Tour Dates: Monday 6th – Tuesday 14th May 2024 (Toronto to Toronto)
Tour Price: £3,125pp plus flights
Estimated Flight Price: London to Toronto approx. £500 return
Deposit: £500 per person
Conservation Donation from Wise Birding: £150 – £200
Minimum Number: 4 people
Maximum Group Size: 6 people
Target Species Birds: Blackburnian Warbler, Prothonatory Warbler, Canada Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Palm Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Connecticut Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Yellow-throated Vireo, White-eyed Vireo, Wood Thrush, American Woodcock, Least Bittern, Northern Harrier, Broad-winged Hawk and many more! Plus a good selection of waders and other passerines.
Mammals: American Beaver, Racoon, Muskrat, Eastern Chipmunk and White-tailed Deer
Spring migration in Ontario has to be one of those “must do” birding experiences for any birder interested in seeing migration first hand and all in seriously bright technicolour! Situated on the north shore of Lake Erie, the birding meccas of Point Pelee and Long Point have long been known as a vital landfall for migrating passerines, raptors and waterbirds as they head north to their Canadian breeding grounds. If the conditions are just right, the numbers of birds can be incredible with birds literally dripping from the trees, but even on a “normal” day, the birding is very exciting. Whether you wish for super bright warblers like Blackburnian, Canada and Parula Warbler or subtle thrushes like Veery, Grey-cheeked and Wood Thrush or maybe you dream of Broad-winged Hawk and Northern Harrier migration, this tour has something for everyone!
This is a two base holiday where we stay close to the famous site of Point Pelee and then the less visited, but no less impressive, Long Point Bird Observatory.
ACCOMMODATION: 8 nights in Ontario 4 nights near Point Pelee and 4 nights near Long Point
Inclusive Meals: Breakfast only
DAY 1: Arrival to Toronto After arriving into Toronto airport at around lunchtime, we will then travel by road for around five hours and check into our lakeside accommodation. We will then head out to experience our first birding at the world famous site of Point Pelee and get acquainted with some of the commoner species in preparation for a full day’s birding tomorrow! Overnight near Leamington
DAYS 2 – 4: Point Pelee
Point Pelee is a 10 kilometre sand spit that juts out into Lake Erie at the extreme southernmost point of Canada. Point Pelee National Park has long been recognised as a world class birding site with almost 400 species recorded in the park’s birding area. Bird migration was the reason Point Pelee became a National Park in 1918 and has since become an Important Bird Area. It will certainly be busier compared to our time at Long Point, in terms of other birders, but the birding can be fantastic and there is usually always somewhere to escape the crowds if we want to. If we time it right here, the birding can be incredible with bird swarms in the trees and warblers and thrushes literals at your feet! The possibilities are endless but examples of species we are likely to see include Magnolia Warbler, Palm Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Cape May Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Mouring Warbler, Wood Thrush, Veery, Grey-cheeked and Swainson’s Thrush, Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Black-billed Cuckoo and so the list goes on! Rarer species that we may get lucky with include Worm-eating Warbler, Connecticut Warbler and maybe eve a Kirtland’s Warbler too! During our time in the area, we will also visit some wetland sites where we should find a good selection of waders such as Short-billed Dowitcher, Semipalmated Sandpiper and White-rumped Sandpiper and also maybe American Bittern too. There will certainly be plenty of options and we will certainly not be short of memorable birding! Overnight near Leamington
DAY 5: Point Pelee – Long Point
After a final morning birding around Point Pelee we will travel for around three hours east along the shore of Lake Eerie and find ourselves at the other world famous site and bird observatory, Long Point. If we have not visited the site already, we will pop into visit Rondeau. Rondeau is an Ontario Provincial Park and is another great spot to view the spring migration. We should arrive at Long Point by the afternoon in good time to familiarise ourselves with this area and should get a great introduction into birding at this fabulous place. Overnight Port Rowan
DAYS 6 – 8: Long Point
During the next three days our daily routine will be very similar to that of our time at Point Pelee. We will have an early breakfast and then head out for the whole day. We will base our birding around the weather conditions and potential migration. Long Point Bird Observatory (LPBO) was established in 1960 by the Ontario Bird Banding Association. During our stay, dependent on the weather, the observatory will be trapping and ringing birds during our stay and will therefore give us a good feel for what species are migrating. Long Point is less visited than Point Pelee, but still gets very similar movements of birds and we will very much be birding on our own during this part of the tour. We will visit a number of different sites during our time here. A visit to the Old Cut Woods will be regularly visited site as it can be alive with passerines. During mid May bird diversity reaches its peak and more than 100 species can be seen here in a single day, including more than 25 warbler species! Nearby Backus Woods has some good forest trails where we should find species like Indigo Buntings, Rose Breasted Grosbeaks, Eastern Towhees, as well as a good selection of Warblers & Vireos. It can also be good here for Hooded Warblers.
Overnight Port Rowan
DAY 9: Long Point – Toronto
We have most of the day to enjoy our final birding at Long Point before the short transfer of just a couple of hours back to Toronto and to connect with flights home.
Please note this is a flexible itinerary which may need to be adjusted slightly dependent on arrival / departure times, weather conditions and the most recent information from our local guides
Leaders: Wise Birding leader Dave Astins
Included in cost: Accommodation in twin en-suite rooms, breakfasts only, all ground transport and services of leaders
Not included in cost: International airfare, travel insurance, drinks other than water and any airport/visa fees
Single Supplement: £225
Difficulty: Easy Walking on relatively flat terrain, often along boardwalks and well-marked trails.
Climate: Mixed with average day temperatures between 10 – 20 degrees Celsius. Can be cold first thing in the morning and rain is likely.
Tour Start Point: Toronto airport, Canada
Tour End Point: Toronto airport, Canada
Suggested Airlines: Air Canada