Experience some of North America’s top birding destinations during spring on this 10-day Venture to South Texas! Not only will we visit the famed Lower Rio Grande Valley for its myriad specialties, stops will also be made along the coast at Rockport and in the Hill Country.
Our tour begins with a brief sojourn in the Rockport area, where we will bird the coastal marshes and woodlands looking for an array of wintering shorebirds and raptors such as White-tailed Hawk and Aplomado Falcon. We will also enjoy a boat tour out into Aransas Bay, where we should see lingering Whooping Cranes. These magnificent birds are fairly reliable here as they feed on blue crabs in family groups in the maritime marshes.
We then head south to Rio Grande Valley, where we will spend the better part of a week visiting many of the area’s hotspots, including Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Santa Ana NWR, Estero Llano Grande State Park, Salineño Wildlife Preserve, and South Padre Island. We move east to west across the Valley, searching for all the target specialties including Great Kiskadee, Altamira & Audubon’s Orioles, Plain Chachalaca, Tropical Parula, Long-billed Thrasher, and the beautiful Green Jay, among many others. There’s always the chance of a Mexican vagrant straying north of the border, and we will make time to chase any goodies that might be around.
Turning north from Zapata, we trade the Lower Rio Grande Valley for a brief stay in the Texas Hill Country, a rugged area of limestone hills and juniper-oak woodlands. Here, we will look for the federally endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler & Black-capped Vireo, the best area in the country to find them. We should also find Cave Swallow, Bell’s Vireo, Lark Sparrow, and Bewick’s Wren, and we’ll have a chance to witness the spectacle of millions of Mexican Free-tailed Bats leaving their daily roost in the evening, an event which often attracts raptors hoping for an easy meal!
Join us for this birding exploration of one of the premier birding regions in the country!