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IDAHO: SNAKE RIVER TO SAWTOOTHS
A fresh May itinerary for inspiring western birding from the famous Snake River and its birds of prey to the spectacular Sawtooth Mountains.

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From shrub-steppe desert to expansive wetland complexes, and from dramatic canyons to majestic mountains -- Idaho has a rich diversity of habitats. This week-long birding adventure starting in Boise will cover much of the southern half of the state, tracking down numerous western specialties, while maintaining an enjoyable pace to soak in the sublime landscapes.

Raptor lovers will delight in our time spent around the Snake River Canyon Birds of Prey National Conservation Area just outside of Boise. Along an 80-mile stretch of the Snake River, towering cliffs hold nest sites for more than 500 pairs of 15 species of owls, falcons, hawks, and eagles. We will observe nesting Prairie Falcons, Golden Eagles, and Ferruginous Hawks while singing Canyon Wrens and chattering White-throated Swifts echo off the walls. The various riparian corridors and shrub-steppe desert surrounding the canyon will keep us busy looking for classic western species like Lewis's Woodpecker, Calliope Hummingbird, Lazuli Bunting, Black-headed Grosbeak, Black-throated Gray Warbler, and Sagebrush Sparrow. Reservoirs in this region draw Clark's and Western grebes, while shorebirds like Black-necked Stilt and American Avocet forage in the shallows.

We will track east across the Snake River Plain, with a detour to seek out the recently split Cassia Crossbill en route to Idaho Falls. A series of wetland complexes at Camas National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding wildlife management areas hosts impressive concentrations of nesting waterbirds. Massive colonies of White-faced Ibises and Franklin's Gulls are interspersed with nesting Trumpeter Swans, Cinnamon Teal, Sandhill Cranes, American Bitterns, rails, grebes, and ducks. This concentration draws the attention of birds of prey such as Bald Eagle and Short-eared Owl.

To round out our western adventure, we will head up to McCall, a beautiful resort town nestled into the mountains of central Idaho. Our time spent there puts us in the nesting habitat of American Dipper, Williamson's Sapsucker, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Cassin's Vireo, Western Tanager, and Townsend's and MacGillivray's warblers, and we'll have a chance at Great Gray Owl.

Guide Eric Hynes spent four long field seasons in Idaho. When not studying raptors in the Snake River Canyon, Eric prospected every hidden gem of a birding locale he could find. He can't wait to share them with you.

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2019 Departures
May 18-26

2020 Departures
May 23-31

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Guides for our tours
Mitch Lysinger
Eric Hynes

What to Expect
Good accommodations; easy to moderate terrain; cool to warm temperatures.

Our staff travel agents can assist you with tour information, flight reservations and tour bookings. Contact us at (800) 728-4953
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