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WINGS Birding Tours – Information

Arizona and Utah

Fall Migration in the Canyonlands

Tour Information

Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for this tour. Its purpose is solely to give readers a sense of what might be involved if they take this tour. Although we do our best to make sure that what follows here is completely accurate, it should not be used as a replacement for the formal document which will be sent to all tour registrants, and whose contents supersedes any information contained here.

ENTERING THE UNITED STATES:  Non-United States citizens other than Canadians will need a valid passport and may need a tourist visa.  Consult your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for details.  Canadian citizens will need to carry proof of citizenship in the form of a passport of birth certificate.

PACE OF TOUR:  This tour is neither strenuous, nor is there the need for very early morning starts except for one day for the sunrise at the Grand Canyon. Most days will begin with breakfast between 6:00 am and 7:00 am at the hotels, or in a nearby breakfast restaurant. Lunches will be a combination of sandwich shops and picnic lunches in the field. Dinners will be in nice restaurants either at the hotel, or nearby. As we cover a fair amount of territory, some afternoons will be spent traveling to new destinations and hotels.  

HEALTH:  Arizona and Utah present no real hazards to the visiting birdwatcher but certain factors must be considered.  

Sun: Any time of year in the desert southwest the sun can be intense. A broad-brimmed hat, proper clothing and a strong sun cream lotion are essential. 

Elevation: Much of our birding is at elevations between 4000 and 9000 feet, and while we do not schedule anything even faintly strenuous at the higher altitudes, anyone with a respiratory problem should consult his or her doctor before scheduling the trip.  We will stay overnight at 8,000 feet on the North Rim. At Mt. Carmel Junction, Kayenta, Chinle our hotels are situated between 5,300 – 5,700 feet.  While in Eagar our hotel is at 7,000 feet. During the day we go to Cedar Breaks National Monument we will briefly be walking just above 10,000 feet. While on the North Rim and in portions of the White Mountains we will have brief walks up to 9,000 – 9,400 feet. 

Spiny Plants: The most common injury results from spines penetrating light canvas shoes.  Many desert plants in the southwest are armed with thorns or spines and we recommend tough canvas or leather shoes of at least ankle height and tough trousers as the best safeguards.  

Dehydration: Dehydration is a constant concern in Arizona especially when birding at lower elevations in the desert.  The leader will always have an ample supply of water and stop as frequently as necessary for bathroom stops.  Drinking a lot of water is highly encouraged throughout the tour. 

Smoking:  Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a nonsmoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group. If any location where the group is gathered has a stricter policy than the WINGS policy, that stricter policy will prevail. 

Miscellaneous: Rattlesnakes are not a hazard but one always needs to use common sense and be alert in desert areas.  We actively look for reptiles and feel lucky to see one rattlesnake per summer trip.  Scorpions are nocturnal and rarely seen, and the tarantulas sometimes seen on the highways are not dangerous.  

Chiggers, mosquitos, and/or other biting insects may be encountered some years but not in others. We recommend using insect repellents with a high concentration of DEET.  

CLIMATE:  Late summer in the mountains of northern and central Arizona can be decidedly autumnal with early morning temperatures in the high 30’s while daytime high temperatures in lower valley habitats may reach an excess of 100º F.  Monsoon rain activity can last through September so rain showers are possible at any time of day or night, however most of the rain events are downpours that occur in the afternoon hours. 

ACCOMMODATIONS:  We stay at standard hotels throughout.  Single occupancy is available throughout the tour; all rooms will have private bathroom facilities.  Wireless internet is available in all our hotels except for the Grand Canyon. Some hotels we stay in do not have elevators.

FOOD:  Food is North American standard. Various times during the tour we will have a chance to sample local cuisine.  

Food Allergies / Requirements: We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary requirements should bring appropriate foods with them for those times when their needs cannot be met. Announced meal times are always approximate depending on how the day unfolds. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact the WINGS office if you have any questions.

TRANSPORTATION:  We will be traveling by leader-driven 12 or 15 passenger window van or minivan, depending on the group size.  Participants should be able to ride in any seat in tour vehicles.

Updated: 12 October 2017