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This is the USA as you've never seen it before. A full-blown targeted mega-twitch stretching across 5 states, plugging gaps in your life list that you might well have thought you'd never get the chance to see! We will travel from the snow-covered boreal forests of Minnesota, flying down to the Texas coast with its Endangered wintering population of Whooping Cranes before visiting the Lower Rio Grande Valley and its Mexican specialities and rarities. Another short flight will take us to Albuquerque in New Mexico, a highly underarated state for rarities, but also home to 3 species of rosy-finch and the spectacle that is Bosque del Apache. From here we will drive into south-east Arizona and visit the Chiricuahua Mountains and visiting other hot-spots as we journey to Phoenix. Yet another flight to San Diego and we will visit the Salton Sea for Yellow-footed Gull and then target LeConte's Thrasher, California Gnatcatcher, Verdin and more before finishing our tour in Los Angeles.
We begin with a pre-tour extenson in Minnesota based at SaxZim Bog. At this time of year there are numerous feeding stations in the area that prove attractive to species such as Pine and Evening Grosbeaks, sometimes Hoary Redpoll, White-winged Crossbill and others. But it's the owls that are the main draw for many people and it is possible to see Great Grey Owl, Snowy Owl, Northern Hawk Owl and Boreal Owl. There are also opportunities to see Ruffed & Sharp-tailed Grouse feeding along the roadside, whilst we will also drive a couple of hours to a site that will increase our chances of seeing Spruce Grouse. Other species we hope to see include Rough-legged Hawk, Thayer's & Glaucous Gulls, Black-backed Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Boreal Chickadee, Grey Jay, Black-billed Magpie, Cedar and Bohemian Waxwings, American Goldfinch, Pine Siskin and possibly a rarity or two.
This promises to be an adrenaline-fuelled ride of a lifetime.......