11974
Brownsville
Birding the Texas Tropics: Laguna Atascosa to South Padre Island
Enjoy great birding in the Lone Star State, exploring national parks and wildlife sanctuaries with experts as you watch for myriad birds and learn about the region’s natural history.
Program No. 11974RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,199
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6 days
5 nights
15 meals
5 B 5 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Brownsville, Texas
D
Homewood Suites by Hilton

Afternoon: Welcome, introductions and orientation at 4:30 pm in the hotel meeting room on the ground floor.

Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant.

Evening: Free evening after dinner

DAY
2
Nature Conservancy Southmost Preserve
Brownsville, Texas
B,L,D
Homewood Suites by Hilton

Activity note: Walking trails up to 2 hours, uneven surfaces, grass, dirt track, gravel

Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel. Enjoy a selection of hot and cold items including egg, sausage, bacon, waffles, cereal, yogurt, fruit, pastries, juice, tea and coffee. Some items may change daily.

Morning: Southmost Preserve is located on a meandering bend of the Rio Grande at the southernmost part of Texas. As part of the Boscaje de la Palma region of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Wildlife Corridor, the 1,034-acre preserve encompasses one of the last stands of native sabal palm trees in the country. This land has been called the "Jewel of the Rio Grande Valley" and many would argue that Southmost Preserve is one of the most ecologically important pieces of land remaining in the Valley. This preserve is home to one of the only two remaining large stands of native Mexican sabal palms in the U.S. In addition, several large tracts of Tamaulipan thornscrub are found here. A number of species at the northernmost extent of their range are present, such as David's milkberry, potato tree, Palmer's bloodleaf, and climbing plumbago. The bright fuchsia floral spikes of coral bean trees and the scarlet flowers of Turk's cap are abundant in spring beneath the canopy of palms and tall riparian trees. The Southmost Preserve is part of major migratory flyways. Birds that may be observed here include the Altamira oriole, chachalaca, green jay, tropical parula, buff-bellied hummingbird, black-bellied and fulvous whistling duck, groove-billed ani, Couch's kingbird, and olive sparrow. The wooded fringes of the resacas offer some of the last remaining nesting habitat known for two rare subspecies of birds, the Brownsville common yellowthroat and the Lomita Carolina wren.

Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch and get an overview on the ecology of south Texas.

Afternoon: Continue birding into another habitat - coastal grasslands looking for White-tailed and Harris Hawks, and perhaps the endangered Aplomado Falcon would be a good find.

Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant. On our way to dinner we will try to find some naturalized bird species - Red-crowned and Yellow-headed Parrots and Green Parakeets.

Evening: Go over checklist of the days birds. Optional. Social evening at the hotel 5:30 - 7:30 pm

DAY
3
South Padre Island Bird and Nature Center
Brownsville, Texas
B,L,D
Homewood Suites by Hilton

Activity note: Boardwalk trails at the center.

Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel. Enjoy a selection of hot and cold items including egg, sausage, bacon, waffles, cereal, yogurt, fruit, pastries, juice, tea and coffee. Some items may change daily.

Morning: South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center offers a visitors center, extensive board walks and a diversity of birds including, wading birds, gulls, shorebirds and ducks including the Black-bellied Whistling ducks. Secretive birds may accommodate like the Clapper and Sora Rails

Lunch: Sandwich style lunch

Afternoon: Birding continues in the afternoon en route back to the hotel.

Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant

Evening: Go over checklist of the days birds. Optional. Social evening at the hotel 5:30 - 7:30 pm

DAY
4
Resaca de la Palma
Brownsville, Texas
B,L,D
Homewood Suites by Hilton

Activity note: Walking a variety of terrain, trails, boardwalk, grass paths, uneven surfaces for one plus hours. Standing for periods of time.

Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel. Enjoy a selection of hot and cold items including egg, sausage, bacon, waffles, cereal, yogurt, fruit, pastries, juice, tea and coffee. Some items may change daily.

Morning: Visit the newest State Park in South Texas - Resaca de la Palma in search of Least Grebes. Brownsville’s Resaca de la Palma boasts the largest tract of native habitat in the World Birding Center network. Etched by ancient curves of the Rio Grande, its 1200 semi-tropical acres provide a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of an international urban center only a few miles away. Through the cooperation of local & federal land management agencies, a wilderness preserved from days gone by is open to nature adventurers for the first time. