Grasslands National Park Birding Tour from Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw or Swift Current – Best Prairie Birds 2023

Grassland Park and Shorebirds Birding Tours

PRIVATE TOURS: MAY - EARLY SEPTEMBER

NEXT PUBLIC GROUP TOUR: May 20 - 22, 2023

3-Day  and Custom Tours available.

Escorted self-driving tour

IDEAL BIRDING TOUR FOR RESIDENTS OR VISITORS TO

  • SASKATOON
  • SWIFT CURRENT (1 h to Chaplin)
  • REGINA (1 h 30 m to Chaplin)
  • MOOSE JAW (1 h  to Chaplin)
  • NORTH BATTLEFORD (1 h 20 m to Saskatoon)

Saskatoon starting point: 8:30 AM
Chaplin starting point: 11:30 AM
Val Marie starting point: 6:00 PM

Estimated Return Driving Distance from Saskatoon: 1000 km

Where are Best Places to See Birds in Grasslands Park?

Grasslands Park Tour
Grasslands National Park

Grasslands Park Birding Tour Description

Join a 3-day Grasslands National Park Birding Tour.  We will visit the best birding hotspots in the west block of this Saskatchewan park near the Montana border. We also plan to make stops at some of the best shorebird hotspots: Chaplin Lake Important Bird Area, Reed lake, Herbert Marsh.  We may also stop at Douglas Provincial park. Your leader will be Stan Shadick with Saskatoon Custom Bird Tours. All proceeds support Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation.

Some of the special unique birds in the Grasslands Park region include Burrowing Owl, Ferruginous Hawk, Golden Eagle, Sprague's Pipit, Upland Sandpiper, Long-billed Curlew, Baird's Sparrow plus other species of grassland birds. Canada's only Black-tailed Prairie Dogs occur here as well as a wild herd of bison.

We also plan to look for resident and migrant shorebirds in Chaplin and Reed Lakes Important Bird Areas. Some special birds should include Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Black-bellied Plover,  Piping Plover, Marbled Godwit, Willet, Ruddy Turnstone (spring), Red Knot (spring), Stilt Sandpiper, Sanderling, Baird's Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper (spring), Wilson's Phalarope

Both novice and experienced bird watchers are welcome. A loaner pair of binoculars may be available if requested. The leader will bring a spotting scope to allow you to view birds under high magnification.

See sidebar for a list of potential species. A checklist of Saskatchewan birds may be downloaded HERE.

Transportation

Participants on these tours need to drive their own personal or rented vehicle. RVs and vehicles pulling trailers are permitted on private tours but not on group tours.  Trailers must be parked at campground upon arrival at Val Marie. Owners of full electric vehicles should have sufficient range if their vehicle is charged up in Swift Current and at Val Marie.

Carpooling. If you would like to share the costs of a tour with other interested birders, then complete the Carpooling Section of the Registration Request Form below or email the tour name, your name, phone number and email address to birdtours@sasktel.net

Accommodation Options. Both camping and hotel accommodation options are available. Information will be sent to registered clients. Because accommodation options are very limited near Grasslands Park, we suggest you book this tour as soon as possible.

3-day Grasslands National Park Tentative Birding Itinerary

Most of our birding will be done near roads or along short trails. You may wish to spend an extra day or two after the tour to explore some of the longer hiking trails in Grasslands Park on your own.

Weather conditions and time constraints may result in changes to this planned itinerary.

Day 1

Tour departs Saskatoon at 8:30 am.
Participants may choose to join the tour at Chaplin (11:30 am) or Val Marie (5:00 pm).

Some of our planned birding stops include the following sites.

  • Douglas Provincial Park
  • Chaplin Lake Important Bird Area
  • Reed Lake IBA
  • Herbert Marsh
  • Newton Lake Bird Sanctuary
  • Overnight in or near Val Marie. Campers may wish to stay in town or park campground.
  • Optional late evening outing into Grasslands Park to look for Burrowing Owls at Top Dogtown trail.

Day 2

We plan to bird in Grasslands Park for much of the day.  Some planned stops include:

  • Val Marie town
  • Top Dogtown trail
  • Frenchman River Valley
  • Larson Interpretive Trail
  • Little Breed Creek Prairie Dog town
  • North Gillespie Road (if dry)
  • Rosefield Ecotour route

Day 3

We plan to bird in Grasslands Park for much o.  Some planned stops include:

  • Val Marie town
  • Frenchman River Valley
  • Little Breed Creek Prairie Dog town
  • Backroads to Mankota
  • Reed Lake IBA
  • Chaplin IBA

Tour Fee

PRIVATE Grasslands Park Tour Fee: CAD $2490 (about US $1860, £1600) for a party of 1 - 4 persons travelling in a single vehicle.
Note fee is for your entire party (not a per person fee).
Fee includes guiding services. Meals and accommodation and transportation are NOT included.
Trip begins in Saskatoon at 9 am on day 1 and returns about 8 pm on day 3.
SAVE $300. If you have space to transport leader in your personal or rented vehicle during tour from Saskatoon and back, then deduct 3200 from the tour fee.

