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 Leaders: Dan van den Broek and Brodie Cass Talbott
- Fee: $2,095 member / $2,395 non-member
***EARLY BIRD PRICING UNTIL JANUARY 15TH: $1,795 member / $2,095 non-member***
- Single supplement: TBD
- Group size: Limited to 14 participants
Fee Includes: Fee is based on double occupancy and includes all lodging, all ground transportation, all meals except dinners, and all guide fees.
Dan van den Broek
Dan has over 15 years of experience leading international birding trips for Portland Audubon. With prior experiences at Point Reyes Bird Observatory, Redwood Sciences Lab, Klamath Bird Observatory, Costa Rica Bird Observatory, and Avifauna Northwest, Dan brings immense enthusiasm and passion for birds and natural history to all of his trips.
Brodie Cass Talbott
Brodie works as an educator with Portland Audubon. After many years of wildland firefighting and leading river tours, he spent six years living and teaching across Asia, where his interest in birds became his passion. He has birded across five continents, and uses his experience in education and ecotourism to share his love of the outdoors with people from all ages, backgrounds, and abilities, with an eye towards increasing access to wild spaces for people from diverse communities.