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Texas: Tropical Birding Along the Rio Grande Valley (Trip #2)

*Due to popularity and demand, we are offering a second trip.*

The Rio Grande Valley is widely known as one of the top birding destinations in the country. Come find out why with Portland Audubon, as we search for Chachalacas, Caracaras, and Kingfishers across all the top hotspots in the region, like Bentsen-Rio Grande and Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. As the southernmost part of the mainland United States, Rio Grand Valley is the perfect introduction to tropical birding with stunning birds like Green Jay and Altamira Oriole, all without a passport.

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Come visit one of the best places to go birding in North America. The Rio Grande Valley is an ecologically rich area where Chihuahuan desert, subtropical Tamaulipan thorn forest, riparian woodlands, resacas (former channels or oxbows of a river), coastal marshes and prairies all come together here to make this an oasis for birds. There are many parks that protect rare habitat and these parks are an oasis for many species of wildlife.  We will visit many of these parks such as the Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park where we will walk through riparian woodlands and thorn forests to visit some feeding stations where we will look for Plain Chachalaca, Altamira Oriole, Long-billed Thrasher, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, and White-tipped Dove.  Sometimes Tropical Parula and Northern Beardless Tyrannulet are found here as well. 

At National Butterfly Center we will take little time to support this area where recently an area on their property was cleared and bulldozed for the proposed border wall   The international border fence may leave part of this sanctuary inaccessible which will leave it exposed to deterioration and destruction, turning back many years of conservation efforts.

Along the coastal plain, we will visit Laguna Atascosa NWR.  In this habitat, we could find White-tailed Hawk, Harris’s Hawk, and Crested Caracara.  It is here that the rare Aplomado Falcon was reintroduced.  The birds are doing well, and with a little luck, we’ll see them.  Along the coast, numerous species of waterfowl spend the winter. One of the largest concentrations of wintering Redhead in the world is found along this coast.

We will visit the Frontera Audubon Sanctuary where numerous restoration projects, including a Sabal Palm grove, have turned this abandoned woodlot into an attractive woodland for a nice variety of birds.  Small flocks of warblers wander through here, and adjacent ponds sometimes attract Green Kingfisher.   We will also visit Santa Ana NWR where we will look for marsh birds such as Least Grebes, Mottled Duck, and Anhingas.   The riparian woodlands here may host Gray Hawk and with a little luck Clay-colored Thrush.  No birding trip is complete without a visit to a water treatment facility.  The Edinburgh Wetlands World Birding Center has an impressive interpretive center and the adjacent settling ponds is an excellent location to spot Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Green Kingfisher, Little Grebe as well as numerous heron and egrets.  In the dry scrub we should find Curve-billed Thrasher and Verdin.

Winter is an excellent time to visit this region where the weather is perfect and the birds are numerous.  There are often sightings of birds typically found more commonly south of the border and if any of these are within reach of our itinerary we may make an effort to look for it.    


Trip Details

  • Trip Leaders: Brodie Cass Talbott
  • Fee: $2,095 member / $2,395 non-member

***EARLY BIRD PRICING UNTIL JANUARY 20TH: $1,795 member / $2,095 non-member***

  • Single supplement: Limited availability, please call.
  • Group size: Limited to 10 participants

Fee Includes: Fee is based on double occupancy and includes all lodging, all ground transportation, all meals except dinners, and all guide fees.


March 15
March 20
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Erin Law