May 20 - 22, 2023 Grasslands Park Group Tour Fee: CAD $1290 (about US $965, £825) for a party of 1 - 4 persons travelling in a single vehicle. Note fee is for your entire party (not a per person fee).
Fee includes guiding services. Meals and accommodation and transportation are NOT included.
Trip begins in Saskatoon at 8:30 am on May 20 and ends near Morse about 6 pm on May 22.

Please book your tour as soon as possible. Accommodation options are very limited in the remote areas visited on this tour.

Tax Receipt. You will receipt a tax receipt for 50% of the tour fee.

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.

REGISTRATION FORM

Reservations: Complete the form below or email: birdtours@sasktel.net and provide names of clients, their addresses and requested type of tour and tour date.
Full payment due at time of booking. Payment instruction will be emailed to you after registration form is received. You may also phone Stan Shadick at 306-652-5975.

The number of participants accepted on the group tour is limited.

Questions: please email birdtours@sasktel.net or phone 306-652-5975.

Mailing Address needed for tax receipt.
Check all that apply.
Smoking is allowed only inside your own personal vehicle. No smoking is permitted during meals, anywhere in shared accommodations or outside during birding stops or hikes.
Least to most expensive options. oTENTik AND Teepee camping available.

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

 

Grasslands National Park Trails
Photgraphing Grasslands National Park
Photographer in Grasslands Park

The park is a sanctuary of silence, one of the last on the planet. Under the wind, under our heartbeats, we hear the earth breathing.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t other sounds, it’s just that they’re not man-made. Dawn begins with meadowlarks gargling the light, then vesper sparrows, robins, pipits, red-winged blackbirds and swallows chattering as they swoop above the water-filled dugout below our deck.

The park’s also a dark-sky preserve but while we’re here, a Strong Moon, as golden-orange as a mango, hides the sharpness of the stars. We don’t complain. Seven nighthawks dip from the sky into the water for a drink.

Click here for the full story by Saskatchewan born poet Lorna Crozier.

Can I bring my pet dog on this tour?

Dogs are permitted on private tours providing they are kept on a leash. Dogs are not permitted on group tours.

Some Potential Birds of Interest during Grasslands Park Tour

  • Wood Duck
  • Sharp-tailed Grouse
  • Swainson's Hawk
  • Ferruginous Hawk
  • Golden Eagle
  • Prairie Falcon (rare)
  • Black-necked Stilt
  • American Avocet
  • Black-bellied Plover
  • American Golden Plover
  • Semipalmated Plover
  • Piping Plover
  • Long-billed Curlew
  • Upland Sandpiper
  • Marbled Godwit
  • Ruddy Turnstone (spring)
  • Red Knot (spring)
  • Sanderling
  • Baird's Sandpiper
  • White-rumped Sandpiper (spring)
  • Wilson's Phalrope
  • Burrowing Owl
  • Loggerhead Shrike
  • Black-billed Magpie
  • Rock Wren
  • Mountain Bluebird
  • Brown Thrasher
  • Sprague's Pipit
  • Thick-billed Longspur
  • Chestnut-Collared Longspur
  • Lapland Longspur
  • Spotted Towhee
  • Brewer's Sparrow
  • Lark Sparrow
  • Lark Bunting
  • Baird's Sparrow

Tour Guide

Tour Guide: Stan Shadick. Click for more information about your tour guide.

Grasshopper Sparrow

 

Grasslands Park
Birding Tour in Grasslands Park Photo by Beverley Currie

Testimonials

"Thanks for a marvelous birding trip. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and saw more than I expected."
D.S. May 2022

"Great group, great trip!  Thanks, Stan."
B.C. May 2022

Gift Certificates Available Now

This Grasslands National Park Birding Tour makes an excellent birthday gift, anniversary gift, graduation gift or special gift for a birder, birdwatcher or anyone interested in nature

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

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.

Covid Safety Policy on Grassland Park Tours

  1. Your tour leader is fully vaccinated.
  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.

Other Tours

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

Multiple Tours Discount

Can't decide which tour to take?

Check out our multiple tours discount described here.