Dancing Grouse Bird Photography Tour – 4 hour tour ideal for great viewing and photos

Early Morning or Evening Dancing Grouse Photography Tours during April and May

Self-Drive Bird Photography Tour to view and photograph dancing Sharp-tailed Grouse

BOOK NOW - PAY LATER

You may reserve your 2022 tour now and not pay until February 1, 2022.

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR DESCRIPTION

Join our experienced local birding guide for a 3-5 hour early morning or evening drive to view the spectacle of dancing Sharp-tailed Grouse. Many of the traditional indigenous dances were inspired by this display.

NEW FOR 2022. One person in your group  may choose to use our special professional bird photography blind (tent). This TRAGOPAN Hokki V3 blind is ideal for obtaining images of the dancing grouse at birds eye level for a unique perspective of the early morning dance action. Its low profile means the birds ignore you and there is minimal shadow cast by the blind. Click Here to view a review video about this bird photography blind.

Bird Photography Blind

If you have a family group, you may observe and photograph the early morning action at a distance of only about 50 meters from your high clearance vehicle parked at the lek in a rough pasture on private land near Saskatoon.

Alternatively, during evening tours, your group may view them at a distance of 100 - 300 meters using any type of personal vehicle parked at a roadside lek south of Saskatoon.  Your parked car serves as a bird blind for viewing the birds.

Note: Smoking is prohibited during this tour.

  • Morning Tour: 4:30 AM – 8:30 AM – approximate times during April
    3:45 AM – 7:45 AM – approximate times in May
  • Evening Tour: 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM -  approximate times in April
    7:00 PM - 10:00 PM - approximate times in May
  • Morning tours are recommended because birds are usually more active near sunrise than sunset.  April dates are recommended to view the maximum number of birds.
  • A popular option to use our new Tragopan Hokki Version 3 photographic blind for photographing the dancing grouse at a lek on a restricted-access private farm near Saskatoon. Alternatively, you may view the performance up close from your personal vehicle. Click here for a link to a wide-field video of the grouse dance taken from a private vehicle showing the birds dancing near a previous blind used in 2021.
  • New for 2022. You may follow the Dancing Grouse tour with a Signs of Spring Tour where we will drive in search of bluebirds and other early arriving prairie birds for the balance of the morning.

BAD WEATHER POLICY. Grouse do not display well on rainy or windy mornings. If the weather forecast is poor for the morning of your reserved bird photography tour, you will be given the option to reschedule your tour at no extra charge and join another morning's tour to observe and photograph the birds from your vehicle. Note the blind may not be available to you on this alternate date because  another client may have booked it. If you wish to ensure access to our blind on a second morning, then you should book our 2-morning tour option described below. Please phone us at 306-652-5975 if you have any questions about this policy.

Suggested items to Bring:

  • Warm clothes suitable for the weather. Temperature may be below freezing at sunrise.
  • Sleeping Bag if using photographic blind.
  • Water bottle
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Bean Bag or very low tripod for camera
  • Spotting Scope (optional for evening tours)

COVID SAFETY POLICY ON TOURS

  1. Your tour leader is fully vaccinated. For everyone's health and safety, participants must bring a paper copy showing their personal proof of full covid vaccination.
  2. Clients must normally drive themselves in their own personal or rented vehicle. The leader will normally drive in a separate vehicle. We will use cell phones to communicate between each other during the tour.
  3. Please wear a mask and maintain physical 2 meter distancing when walking outside or viewing birds through the spotting scope that I will set up. Isogel available on tours.
  4. This policy may change when public health orders change or when Covid case numbers decrease.
  5. Please contact us before booking tour if you have any special requests with regard to this policy. In certain cases if requested, leader may be willing to ride in client's vehicle.

TOUR FEE OPTIONS

Dancing Grouse Morning Bird Photography and Viewing Tour Fee: CAD $390 (about US$305, £225) for groups of 1 – 4 persons. Taxes included.
Private bird photography tour fee includes guiding services and optional use of a photographic blind for 1 person only during early morning tour.  The person paying for the tour will receive a tax receipt for 50% of the tour fee. Client supplies their own transportation. Meals, transportation and accommodation are NOT included.

Dancing Grouse 2 Morning Bird Photography and Viewing Tour Fee: CAD $690 (about US$540, £390) for groups of 1 – 4 persons. Taxes included.
Private bird photography tour fee includes guiding services and optional use of a photographic blind for 1 person only during an early morning tour on 2 consecutive dates.  This option is recommended if you are on a limited schedule and wish to reserve 2 consecutive dates in our photographic blind in case weather is bad for photography on 1 of the mornings. The person paying for the tour will receive a tax receipt for 50% of the tour fee. Client supplies their own transportation. Meals, transportation and accommodation are NOT included.

Dancing Grouse Evening Viewing Tour Fee: CAD $290 (about US$225, £170) for groups of 1 – 4 persons. Taxes included.
Private tour fee includes guiding services only during evening driving tour. Dancing birds will be observed from a public road  No option for photography.  The person paying for the tour will receive a tax receipt for 50% of the tour fee. Client supplies their own transportation. Meals, transportation and accommodation are NOT included.

