Day 1 - Arrival in Calgary
Participants will be arriving in Calgary throughout the day. For those arriving early, there are opportunities for birding in and around Calgary. The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary along the Bow River is an excellent area for foothills and riverine species, and is easily accessible within the city of Calgary. Alternately, there are some great museums worth visiting in the city. We meet in the evening at our hotel for a get-together and a discussion of our upcoming Canadian Rockies birding tour. Night in Calgary.
Day 2 - Kananaskis and the foothills west of Calgary
The fantastically beautiful Kananaskis Valley, on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, consists mainly of Lodgepole pine and spruce forest, with aspen and willow near water. Several large lakes and extensive wetlands dot the valley. The diverse habitats at the low elevations along the highway support a great variety of bird species. During the day we visit several locations including Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, where we look for Boreal and Mountain Chickadees, Townsend’s Warbler and Barrow’s Goldeneye. We will also be exploring a couple of sites in the foothills west of Calgary to search for LeConte’s and Nelson’s Sparrows. Night in High River.
Day 3 & 4 - Waterton Lakes National Park
After breakfast we head east to the extensive and bird rich wetlands of Frank Lake. Here we will find many prairie waterbirds including both Eared and Western Grebes, Canvasbacks, and Cinnamon Teal. We will also spend time looking for the exotic looking White-faced Ibis. From here we will drive south to the town of Waterton within the National Park which will be our home base for the next two nights.
Our days in Waterton will be spent exploring various trails and scenic drives looking for a diverse array of birds and mammals. This region of Alberta is home to several species of birds that are quite difficult to find elsewhere in the province. Depending on the weather we will take several short hikes to look for target species such as Cassin’s Finch, Townsend Solitaire, Black-headed Grosbeak and Western Tanager. Calliope and Rufous Hummingbirds will be visiting feeders around the town site and elk and bears are found quite easily by driving the up the valley. Nights in Waterton.
Day 5 - Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, return to Calgary
After breakfast we will leave our mountain paradise and head north to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is situated in an incredibly scenic part of the foothills. We will spend time exploring the world class visitor centre learning about this culturally significant part of Canada. Outside we will take a short hike to the Buffalo Jump and keeping our ears tuned for displaying Sprague’s Pipits overhead.
From here we will drive back to Calgary. If time permits we will endeavour to round up any species we may have missed on Day 1. Night in Calgary.
Day 6 - Departure
Our Canadian Rockies birding tour ends today. You are free to leave anytime.