Wyoming: Birding the Solar Eclipse in the Grand Tetons: Aug 17—22, 2017
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Enjoy early fall birding, spectacular scenery, and a total solar eclipse in the Northern Rocky Mountains based in Jackson, Wyoming.
Grand Teton National Park, along with Yellowstone and the National Forest lands connecting these parks, preserves one of the largest mid-latitude temperate ecosystems in the world. We will have three days of scenic birding in and around these parks and forests. The Teton’s major peaks are all within the National Park and will provide a spectacular backdrop for some wonderful early fall birding and photography.
One day we will venture along the scenic John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway which connects the national parks to each other. After three days of familiarizing ourselves with the mountain and valley avifauna of the region, we will turn our attention to the skies, not searching for raptors as before, but to watch a very rare total solar eclipse with a duration of more than two minutes midday on the 21st of August.
During the course of our birding the montane forests around Jackson Hole, we will search Lodgepole Pine and Douglas Fir stands for Williamson’s and Red-naped sapsuckers. Along the mountain streams we hope to find the engaging American Dipper; in the willows that surround these streams, Yellow and MacGillivray’s warblers should be fattening up for their imminent migrations. Wetlands with plenty of emergent vegetation will be sheltering waterfowl, and we hope to find Trumpeter Swans, teal, and others. In the sagebrush around Jackson, Brewer’s and Vesper sparrows have wrapped up their breeding seasons and will be headed south soon. We also hope to find a few Green-tailed Towhees among the sage before they depart.
Not to be outdone by the birds, this region hosts a variety of mammals unmatched in the Lower 48. While we would be lucky to see them, Grizzly Bear and Gray Wolf are the top predators of this ecosystem, keeping the larger ungulate populations in check. We should see deer, elk, and moose, as well as a variety of other smaller mammals.
Based at a single lodge or hotel with a couple of early mornings; most birding will be roadside or on short hikes away from the vehicle; chilly mornings should turn into warm, sunny afternoons, showers possible.