Combined Dancing Grouse and Signs of Spring Tour Fee: CAD $570 (about US$450, £335) for groups of 1 – 4 persons. Taxes included.
Private bird photography tour fee includes guiding services only during early morning dancing grouse tour followed by a Signs of Spring tour for the balance of the morning.  The person paying for the tour will receive a tax receipt for 50% of the tour fee. Client supplies their own transportation. Meals, transportation and accommodation are NOT included.

CANCELLATION POLICY: Refunds less a $100 administration fee will be given if cancellation notice received 60 days before date of tour.
No refunds if cancellation notice received less than 60 days before date of tour unless another client takes your place.

All proceeds support the work of Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation registered charity in caring for injured and orphaned birds and small mammals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

RESERVATIONS: Submit the form below or send us your full name(s), mailing address, email address with requested tour dates.

E-mail: birdtours@sasktel.net
Phone: 306-652-5975
Text: 306-281-2215
Address: 100 Rayner Avenue, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 2P8

Payment may be made by e-transfer payable to Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation and emailed to LSWR@sasktel.net. Use "grouse" as the answer to the security question.

Cheques may be mailed to above mailing address.

2022 Tour Reservation Request Form

Use Landline if you don't have a cell phone.
Address needed for the tax receipt.
Suggested dates are April 15 - May 8. Late April is best.
Suggested dates are April 15 - May 8. Late April is best.
Only 1 person may use blind.

If you do not hear back from us within 24 hours, then please email: birdtours@sasktel.net or phone 306-652-5975.

OTHER TOURS

Other Tours and Workshops: Click here to see a complete list of our upcoming tours and workshops.

Click here to listen to a description of what you will hear and see.

Dancing Sharp-tailed Grouse
Sharp-tailed Grouse Portrait
by Nick Saunders

GIFT IDEA

GIFT CERTIFICATES: Click here for information about purchasing a gift certificate for this bird photography tour or any of our other tours.

This tour makes an excellent birthday gift,  anniversary gift or Christmas gift for persons interested in birds and nature.

Sharp-tailed Grouse jumping
by Nick Saunders

 

Tragopan Hokki Version 3 Blind
Low Profile Hokki V3 Blind

TESTIMONIALS

Canadian Geographic Article. Click Here.

"This is amazing. They are beautiful" C.P.  April 14, 2021

"Thank you for one of the most memorable experiences I shall remember forever.  I am very grateful for this opportunity and appreciate that you went above and beyond by giving me the opportunity to be in the middle of the activity in the blind. " B.H. April 15, 2021

"This is so fun!!"  J.Z. April 17, 2021

"Just have to say I had one of the most phenomenal Sask-natural experiences this morning watching over 20 male & 6 female Sharp-tailed grouse dance on their dancing ground. We joined the birds at 5 am and stayed until the last ones left about 8:30 am.
I’m a fan that the Sharp-tailed Grouse is our provincial bird and I understand that they and their dance has a special place in some First Nations cultures.
I want to thank Stan Shadick for this great tour through Saskatoon Custom Bird Tours and of course the fee went to help Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation – a super organization! I was very happy to help out with a contribution." D.F. April 20, 2021

 

PREVIOUS TOUR CLIENT IMAGES

Here are a few images captured by clients Brian Henderson,  Jim Lee and Lynda Corkum from inside a tent / blind during a 2021 bird photography tour.

Sharp-tailed Grouse Close-up
by Brian Henderson
Male Sharp-tailed Grouse
by Lynda Corkum
How one grouse appears to his opponent
by Brian Henderson
Male Sharp-tailed Grouse
by Jim Lee
Grouse fighting
by Brian Henderson

HOW TO GET TO SASKATOON

Air: Saskatoon International Airport (YXE) is served by Air Canada, Westjet, and their partners United and Delta.

Train: Saskatoon's  Train Station is served by Via Rail's Canadian train serving Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Jasper and Vancouver.

Bus: Saskatoon - Edmonton and Saskatoon - Regina bus service

Car: Saskatoon is located on Canada's Yellowhead cross-country highway plus 6 other major highways connecting with all cities in Canada and USA. If you drive, you do not need to rent a car for our tours.

 

Stan Shadick – Tour Leader

TOUR GUIDE: Your guide has many years of experience finding and observing birds throughout Saskatchewan. For over 30 years, Stan Shadick has been a birding guide for nature tours around Saskatchewan and other parts of the country that have been organized by Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation, Nature Saskatchewan and the University of Saskatchewan Extension Division.

Stan is a past president of Nature Saskatchewan as well as a past president and current field trip chairman for the Saskatoon Nature Society. He is a co-editor of the reference publication “Birds of the Saskatoon Area” and contributed significantly to the recently published “Birds of Saskatchewan”. He is currently a regional coordinator for the Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas project and helps with their bird identification workshops.

Stan regularly contributes sightings to e-bird and currently holds the e-bird record for the most bird species seen in Saskatchewan.