Birding Wisconsin | Spring Warbler | Spring Migration May 7, 2017 – 2016 results by scrolling down

                  2017 Field Trip is sold out watch for the May 2018 field trip details soon. 

Whooping cranes

Whooping cranes


Observed in Harrington State Beach, Wisconsin

Observed in Harrington State Beach, Wisconsin


Y B T | Wisconsin 2014 – 2016 Field Trip sightings and testimonials;

Client Testimonial

Hello friends,
I have finished writing my journal about our trip so the fond memories will stay with me longer. I thought I would summarize my favorites from each day to share with you all.
Meanwhile I want to say what a nice time we had. The trip was well organized and we felt well taken care of at all times. Rich and Janet are very attentive, personable and knowledgeable…all good leadership qualities. We really appreciated the small group. It makes everything so much more pleasant because we could hear each other in the car, we all had good turns to see birds, our great leaders had time to point out markings, etc. to each of us, and we could get to know each other. We could also hear each other around tables at restaurants, and there was always enough room in the car for luggage and all the extras. So we think Rich is on to a great format for a birding trip. And you can count on him to keep you well fed at “interesting”, mostly delicious, restaurants😊
We have never spent time in Wisconsin, so it was quite amazing to see so many beautiful migrating birds. They say “where there’s water there’s life”, and it is certainly true in that state. Seeing 135 species in five days, with 36 of those species being basically new for us, was excellent use of our time and interests. We were quite impressed with the numerous beautiful nature centers in Wisconsin…Necedah, Horicon Marsh,  International Crane Foundation, Aldo Leopoldo center, and the Schlitz Audubon. And the park along the shore of Lake Michigan in Milwaukie is gorgeously birdy.
So here were the bird highlights for us (not always new, but reflecting how special they were):
Monday– Common terns; bright red cardinals; blackburnian, blue-winged, and blackpoll warblers; the two woodpeckers; the bold marsh wrens; the fuzzy Eastern screech owl; the brown thrasher so cinnamon-colored; and the glimpse of an indigo bunting. Also seeing so many white-throated sparrows with ease. And of course the large Cooper’s hawk that had us fooled.
Tuesday – Horned larks, Baltimore Orioles, rose-breasted grosbeak, field sparrows, E. Bluebirds, all the different magnificent cranes.
Wednesday – That beautiful eastern kingbird, the various swallows, more warblers (black and white, chestnut sided, blue wing, yellow, Tennessee, Palm, yellow throat), the VEERY, a wild whooping crane, bald eagles feeding chicks, yellow-throated vireo, and a broad wing hawk.
Thursday– The bobolink and the golden-winged warbler!, the white faced ibis, clay-colored sparrows, northern Paula, magnolia warbler, gray-cheeked thrush, black throated green warbler, kingfisher and ruby throated hummingbird.
Friday– My favorite afternoon because we had time to watch the stream with its steady stream of bathers! I love the indigo bunting, the black-throated blue warbler, and the rose-breathed grosbeak. That day was also special with the Bonepart’s gull, sedge wren, orchard oriole, and scarlet tanager.
by DeDe & Rick SabBag


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!
By William Amundsen – 2014

Birding Wisconsin, May 7th to May 11th. 2017 with its many sand hills, wetlands, marshes, the small narrow canyons along Lake Michigan, Wisconsin State Parks and John Muir’s boyhood home is a great birding experience during spring migration.
This is a small-group field trip limited to six participants.  This is an ideal trip for couples. YBT uses comfortable vans.

YBT | Wisconsin 2016 Sighting list grows to 192 species YBT – Wisconsin species summary_list 8.13.16

If you need to add warblers to your life list, this is a good trip to see 24+ warblers. The 2016 field trips observed the Yellow-throated Warbler, a rare species of warbler in southern Wisconsin. Perhaps the best were a Prairie & Pine Warbler seen in Milwaukee Grant Park 2014.  Both Scarlet and Summer Tanagers were seen.  Wild Whooping Cranes are likely to be seen.  For the 2017, field trip we are hoping to add the Kirkland’s Warbler to the list of warblers we chase for our clients!  In 2016, we added the following species to the YBT Wisconsin List: Eastern Screech-Owl, White-faced Ibis, Dunlin, White-rumped Sandpiper,Yellow-headed Black Bird, Little Blue Heron and Ruffed Grouse. 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 homes of John Muir and Aldo Leopold 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 Neotropic 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.

You arrive Saturday May 6th, 2017. I will have a made your reservation at the Hampton Inn Milwaukee Airport for your Saturday and Sunday night stay.    YBT – Wisconsin 2017 field trip registration 8.13.16.

DAY 1 Sunday 5/7/2017  8AM 

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 many species of warblers, Red-Headed Woodpecker, 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’s east side at one of several organic restaurants.

Day 2 |  Monday

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 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, Ibis  as well as more neotropical migrants including Bobolink, Baltimore Oriole, Empidonax Flycatchers,Yellow-throated Vireo, Grass land Sparrows, Indigo Bunting and possible Rusty Blackbird..

Day 3 |  Tuesday

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 Field Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, Scarlet Tanager, 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, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Hooded Warbler, and Solitary Sandpiper and Lesser Yellowlegs.

Day 4 | Wednesday

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 Wild Whooping CranesTrumpeter Swan, Broad-winged Hawk, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Acadian Flycatcher, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak, possible Common Loon and Blue-wing Warbler.

Day 5 | Thursday

On our way back to Milwaukee, we will stop to bird John Muir’s boyhood home, now a National Monument, where we may see different species of Empidonax Flycatchers, Red-headed Woodpecker, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Pine Warbler and Field Sparrow.  We’ll stop at Grand River Marsh seeking the wetland wading species and Ovenbird.  We’ll check our total sightings over lunch.

This itinerary is subject to change due to adverse weather or road conditions.

The trip begins Sunday May 7th, with a 8AM  Milwaukee Airport Hampton Inn pickup; it concludes at the same hotel on Thursday afternoon May 11th, with an optional 4 PM drop-off at the Milwaukee Airport.  If you plan to spend Thursday night in Milwaukee, you will need to make a room reservation.  Thursday night stay is not covered in the field trip fee. 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.

YBT – Wisconsin 2017 field trip registration 8.13.16.

$1,695.00 cost includes all lodging (Saturday to Thursday), ground transportation,fuel and park entry fees.  Airfare and meals are not included.
Registration is open and confirmed with registration form and $800.00 deposit.
Balance of $895.00 is due March 1, 2017. 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, $200 per search week will be charged against your deposit up to $800.00. 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.

For questions, please contact: Rich Cimino 925-353-0266, or by e-mail at



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