Missouri & Arkansas: May 05—14, 2017

The Ozarks & Tallgrass Prairies

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Please contact us if you would like more information on upcoming departures for this tour.

Departs: Springfield, Missouri
Tour Limit: 14
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
Download Itinerary: PDF (143.3 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Steve Hilty

Steve Hilty is the senior author of A Guide to the Birds of Colombia, and author of Birds of...


Rafael Galvez

Rafael Galvez has been birding and illustrating birds since childhood, a dual passion that d...

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Greer Springs, Missouri.

Greer Springs, Missouri.— Photo: Steve Hilty

An ambitious, in-depth, spring journey across this picturesque, often overlooked region. Expect many breeding warblers, spring flower displays, a canoe trip, a cave trip, and surprisingly beautiful natural areas.

“I do not know of anything comparable to the charm of gliding down an Ozark stream, fast on the riffles, slow and quiet over the pools with their shimmering reflections of sky and cliff and overhanging foliage.”

—Thomas Hart Benton

The tallgrass prairies and wooded Ozarks meet in southwestern Missouri where this trip begins. Both are important biogeographical regions in North America. Guide Steve Hilty grew up here, and would like to share with you the beauty of spring on the prairie and in the gentle Ozark Mountains. He will combine birding with interpretive natural history, pausing for cave science, botanizing in moist valleys, enjoying the peak of spring warbler migration, and soaking up the gentle beauty of this ancient land.

Less than three percent of Missouri’s tallgrass prairies remain, and you’ll visit the largest and finest prairie remaining in the state—home to Greater Prairie Chickens, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, and Henslow’s Sparrows. And there is no better time than spring to start a love affair with the prairie’s wildflowers—Tickseed Coreopsis, Prairie Blue-eyed Grass, Wild Indigo, Shooting Star, Cinquefoil, Wood Betony, Rose Verbena—up to 40 species in a splash of color from horizon to horizon.

Steve will show you the Ozarks you don’t see from the interstate highway—its caves, springs, rivers, waterfalls, dolomite glades, its rich flora, and a breeding population of 18 species of warblers. You will even canoe a section of the Buffalo National River. From the rugged hills of the upper Buffalo to an evening of sweet folk music and the gentle murmur of one of America’s most beautiful springs at Mountain View, Arkansas, you’ll see the birds, plants, and fascinating cultural and natural history of this delightful region. And, you’ll see why Steve says, “The Ozarks and prairies are one of the best-kept secrets in the country.”

Good accommodations and easy walking trails; travel by van; well-maintained but curvy mountain roads in the Ozarks; frequent outdoor picnics; pleasant temperatures.