MINNESOTA  BIRDING  WEEKS


APRIL 2020 - FEBRUARY 2021

~  Our 35th Season  ~



Rhame Prairie, North Dakota (Roy Zimmerman photo)



Minnesota Birding Weekends & Weeks (MBW), as it begins its 35th season, continues to offer unique, modestly priced birding trips in association with the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union – we originated in 1986 as MOU Birding Weekends. After 34 years, we have now had a total of 120 MBWeeks involving more than 1,300 participants, a composite list of 718 species,

and our schedule of out-of-state MBWeeks includes High Island - Hill Country in Texas, two Black Hills & western Dakotas, and winter trips to California, Arizona, and Texas.


Please be sure to note the relatively inexpensive cost of MBWeeks – typically less than half (sometimes close to a third!) of other tour company fees for similar trips. Please note as well our policy of providing “MBW store credit” refunds to MBWeeks participants if total trip expenses end up less than the amount budgeted.


In addition to our schedule of MBWeeks, please visit the  MBWEEKENDS  page elsewhere on this website for further information on these in-state MBWs.



FINAL MBWEEKS OF 2019-20 SEASON


JANUARY 26 - FEBRUARY 2, 2020  ~  SOUTH FLORIDA  II

CLICK HERE FOR SUMMARY OF THIS MBWEEK

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FEBRUARY 17 - 25, 2020  ~  SOUTH TEXAS

Our 41st MBWeek and escape from the Minnesota winter! Little wonder this trip is so popular given its long list of birds that normally occur nowhere else (or few other places) in the U.S. These species include: Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Plain Chachalaca, Least Grebe, Neotropic Cormorant, Hook-billed Kite, White-tailed Hawk, Aplomado Falcon, Whooping Crane, Red- billed Pigeon, White-tipped Dove, Green Parakeet, Red-crowned Parrot, Groove- billed Ani, Common Pauraque, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Ringed and Green kingfishers, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Great Kiskadee, Tropical and Couch's kingbirds, Green Jay, Cave Swallow, Black-crested Titmouse, Clay-colored Thrush, Tropical Parula, Olive Sparrow, Altamira and Audubon's orioles. And Mexican rarities occur frequently: e.g., Masked Duck, Roadside Hawk, Northern Jaçana, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Rose-throated Becard, White-throated Thrush, Golden-crowned Warbler, Gray-crowned Yellowthroat, White-collared Seedeater, Yellow-faced Grassquit, Blue Bunting, Crimson-collared Grosbeak, Black-vented Oriole, and others have all been found on this MBWeek. We usually see around 210 species (our record high is 231!) – and all this with high temperatures in the 70s. Per-person fee on 2018 MBWeek (with 9 participants): $890 double-occupancy + air fare + meals.

Status as of 5 February 2020:  FILLED / 7 confirmed / limit 7 / 2 on Waiting List



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2020 - 2021 MINNESOTA BIRDING WEEKS


PLEASE NOTE that additional leaders or extra MBWs

might be scheduled for MBWeeks with long waiting lists,

and these will be posted as they occur in future updates of this website.

(Also note that 4 MBWeeks have already become filled, 3 of these

on the opening day of registrations – see below.)


Other changes in this schedule are possible, and any updates on these

will appear here (e.g., dates adjusted due to leader availability, lodging

vacancies, or to best coincide wth airline fares snd schedules).


Most MBWeek deposits are $100 and payable when the preliminary

information is sent to those confirmed, about 3-4 months before the MBW;

the balance of the full MBWeek fee is due about 3 weeks before the trip.


Payments for deposits and fees are now accepted on-line; for more information,

see https://www.zellepay.com  and the MBW Registration Page.


The leader for each MBWeek is Kim Eckert unless noted otherwise.



