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Texas (Lower Rio Grande Valley) April 2013

titmouseThe Post Office has nothing on our 2014 Rio Grande Valley Tour!!! We braved dust storms, 40 knot winds, 95 degree temperatures and then a cold front that dropped the temps almost 50 degrees in minutes. With that we got cold rainy days. But, we delivered!!! In spite of uncooperative conditions, we racked up 170 species of birds in just five days of sunrise to sunset birding. The Lower Rio Grande Valley Tour itinerary highlights those south Texas specialities that cannot be found anywhere else in
North America. Green Jay, Plain Chachalaca, Elf Owl, Altamira Oriole, Muscovy Duck, Red-billed Pigeon, Black- crested Titmouse, White-tailed Hawk, Harris's Hawk, Aplomado Falcon, Long-billed Thrasher, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Audubon's Oriole and Common Paraque all presented us with great looks.
Being so close to the Mexico and the Rio Grande River, there is always a rare vagrant that puts in an appearance on the U.S. side of the border. This year, the bird of the trip had to be an ABA code 4 sighting of a Crimson-collared Grosbeak. We had extended looks at a female just three miles from the river, south of Brownsville.
Visit the gallery and the previous trip reports, then call us for the next available tour. Its one that every birder needs to do.

Texas (Rio Grande Valley) April 2012  

Despite 30 mile an hour winds and above average temperatures, our 2012 tour to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas was a smashing success!!! Known for spectacular vagrants like the Blue Mockingbird, Crimson-collared Grosbeak, and Slate-throated Redstart and others, there is always the chance of seeing something rare and exciting.
Although we missed the Crimson-collared Grosbeak by three days, we were still treated to many of the Rio grande Valley's specialities. First on the list was a trip to Salineno at sunrise for a chance to see Red-billed Pigeon and a REAL Muscovy Duck.
We were fortunate to get a flyby just after sunrise of a Red-billed Pigeon and a dramatic view of two Muscovy Ducks flying upriver into a stiff headwind. It was like a slow motion movie as these huge ducks lumbered their way past us.
Next it was to one of the best county parks in the US for birding, Anzulduas Park where we found, thanks to help from locals, the elusive Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet. A big name for such a little bird, but we heard it sing and had great looks at it as it foraged in the oaks.
The Rio Grande River also affords one the chance to see two of the Kingfishers you rarely see anywhere else in the U.S., the Ringed and Green Kingfisher. We had multiple views of the Green and one great look at the hard to find Ringed. the highlight of the trip was seeing an Aplomado Falcon soar right past us. Once extirpated from the U.S., there has been an ongoing effort to reintroduce them back to Texas and New Mexico through captive breeding. Though not countable by AOU or ABA standards, it is still a sight to see!!
In all we logged a respectable 167 species in 6 days and had great looks at least 12 Rio Grande Specialties not seen anywhere else in North America.

Texas (Rio Grande Valley) May 2011

green jayBirds that winter in South and Central American funnel through South Texas on their way into N. America. If you are lucky, a few Mexican specialties get caught up in the migration and find their way into south Texas along with the other migrants. Rarities like the Crimson collared Grosbeak, Blue Mockingbird and Slate throated Redstart have been recorded. Though unlikely to happen often, you can still rely on seeing some birds that you will not see anywhere else in North America . White tailed Hawk, Northern beardless Tyrannulet, Varied Bunting, Altimira and Audubon's Oriole, Hook billed Kite, White tipped Dove are just a few of the regularly seen specialties.
This May we were lucky to witness a warbler fallout at South Padre Island that included 15 species of warblers and 6 different flycatcher species as well as four thrush species. A rare Black vented Oriole( normally seen only in southern Mexico to Nicaragua made a brief appearance on the island before vanishing.
Birding and photography opportunities are unlimited.