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February 14-18, 2018: Minnesota in Winter
Duluth, Minnesota - owls, woodpeckers, gulls, grouse, chickadees, waxwings Click for more...

TOS is offering an Owl Trip to the North Country. This will be the 7th trip on which TOS past president Jim Hailey has teamed up with local guide Kim Risen of NatureScape Tours to explore the famous Sax-Zim Bog and the region surrounding Lake Superior. The group will search for owls, woodpeckers, gulls, grouse, chickadees, waxwings and the other species that retreat from their boreal territories for the winter.

While the weather is cold and there is usually lots of snow, you'll spend the greatest part of the day in warm vans, venturing outside only to get close looks at several owl species-Great Gray, Snowy, and Northern Hawk Owl. And this appears to be an irruptive year with the possibility of Northern Saw-whet and Boreal Owls, although these are never sure bets. If you noticed recent reports of crossbills in Texas it is going to be an unusual year. There are already reports of Snowy, Great Gray and Saw-whet Owls in the Bog. In addition to owls, this trip often produces Common and Hoary Redpolls, Sharp-tailed (often at a lek doing their dance), Spruce and Ruffed Grouse, Northern Shrike, Black-capped and Boreal Chickadee, Evening and Pine Grosbeak, ducks, mergansers, and both Barrow's and Common Goldeneye and Bohemian Waxwing. The cost of this trip is $1425 for TOS members, $1450 for non-members (includes a year TOS membership) and $300 for a single supplement. The cost includes four nights lodging, guide fees and transportation. Four meals (breakfast at the hotel each morning). A $350 deposit holds your place and the balance is due January 1, 2018. In order for the trip to make, a minimum of 10 people are needed, with 14 maximum.

Do not make your plane reservations until the trip is confirmed. If you would like more information, please contact Jim Hailey at or call him at 512-818-1138.

For complete details click here.

For a complete NE Minnesota bird list click here.

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February 16-18, 2018: Brown County Weekender
Enjoy a winter weekender, led by Ed Fair and Shelia Hargis  Click for more...

TOS is happy to announce a winter weekender, led by Ed Fair and Shelia Hargis.

Brown County is smack dab in the middle of Texas. It has a mix of habitats from cross timbers to scrub, to massive pecan orchards, as well as rivers, streams and a large lake. It is an EXTREMELY under-birded county which should make this an enticing trip to many. Most birders have not likely drilled down past a couple of stops in the county if even that. Ed Fair grew up in the Brownwood area and knows the backroads and sweet birding spots. He will be joined by TOS President Shelia Hargis.

The group will meet Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. at the Adams Street Community Center, 511 East Adams Street, Brownwood 76801. At that time the routing and locations will be discussed in more detail. Sites include lakes and ponds, a few county roads, local parks and Lake Brownwood State Park which will be our main focus on Saturday.

The county is just east and south of spots that turn up interesting birds in winter such as Western Grebe, Horned Grebe and Common Loon as examples. If this is a good winter, then we have a chance for those birds but also for Bald Eagle, gulls and terns along with other water birds and any roaming western species. Ducks and sparrows will also be a primary focus and we have a good possibility of scoring a high number of species of both. Woodpeckers should be expected as well. Again, given that the county is seldom birded to any serious degree, we might find some surprises.

The plan is to get an early start on both Saturday and Sunday, bird all the daylight hours on Saturday and finish up by mid-afternoon on Sunday.

Logistics: Because this trip will involve some county road birding we plan to take only four cars total, so carpooling will be required. It will be awesome - you will make new friends! Bring your walkie-talkies so we have one per car. There will be walking at a birder's pace at the various sites. While 4WD or high clearance vehicles are nice, they should not be necessary. Field trips will depart from central Brownwood - location to be announced Friday evening. Bring sack lunches for Saturday and Sunday.

The registration fee is $90 for TOS members, and there are 14 spaces available to assure a quality experience. (This trip needs a minimum of 10 participants to run.) We expect this trip to fill fast, so register soon.

Registrants will be sent a confirmation email with further information later. Once you have registered please make a hotel reservation as soon as possible. There are several hotels in the Brownwood/Early area including a Comfort Inn and La Quinta (where the trip leaders are staying). Make a reservation with a generous cancellation policy in case really severe weather (dangerous driving conditions) causes the trip to be cancelled.

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March 16-18, 2018: Lubbock Weekender
Lubbock area winter specialties. Eagles, Hawks, Owls and more.  Click for more...

TOS is happy to announce a weekender to search for Lubbock area winter specialties.

If you are working on your year list, or want to add some lifers, this trip is for you! Our leader, Drew Harvey, gets lots of pleasure showing birders around the Lubbock area hotspots. Drew is the President of the Llano Estacado Audubon Society, a South Plains Texas Master Naturalist and a field biologist in his day job. He sees this trip as an opportunity to highlight some of the great birds to be seen on private land, as well as at the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge. Target species include three Longspurs, Prairie Falcon, Golden Eagle, Burrowing Owl, Ferruginous and Rough-legged Hawks. There is a possibility of Common Crane or irruptive species. The Sunday morning trip will require a very early departure to try for Lesser Prairie-Chicken.

Plan to arrive by 3 p.m. on Friday for a few hours of birding with Drew. The Quality Inn and Suites (see more below) is going to make an effort to have the rooms available by 2 p.m. Then at 6 p.m. join Drew at the Lubbock Garden and Arts Center in Clapp Park, 4215 University Ave, Lubbock, TX 79413 for a talk on the area's birds.

Be prepared to bird all day Saturday and again on Sunday until about 6 p.m. when the field trip wraps up.

Because this trip will involve county road birding we plan to take only four cars total, so carpooling will be needed - you will make new friends. Bring your walkie-talkies so there is one per car. There will be walking at a birder's pace at the various sites, possibly through tall and thick vegetation. 4WD/AWD vehicles are desirable especially if it rains within a week of the trip. High clearance is necessary. Field trips will depart from the Quality Inn and Suites. Make sure to pack snacks and/or a sack lunch for both days. Pit stops will be made when available, usually in small towns.

What if you have to leave on Sunday? Ideally everyone will stay and bird all day Sunday, BUT if you need to leave the trip that can happen around lunch. Otherwise you are committed to the rest of the day (unless you have a whole carload of like-minded birders.)

Because the Lesser Prairie-Chicken is such a sensitive species, there will be stipulations about posting your sighting to eBird or social media. You will be asked to either post at the county level or at the personal location designated by the leader. You will be required to turn off locations/GPS on smart phones and on cameras. By registering for this trip you are agreeing to comply with these restrictions.

Double Queen and King Rooms are being held at the Quality Inn and Suites, 3430 W Loop 289, Lubbock, TX 79407. It receives good reviews on Trip Advisor. The rate is $82/night for Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Make reservations by February 14, 2018 to get this rate. You will be able to cancel the reservation by 4 p.m. on the day of arrival, but we hope you won't need to. Call the hotel at (806) 780-4000 to make your reservation and ask for the TOS rate.

The registration fee is $75 for TOS members, and there are 15 spaces available to assure a quality experience. We expect this trip to fill fast, so register soon. Registrants will be sent a confirmation email with further information later.

Once you have successfully registered, make your hotel reservation by calling the Quality Inn and Suites and asking for the TOS rate.

Sorry, this trip has filled up.

May 3-6, 2018: Spring 2018 Meeting
Hold the dates of May 3 - 6, 2018 for this meeting.  Click for more...

We're exploring the Alpine area as the headquarters for this meeting. Stay tuned!

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