true desert oasis. The Thousand Palms Oasis in the Coachella Valley has a small, dense patch of towering California Fan Palms surrounding a few freshwater springs. Greater Roadrunner, Verdin, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, and Phainopepla should be abundant and we will try to track down Rock Wren, Sagebrush Sparrow, and others. The habitat here is really beautiful, and colorful wildflowers and cactus cover the landscape. Desert Gold, Arizona Lupine, Cholla Cactus, and Spanish Needle may host a number of butterflies if the weather is decent.

The remainder of the day will be dedicated to making a huge loop of the famous Salton Sea. This inland sea is a geologic oddity, bourgeoisie vacation destination turned ghost town, and a vagrant bird magnet – there’s nothing quite like it! Fish farms at the north end can hold egrets, herons, and good numbers of gulls. The dry, desert landscape is home to Greater Roadrunners, Common Ground-Doves, Cactus Wren, and Abert’s Towhee. The North Shore Marina often has an overwhelming number of ducks, coots, and grebes. Some years we have counted over 250 Eared Grebe from this one spot, as well as 100+ Ruddy Ducks and 300 Least Sandpipers. Dozens of Black-necked Stilts, American Avocets, and other shorebirds are common along the salty shoreline. A careful scan through the Double-crested Cormorants may turn up a Neotropic. All of the California Gulls should be double-checked for rarities, especially the stray Yellow-footed Gull which is a summer resident but very rare during the winter months. Vegetated borders around the lake can house Sagebrush Sparrows, and probably some hybrids between Bell’s and Sagebrush Sparrows. Great-tailed Grackles and Yellow-headed Blackbirds can be found in cattail-filled marshes, or mixed in with the hordes of Red-winged Blackbirds coming to roost here.

The irrigation projects and the Sonny Bono-Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge at the southeast corner of the lake provide nesting and wintering habitat for 1000s of birds. Listen for Sora and Virginia Rails, and watch for various terns to fly past. The ‘Yuma’ subspecies of Ridgway’s Rail can be heard here too. Sometimes you can find foraging flocks of 1000+ Long-billed Curlews in one field, as well as 100s of Cattle Egrets and White-faced Ibis! Recently-plowed farmland may be another opportunity for us to find Mountain Plovers. Burrowing Owls are also found in the area.

In this area we will trade some of the California birds for their more desert-adapted relatives… Gambel’s Quail, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Abert’s Towhee, and even Gila Woodpecker can be found here! The day will end along Vendel Road watching as 1000s of Snow Geese and 100s of Sandhill Cranes gather to roost. Keep an eye out for rare Lesser Nighthawks as the sun sets. Night in Borrego Springs.

Day 7 – Anza-Borrego Desert hotspots and oasis, Warner Valley. Night in San Diego.

We’re going to be classic birders this morning and start out at a sewage treatment pond, but actually the lush pocket of desert surrounding the ponds are a great place to look for Crissal Thrasher and Sage Thrasher. Lark Sparrow, ‘Gambel’s’ White-crowned, and Brewer’s Sparrows may be found in nice flocks throughout the scrub. White-winged Doves will be flying about town and we may find a Gray Flycatcher or Plumbeous Vireo in one of the resort oasis. Cooper’s Hawk lurk the brushlines. Some alkaline flats will be a nice place to try for Sagebrush Sparrow and LeConte’s Thrasher if needed. We should find Black-throated Sparrow, Verdin, Black Phoebe, and Rock Wren along the way. Phainopepla are commonly seen feasting on Desert Mistletoe. Watch for Western Side-blotched Lizards and other reptiles if the weather is warm enough. The Roadrunner Club housing community has multiple freshwater ponds that host a large number of overwintering American Wigeon. Scanning through the flocks can often turn up Eurasian Wigeon and other interesting ducks. Costa’s Hummingbirds are common at flowering cacti.

After lunch we will drive up the steep slopes of the San Ysidro Mountains, where we might find White-throated Swifts soaring along the rocky escarpments and hear Canyon Wren singing. White-sided Antelope Squirrels can be common.

The rest of the day will be spent heading back over the mountains toward San Diego. In the Ranchita area we can check side-roads for another shot at Mountain Quail, plus rare Lewis’s Woodpeckers and Lawrence’s Goldfinches. The Warner Valley grasslands are home to a plethora of wintering raptors. Lake Henshaw usually has 100s of ducks, coots, and grebes. Bald Eagles are more common in this area. We will then wind our way back toward the coast, and enjoy a nice dinner in downtown San Diego. Night in San Diego.

Day 8 – Local birding around San Diego. Departure from San Diego Int. Airport (SAN).

Depending on departures we will do some local birding on the last morning. We will search for any remaining target birds or stake-out rarities. Another visit to the San Diego River estuary or the Mission Beach jetty could yield coastal birds that we missed earlier in the week. A few local parks typically house a few wayward songbirds we might want to pick up, and Emory Cove has been the wintering grounds for an unusual American Flamingo for the past few winters. Participants will be dropped off at the airport in the afternoon, although they won’t want to leave!

NEW for 2020 we have a 5-day target tour that works as an extension to this 8-day trip! This short tour focuses on finding California Condor, Island Scrub-Jay, and a bunch of Los Angeles exotic birds! If any participants wish to stay for the extension, we will head north to Los Angeles and join the rest of our group!

Cost

Cost is $2,100 per person, based upon double occupancy, from San Diego, CA (Airport code SAN).
This trip ends in same as arrival city (Airport code SAN).

Cost Includes

Cost includes airport transfers, all ground transportation, accommodations, entrance fees and services of your professional leader(s).

Cost does not Include

All meals, flights to/from destination city, trip insurance, or anything that is not specifically mentioned in the itinerary.

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of participants registered, the trip can still run with a small-group supplement fee per person determined by the number of participants.

Single Supplement

If a single room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $450 will be assessed.

Deposit Requirements

A $500 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.

How to Book

In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.

Final Payment

For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.

For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.

NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.

Seven night’s accommodations in standard motels, all ensuite and comfortable. Wherever possible, we support local establishments that implement eco-friendly practices. Full-size, luxury SUVs will be used for this tour.

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

Anticipate walks up to 1.5 miles in length, but mostly over flat and open terrain. Weather can vary dramatically from hot and sunny to chilly and windy, so please bring layered clothing and rain gear. We will be traveling in large SUVS, so please be prepared for climbing in and out of the (quite luxurious) trucks many times per day.

Recommended Field Guide

Sibley Birds West (2nd Edition, 2016, Knopf)
by David Allen Sibley

Sibley Birds is also available as an App

 

 

Purchasing Flights

Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.

Detailed Trip Information

Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.

Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.

Travel Insurance

As with all tours, we highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to cover your investment. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.

Passport & Visa

US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.

Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.

Itinerary Changes

The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.

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