Day 1 – Group to arrive in Winnipeg.
Days 2 & 3 – Winnipeg to boreal forest sites (sites to be determined by pre-tour scouting, may include southeast Manitoba, Hecla or Riding Mountain National Park depending on year). This part of the world is well known for sightings of the majestic Great Gray Owl, a species we hope to find on this trip. Other owl species we would like to encounter today include the ghostly Snowy Owl and a Northern Hawk-Owl. In addition to finding owls, other boreal forest species should be encountered as well including two of North America's more sought-after woodpecker species, the American Three-toed and the Black-backed woodpecker. We could see Canada's new national bird, the enigmatic Gray Jay in the boreal forest on either of these two days, and witih some luck we'll bump into a little flock of roaming Boreal Chickadees as well. Winter finches are irruptive, but if it is a good year we should find Snow Bunting, Pine Grosbeak, Evening Grosbeak, Pine Siskin, and either of the redpolls. We will have our fingers crossed for an encounter with some grouse, and we could find three species here in southern Manitoba; Sharp-tailed Grouse, Ruffed Grouse and Spruce Grouse. In the evening we will do some owling and perhaps we will be rewarded with sightings of Boreal Owl or Northern Saw-whet Owl. On our second night we will choose which town to use as a base, depending on where the owls are found to be spending the winter. On the night of the 3rd day we will return to Winnipeg.
Day 4 – Sites close to Winnipeg may include oak Hammock Marsh before tour concludes late this afternoon. We could spot a Short-eared Owl flying low over the marsh, or a Northern Harrier, as well as other migrant raptors including Red-tailed Hawk and Bald Eagle. Though very scarce we could find a Gyrfalcon at some point during the tour. The first migrant waterfowl could be returning to the prairies if there is some open water available. Early migrant species to watch for include Mallard, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal and Common Goldeneye. With a little luck we could find Gray Partridge on our travels today, or on any other day of the tour for that matter. The tour will conclude in the late afternoon in Winnipeg.