Churchill: Birds of the Sub-Arctic
Be part of the migration as we follow birds off the beaten path.
We include leisurely walks in the Boreal Forest, Taiga, Tundra and coastal ecosystems surrounding Churchill, Manitoba. Churchill is located along a migratory path of many birds. Here we find a wide variety of habitats ranging from wet & dry tundra to boreal forest, from willow & alder wetlands to freshwater rivers, creeks and ponds. Also here is the productive Churchill River estuary and the rich marine environments of Hudson's Bay. This tour includes full interpretation of the areas natural history, local culture and geology.
We include a boat trip along ice floes of the Churchill River Estuary looking out for birds and Beluga whales. In addition to our birds, possible sightings of wildlife include polar bear, caribou, ringed & bearded seal, red & arctic fox & arctic hare. Local naturalists Paul Ratson & Sheldon Olivier have lived and worked extensively on wildlife issues in Churchill. Together they have over 45 years of combined experience in birds and wildlife.
2017 Departure Dates and Cost
June 24 - 29 , 2017
Tour Cost: $ 3,600 CAD / $2,940 USD + 5% tax
Single Supplement Cost: $ 650 CAD / 520 USD
Includes return airfare from Winnipeg/Churchill
Minimum group size 2 - maximum group size 6
Early booking bonus $ 150 per person for bookings made by Mar. 1, 2017
DAY 1 WINNIPEG/CHURCHILL (L,D)
Morning flight to Churchill. On arrival you will be met by your local ornithology guide. On the way to town we will stop along the coast of Hudson Bay where we will look for shore birds and sea ducks. Check-in at the Bear Country Inn. Lunch at Gypsy's restaurant. We will then walk up the Churchill River shoreline looking for red-throated loon, Parasitic Jaeger, courting terns and other shorebirds. Return to town for a short orientation. Welcome dinner. At 7:00 pm we will visit the Harbour Board ponds by the historic Churchill grain port. We will observe a wide variety of shore birds, nesting Arctic terns, various ducks, and look for the elusive Ross's Gull.
DAY 2 BOREAL FOREST/TWIN LAKES (B,L)
Early breakfast and return to the Harbour Board Ponds to search for newcomers. We travel to Twin Lakes, a glacial Kame in the Boreal Forest, looking for chickadee, Spruce Grouse, other forest birds & wildlife. You will have the opportunity to see the transition of the Boreal forest to the tundra through the taiga. We will also look for Arctic foxes, caribou, lemmings, ptarmigans, owls and hare. Field lunch and return to town. Dinner on own.
DAY 3 HUDSON BAY (B,L)
After an early breakfast, we will drive along the Hudson Bay Coast at low tide to scan for Hudsonian Godwit, Sanderling, Semipalmatted Plover and long-tailed Jaeger. Enjoy a field lunch. Continue to the various coves and bays as the tide rises, looking to the waters for signs of pelagic birds and marine mammals. Return to town by 5:00 pm. Dinner on own. At 7:00 pm we will visit Cape Merry to look for King Eider and Harlequin Ducks. If you are up to it, watch the sunset at 11:00 pm.
DAY 4 INLAND LAKES (B,L)
After breakfast we will head for the inland lakes (Taiga & Tundra areas) to look for nesting Pacific Loon, Smith's Longspur, short-eared owl. Field Lunch and return to town. Dinner on own. This evening's trip destination will be decided as a group.
DAY 5 CHURCHILL/WINNIPEG (B,L,D)
Calm Air Churchill/Winnipeg
After breakfast we will travel the Goose Creek Road, along the Churchill River looking for warblers, gray jay, osprey and merlin. We will revisit some of our favourite locations. Lunch in town. Afternoon free to visit the Eskimo museum, Parks Canada Interpretation centre and shops.
Depending on ice conditions a zodiac trip on the Churchill River Estuary to look for Beluga Whales and birds. Farewell dinner at the Seaport Hotel. Transfer to the airport for the evening flight. On arrival, overnight provided at the Country Inn
DAY 6 WINNIPEG DEPARTURE (B)
Breakfast and depart.
The beluga whales were lovely with their white forms gracefully arcing out of the water. There was a young man in another boat using a modified cello with a beautiful sound to wow both the whales and us with classical music. A woman employee with Parks Canada gave us an interesting and enlightening account of the Fort Prince of Wales, as well as being well versed in the natural history of the area. In the afternoon we went on a tundra buggy ride through a tundra beautifully lit up by the afternoon sun, and saw a variety of birds including Canada and snow geese, sandhill cranes, tundra swans, and willow ptarmigan just beginning to turn white. And after driving around some, we came upon a mother polar bear with a young cub. We also saw a couple of big lonely males while on the whale watching trip… A highlight for me in addition to the bears was a covey of arctic fox pups frolicking around in front of their den, while the parents kept a distant watch.
Thank you very much for arranging a wonderful trip.