MBWEEKS SCHEDULE  ~  APRIL 2020 - FEBRUARY 2021



April 18 - 26, 2020  ~  HIGH ISLAND & HILL COUNTRY, TEXAS

CLICK HERE FOR PREVIOUS SUMMARIES

AND PHOTO GALLERY OF THIS MBWEEK


Given the right weather at renowned High Island and other sites along the upper Texas coast, there can be spectacular concentrations of warblers (possibly 25+ species in a day) and other passerines after their flight over the Gulf of Mexico. And, if the weather is too nice for a fallout, there are other birding opportunities nearby: the Big Thicket / Piney Woods for Swallow-tailed and Mississippi kites, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch, and Swainson's Warbler; Anahuac N.W.R. and nearby rice fields for Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Glossy Ibis, Purple Gallinule, King Rail, and possibly as many as 35 shorebird species; and the tidal flats and salt marshes of Bolivar Peninsula for terns, Clapper Rails, Nelson's and Seaside sparrows. After a half day's drive west, our focus shifts to the Texas Hill Country and especially the two specialties of this region: the endangered Black-capped Vireo and endemic Golden-cheeked Warbler – with our best views of these often at a friend's private ranch. Other characteristic Hill Country birds should include Zone-tailed Hawk, Chuck-will's-widow, Green Kingfisher, Hutton's Vireo, Western Scrub- Jay, Cave Swallow, Bushtit, Canyon Wren, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Painted Bunting, and Scott's Oriole. A trip list of 250 species in all is likely – there were 269 in 2014. Per-person fee on 2016 MBW (with 9 participants): $1,030 double-occupancy + air fare + meals.


Status as of 5 February 2020:  FILLED / 7 confirmed / limit 7 / 9 on Waiting List


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MAY 26 - JUNE 2, 2020  ~  BLACK HILLS & W. DAKOTAS I

CLICK HERE FOR PREVIOUS SUMMARIES

AND PHOTO GALLERY OF THIS MBWEEK

(Leader KRE)


See description of Black Hills II below; both MBWeeks will have the same tinerary.


Status as of 5 February 2020:  5 VACANCIES / 10 confirmed / limit 15


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JUNE 6 - 13, 2020  ~  BLACK HILLS & W. DAKOTAS II

CLICK HERE FOR PREVIOUS SUMMARY

AND PHOTO GALLERY OF THIS MBWEEK

(Leader Craig Mandel)


These MBWeeks (out first was in 2019) to the Black Hills, Badlands, and western Dakotas will feature a long list of "non-Minnesota" possibilities that are regularly found within just 400 miles or so west of here. Remarkably, there's no Minnesota record for 10 of them (Greater Sage-Grouse, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Red-naped Sapsucker, Dusky and Cordilleran flycatchers, Plumbeous Vireo, Pinyon Jay, Pacific and Canyon wrens, Virginia's Warbler), and a dozen others have only occurred once or twice before! There may be limited potential to add to your life list since none of the species are endemic (though "White- winged" Juncos are there – and there's even a record of Orange- billed Nightingale-Thrush!), all have been seen on other MBWeeks, and several are rare-Regular or Casual in Minnesota. Still, the birding will be fascinating in these Black Hills montane forests and scenic canyons, unique landscapes of the Badlands and Theodore Roosevelt national parks, vast tracts of arid grasslands, and countless wetlands of the North Dakota prairie pothole region. For more information on all this, in addition to last year's summary, see  https://gfp.sd.gov/userdocs/BHBadlands-birding-trail.pdf. Finally, note that this MBWeek will be more like an extended MBWeekend, since we'll be car-pooling round-trip from western Minn. Per-person fee on 2019 MBW: $160 (plus lodging, meals, and car-pooling expenses).


Status as of 5 February 2020:  FILLED / 15 confirmed / limit 15 / 2 on Waiting List


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JANUARY 16 - 23, 2021  ~  SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

CLICK HERE FOR PREVIOUS SUMMARIES

AND PHOTO GALLERY OF THIS MBWEEK


This MBWeek and winter vacation includes a week in the varied coastal, montane, and desert habitats in and around San Diego County, including the unique Salton Sea region. Some 200 species are possible, including a long list of non-Minnesota species: water birds such as Brant, Eurasian Wigeon, Black-vented Shearwater, Brandt's and Pelagic cormorants, Ridgway's Rail, several shorebirds (including Mountain Plover, Wandering Tattler, and Surfbird), Heermann's and possibly Yellow-footed gulls, Royal Tern, and Black Skimmer. And on land: White-tailed Kite, Band-tailed Pigeon, Burrowing Owl, Anna's, Costa's and Allen's hummingbirds, Nuttall's and White-headed woodpeckers, Gray Flycatcher, Cassin's Vireo, Mountain Chickadee, Oak Titmouse, California Gnatcatcher, Wrentit, California, Crissal and LeConte's thrashers, Abert's and California towhees, Sagebrush and Bell's sparrows, Tricolored Blackbird, and introduced (but countable) Scaly-breasted Munia. Unexpected strays are possible as well – e.g., we have seen  Blue-footed Booby, Pacific Golden-Plover, Ruddy Ground-Dove, Red-throated Pipit, White Wagtail, Streak-backed Oriole, and even Red-flanked Bluetail on this MBWeek. Besides all those birds, expect some "non-Minnesota" weather too, with highs in the 60s and 70s. Per-person fee on 2019 MBWeek (with 8 participants): $960 double-occupancy + air fare + meals.


