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MId-late June, birding, wildlife, scenery North Dakota

toronto
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MId-late June, birding, wildlife, scenery North Dakota

Planning a road trip out of Canada that will include several days (3 to 5) in North Dakota. We're birders, love interesting scenery, natural history, wildlife watching, light to moderate hikes (e.g. up to maybe 4-5 miles tops). Have not spent much time in prairie habitat. Will visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park - recommendations on how much time to allot there and what spots to visit would be great. Also, best of the Wildlife Preserves. I know there is a Birding Festival mid June but I think we'll probably arrive a little late for that (but hopefully not too late for some good birding still). Recommendations on where to stay - e.g. both towns to base ourselves in for touring and/or specific accommodations (moderate 3 to 4 star range) would be great. I always like a kitchenette where possible as it allows flexibility and facilities to make picnic lunches, etc., but it's nice to have a decent dinner restaurant within walking distance too. Thanks!

North Dakota
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1. Re: MId-late June, birding, wildlife, scenery North Dakota

Medora is a good base for the park. Kitchenettes might be hard to find though. Custer's Cottage is an option: custerscottage.com/ Otherwise you may need to look at Dickinson. www.medorand.com has great info on Medora.

I expect that Lake Sakakawea will have good birding? Perhaps basing out of Bismarck for that portion. Washburn is nice, but not lots of options for lodging. I love the drive South from Bismarck/Mandan through Cannonball for scenery.

Saint Paul...
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2. Re: MId-late June, birding, wildlife, scenery North Dakota

Since there are over 60 wildlife refuges in ND spread out over the state, I'm not sure what other area you were thinking besides Theodore Roosevelt. I'm going to assume over by Carrington as that's where the June birding festival is by. If my assumption is correct, I would base in Jamestown as there are more hotel/restaurant choices. Though, perhaps, JACombs knows that area and can give advice.

There's a bit of driving between them, but around Jamestown I would look at Chase Lake NWR, Arrowwood NWR for birding and maybe drive down the Sheyenne River Valley south of Valley City.. On the way between Theodore Roosevelt NP and Jamestown, I would detour to Long Lake NWR for birding.

On the way to TRNP from Canada, I would try to bird at Lostwood NWR and Des Lacs NWR (north and west of Minot) to search for LeConte's Sparrows, Baird's Sparrows and Sprague's pipits. A detour to the Killdeer Mountains might be interesting. Once at TRNP, consider going south to tour some of the Little Missouri National Grassland. The Burning Coal Vein site has ponderosa pines (rare for ND) and maybe Audubon's warblers. I think the Medora Visitor's Center can give you guidance.

Edited: 22 January 2014, 12:21
toronto
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3. Re: MId-late June, birding, wildlife, scenery North Dakota

Thank you both. I know there are a lot of possibilities for touring, birding, etc. I'm starting to do some reading, but first-hand experience to help narrow my focus is what I'm hoping for and I appreciate your information.

What other comments can you make about Theodore Roosevelt itself, and basing ourselves for visiting the park (JACombs mentioned Medora which is right in the Park? I have the impression, perhaps wrongly, that accommodations there might be limited and wondered if there are other possibilities within reasonable driving distance). I'm guessing we might want to put aside 2 full days for TRNP?

Edited: 22 January 2014, 18:57
Jamestown, North...
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4. Re: MId-late June, birding, wildlife, scenery North Dakota

The best resource I know for birding in North Dakota is Birding Drives Dakota. They are based out of the Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge area and have set up several drives. They have a festival in June but this group is passionate about birding for more than just that one event. They are the great to talk to about the birds in the area what you can expect. Their website is http://www.birdingdrives.com/

Also Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge has the eBird Trail Tracker on their website that shows bird sightings. With this area being in the pothole region and in the central flyway, you can see birds for a long time. You can click on the "Arrowwood National Wildlife" link in the eBird Tracker box and it will show you the best range for when to see certain types of birds. http://www.fws.gov/arrowwood/

If you do choose this area for birding www.tourjamestown.com has great information on where to stay and the amenities in the area.

North Dakota
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5. Re: MId-late June, birding, wildlife, scenery North Dakota

Medora is right within or by the TRNP. At times lodging is limited, but if you can plan ahead and don't hit a major event, you should be just fine. Its a great base for that part of the state.

Grand Forks, North...
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6. Re: MId-late June, birding, wildlife, scenery North Dakota

Depending on your route another suggestion is Gunlogson State Nature Preserve near Cavalier. parkrec.nd.gov/naturepreserves/gsnp/gsnp.html

Edited: 17 April 2014, 15:47
7. Re: MId-late June, birding, wildlife, scenery North Dakota

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