Day 1 - Arrival in Calgary
Participants will be arriving in Calgary throughout the day for our Alberta birding tour. 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 the next day’s activities. Night in Calgary.
Day 2 – Prairie Sloughs and the Drumheller Badlands
After breakfast we head east along the Trans-Canada Highway and onto the open short-grass plains characteristic of southeastern Alberta. Along the drive we pass some very rich wetlands that host up to 15 species of waterfowl including Cinnamon Teal. Other targets in this area include Horned and Eared grebes, foraging Black Terns, and several shorebirds including Wilson’s Phalarope, American Avocet, Willet and a few Black-necked Stilt feeding along the shoreline. After we’ve explored this rich birding area we will continue on our way east to the town of Drumheller in the badlands of the upper Red Deer River Valley.
After a picnic lunch, we spend the afternoon exploring the valley with its canyons, hoodoos, and considerable geologic history. In the late afternoon, we arrive at our hotel in Drumheller, where we spend the next two nights.
Day 3 – Grassland Birds and Dinosaur Provincial Park
After an early breakfast, we head southeast through short-grass prairies toward picturesque Dinosaur Provincial Park. En route to the park we will make several stops looking for Sprague’s Pipits, Chesnut-collared Longspurs, Long-billed Curlews, and Pronghorns. The extensive badlands within the park are home to Say’s Phoebes, Rock Wrens, Lark Sparrows, Prairie Falcons, Mountain Bluebirds, and a small population of Violet-green Swallows. In the sagebrush at Dinosaur PP there are Brewer's Sparrows along with oodles of Clay-colored Sparrows. Other goodies we might find today include Yellow-breasted Chat and Brown Thrasher in the riparian scrub, along with Loggerhead Shrike and even Eurasian Collared-Dove just outside the park.
After a picnic lunch, we will take time to explore the visitor centre and learn more about the wealth of dinosaur fossils within this UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will return to our hotel in Drumheller late in the day.
Day 4 – Drumheller and the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology
Today we spend the bulk of our day in and around Drumheller. After breakfast we look for forest birds in the riparian Cottonwoods of McMullen Island Provincial Park where we should find Red-naped Sapsucker, Western Wood-Pewee, and perhaps some late migrants. From here we make our way to the world-renowned Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, where we will spend several hours exploring the exhibits. In the afternoon we will head west toward Calgary, stopping at Horseshoe Canyon en route. Night in Calgary.
Day 5 - Departure
Our Alberta birding tour ends today. If you are carrying on to our Canadian Rockies birding tour, you will head west to the Rockies today. If not, you can depart for flights home anytime today.