Our Utah Specialty Tours provide several of our most popular requests into set tours, that allow for a great value, with specific species in mind. Whether you want to visit the desert, the lake, the mountains--or all 3, our specialty tours will almost certainly provide an option of the most popular birding highlights in northern Utah.
You can also use these tour options as a base to help build a custom tour if you are interested in a more expansive experience!
Great Salt Lake Environs Visit the Great Salt Lake and learn about the Flora and Fauna of this wonder of the world.
It goes without saying, that any visit to Utah isn't complete with going to the Great Salt Lake. With that in mind, we've spent the last 10 years cultivating the perfect 1/2 day birding tour to introduce visitors to the Great Salt Lake. Although it has been called "America's Dead Sea", the lake provides habitat for millions of native birds, brine shrimp, shorebirds, and waterfowl, including the largest staging population of Wilson's Phalarope in the world. Islands on the lake provide unique desert habitat for Chukar, Sage Thrasher, Rock Wren, Burrowing Owl, and Loggerhead Shrike. Freshwater and brackish marshes along the east shore are home to Clark's and Western Grebe, dozens of species of waterfowl, wading birds, and divers. If you only have a few hours to go birding and want a taste of what the lake has to offer, this excursion is a perfect way to get acquainted. This 5-6 hour tour out of Salt Lake is offered from May 1 through September 1st, and can be done in the morning or evening and includes a boxed breakfast or dinner.
Sage & Juniper Specialists This 5-6 hour tour out of Salt Lake is offered from May 15 through the end of July and that can be done in the morning and includes a boxed breakfast.
Just an hour outside of Salt Lake City sits a large tract of Juniper woodland, flanked by a Sagebrush desert, providing access to a handful of highly sought after specialty species. Leaving before sunrise we'll enjoy a boxed breakfast with fresh coffee, tea, or juice en route to our destination. We arrive as the sun starts to peek over the tops of the mountains to the east, and the chorus of drab specialty birds welcomes the day. Brewer's Sparrow and Sage Thrasher are often some of the first birds as we approach the Junipers through a large sage flat. Once in the woods, we'll work on tracking down Gray Vireo, Gray Flycatcher, Juniper Titmouse, Bewick's Wren, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Black-throated Gray Warbler, and Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay. Some years Pinyon Jay can be found as well. After tracking down our juniper species, we'll drop into a sage-covered valley and work on finding birds like Sagebrush Sparrow, Black-throated Sparrow, and Loggerhead Shrike.
Mountain Highlights This 12-hour tour out of Salt Lake City is typically offered from June 1 through the end of July and included breakfast and lunch.
Northern Utah's rugged landscape is dominated by mountains. And the mountains hold a variety of interesting and coveted target birds. Starting at sunrise we depart Salt Lake City and visit a riparian habitat where Lazuli Bunting, Willow Flycatcher, and Yellow Warbler introduce us to the day with their eclectic ensemble. Touring a mid-elevation agricultural area we'll track down Bobolink, Wilson;'s Snipe, and Sandhill Cranes, before following a river high into the Uinta Mountains to seek out American Dipper, Hammond's, Cordilleran, and Dusky Flycatcher, MacGillivray's Warbler, Fox Sparrow, and Violet-green Swallow. Ascending to almost 11,000' we find our selves in high elevation conifer where birds like Pine Grosbeak, Red Crossbill, Gray Jay, Clark's Nutcracker, and American Three-toed Woodpecker can be found. Sometimes we are lucky and scope out Black Rosy-Finch on exposed snow patches before descending into southwest Wyoming for lunch. Our afternoon visits a high desert where Vesper Sparrow, Golden Eagle, and Sage Thrasher are found, followed up with a stop at a wetland where American Bittern, Sora, Black Tern, and Wilson's Phalarope breed. Making our way into an aspen covered portion of the northern mountains we encounter the mountain subspecies of the Purple Martin, Western Tanager, and occasionally Williamson's Sapsucker. Visiting 3 portions of northern Utah mountain ranges, we typically pick up around 100 species before making our way back to SLC in the evening.
Utah’s “Best Of” Summer This tours can be typically be arranged from June 1 through the end of July and includes all breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Want to visit the mountains, the desert, and the Great Salt Lake, but only have a day? We've designed a tour to take all the best parts of the above tours, and pack them into a full day of birding, that also includes our client favorite--Flammulated Owling to cap things off. The "Best of Summer" tour starts off with a morning visit to the Juniper Woodlands, and Sagebrush Desert, followed up with a loop through the northern Utah mountains, continuing with an evening visit to the Great Salt Lake, before heading into the mountains at dusk to track down Flammulated Owl and Common Poorwill. It's called the "best of" because it truly is the best of all the tours we offer!