Over the last two years I have gone on two trips with “Yellowbilled Tours” (The Wisconsin and Northern New Mexico). On both trips our guide knew where to find the birds and what birds we were seeing. Our tour had only four birders. So there was no confusing herd to deal with. I find their variety of tours very interesting. When I take another bird trip it will be with Yellow-billed Tours. Also, our guide knew where to find good food!
Birding Wisconsin, with its many wet habitats, is a great experience during spring migration
May 12th to May 16th., 2015. In 2015, I will introduce new interesting driving routes using rural state highways to create more birding time.
This is a small-group field trip limited to six participants. This is an ideal trip for couples.
YBT uses comfortable vans.
If you need to add warblers to your life list, this is a good trip to see 24+ warblers. The 2014 field trips observed 24 species of warblers. Perhaps the best was a Prairie Warbler seen in Milwaukee Grant Park. Both Scarlet and Summer Tanagers were seen. Wild Whooping Cranes are likely to be seen. This five-day field tour will also provide birders with opportunities to experience a touch of America’s conservation history, with visits to the boyhood home of John Muir and Aldo Leopold’s home in the Baraboo Mountains of central Wisconsin. Also included in the field trip is a visit to the International Crane Foundation breeding and visitor center. The Mississippi Flyway, as it cuts through Wisconsin, is an overlooked birding opportunity for California Birders seeking Neotropical spring migrants. We will witness spring migration during its peak period, with many species in full breeding plumage. Bring your camera to take advantage of the many photo opportunities this field trip will provide.
Day 1, Tuesday May 12th -7 AM hotel pick-up at the Best Western Milwaukee Airport
The tour begins with birding in Milwaukee, exploring the city’s walking paths along Lake Michigan, stopping to bird the lakefront beaches for Piping Plover, scoping the Coast Guard breakwater for loafing gull species, and visiting a wonderful string of lakeside parks to seek Eastern Bluebird, Purple Martin and newly arrived Blue-headed and Red-eyed Vireos. We will close the day with a visit to Milwaukee’s Urban Ecology Center to use their three-story birding tower to watch for the evening Chimney Swifts. We will all dine together for both lunch and dinner on Milwaukee east side at one of several organic restaurants.
Day 2, Wednesday May 13th
We will bird Harrington Beach State Park, one of Wisconsin’s oldest and most beautiful state parks, in search of Franklin’s Gulls, Bonaparte’s Gulls, and Wood Warblers. We’ll stop at the Wisconsin Lake Michigan Raptor Observatory, where we’ll view migrating raptors in volumes equal to our GGRO in the Marin Headlands. As we bird our way through the Wisconsin hardwood forests to Cedarburg Bog State Natural Area, we’ll look for the Northern Waterthrush. A drive brings us to Horicon Marsh, North America’s largest freshwater cattail marsh, found here in central Wisconsin. This is a birder’s paradise; we’ll search for Black Tern, White-rumped Sandpiper, and Pectoral Sandpiper, as well as more neotropical migrants including Baltimore Oriole, Flycatchers, Palm Warbler, and Indigo Bunting and possible Rusty Blackbird..
Day 3, Thursday May 14th
We will visit the International Crane Foundation in the morning, where we’ll see Whooping Cranes. We’ll not only enjoy the many birding trails—seeking Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, Rusty Blackbird, White-throated Sparrow, and Louisiana Waterthrush—but we’ll also explore the comprehensive offerings in their superb bookstore. In the afternoon, we’ll visit Aldo Leopold’s Home and Conference Center and search the hardwood forest and grasslands for Veery, Wood Thrush, Mourning Warbler, Hooded Warbler, and Canada Warbler.
Day 4, Friday May 15th
We will drive to the very productive Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, located in north central Wisconsin. The refuge has over 250 species on record. We’ll spend the day seeking Trumpeter Swan, Broad-winged Hawk, Black-billed Cuckoo, Acadian Flycatcher, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak, then dine and spend the night nearby.
Day 5, Saturday May 16th
On our way back to Milwaukee, we will stop to bird John Muir’s boyhood home, now a National Monument where we may see Red-headed Woodpecker, Chestnut-sided Warbler, and Pine Warbler. We’ll stop at Grand River Marsh seeking the Ovenbird and Wood Thrush. We’ll check our total sightings over dinner and enjoy a night’s rest before leaving for our scheduled May 17th flight home.
This itinerary is subject to change due to adverse weather or road conditions.
The trip begins Tuesday May 12th, with a 7AM Milwaukee Airport Best Western hotel pickup; it concludes at the same hotel on Saturday evening May 16, with dinner and drop-off at your hotel across from the Milwalkee Airport. Yellowbilled Tours will forward a Final Itinerary and Participant List to everyone about 3 weeks prior to the tour. It will include information and instructions for meeting the YBT Birding group at the Milwaukee Airport, as well as hotel addresses, emergency contact info, travel advisories, etc.
$1,550.00 cost includes all lodging, ground transportation, fuel and park entry fees. Airfare and meals are not included.
Registration is open and confirmed with registration form and $775.00 deposit.
Balance of $775.00 is due March 20th for both trips. If a participant cancels after balance is paid every effort will be made to find a suitable replacement. During any search for a replacement person, $100 per search week will be charged against your deposit up to $775.00. If you cancel, I will encourage you to help me find your replacement. If a replacement cannot be found, all payments will be forfeited to Yellowbilled Tours.
Last-minute trip cancellation by your tour leader would occur only in the event of unforeseen weather emergency or a family tragedy. In this case a 100% refund will be issued.
For questions, please contact: Rich Cimino 925-353-0266, or by e-mail at Yellowbilledtours@gmail.com