Status as of 5 February 2020:  FILLED / 7 confirmed / limit 7 / 4 on Waiting List

(Please see note above on the possibility of scheduling an additional MBWeek)


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JANUARY 24 - 31, 2021  ~  SOUTHEAST ARIZONA

CLICK HERE FOR PREVIOUS SUMMARIES

AND PHOTO GALLERY OF THIS MBWEEK


Though many summer Arizona specialties are absent in winter (when the weather will be much more moderate, with highs normally in the 60s), but at the parks, desert flats, river valleys, and canyons around Phoenix and southeast of Tucson we can still expect to find a long list of non-

Minnesota birds. These include Gambel's Quail, Ferruginous Hawk, Mountain Plover, Barn Owl, Western and Whiskered screech-owls, Broad-billed and Violet-crowned hummingbirds, several woodpeckers (e.g., Acorn, Gila, Arizona, Red-naped Sapsucker, Gilded Flicker), Rosy-faced Lovebird (now "countable"), Ash-throated Flycatcher, Plumbeous and Hutton's vireos, Mexican Jay, Bridled Titmouse, Verdin, Rock and Canyon wrens, both Black-tailed and Black- capped gnatcatchers, Western Bluebird, five thrasher species (including Bendire's, Crissal, and Le Conte's), Phainopepla, Black-throated Gray and Townsend's warblers, Green-tailed and Abert's towhees, several sparrows (including Rufous-winged, Brewer's, Black-chinned, and Sagebrush), Hepatic Tanager, Pyrrhuloxia, Lawrence's Goldfinch, and others. Mexican rarities are possible as well – e.g., Ruddy Ground-Dove, Nutting's Flycatcher, Rose-throated Becard, Sinaloa Wren, Rufous-backed Robin, White-throated Thrush, Rufous-capped Warbler, and others. Per-person fee on 2019 MBW (with 9 participants): $880 double-occupancy + air fare + meals.


Status as of 5 February 2020: FILLED / 7 confirmed / limit 7 / 7 on Waiting List

(Please see note above on the possibility of scheduling an additional MBWeek)


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FEBRUARY 20 - 28, 2021  ~  SOUTH TEXAS

CLICK HERE FOR PREVIOUS SUMMARIES

AND PHOTO GALLERY OF THIS MBWEEK


Our 42nd MBWeek and escape from the Minnesota winter! Little wonder this trip is so popular given its long list of birds that normally occur nowhere else (or few other places) in the U.S. These species include: Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Plain Chachalaca, Least Grebe, Neotropic Cormorant, Hook-billed Kite, White-tailed Hawk, Aplomado Falcon, Whooping Crane, Red- billed Pigeon, White-tipped Dove, Green Parakeet, Red-crowned Parrot, Groove- billed Ani, Common Pauraque, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Ringed and Green kingfishers, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Great Kiskadee, Tropical and Couch's kingbirds, Green Jay, Cave Swallow, Black-crested Titmouse, Clay-colored Thrush, Tropical Parula, Olive Sparrow, Altamira and Audubon's orioles. And Mexican rarities occur frequently: e.g., Masked Duck, Roadside Hawk, Northern Jaçana, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Rose-throated Becard, White-throated Thrush, Golden-crowned Warbler, Gray-crowned Yellowthroat, White-collared Seedeater, Yellow-faced Grassquit, Blue Bunting, Crimson-collared Grosbeak, Black-vented Oriole, and others have all been found on this MBWeek. We usually see around 210 species (our record high is 231!) – and all of this with normal high temperatures in the 70s. Per-person fee on 2019 MBWeek (with 9 participants): $920 double-occupancy + air fare + meals.


Status as of 5 February 2020:  3 VACANCIES / 4 confirmed / limit 7


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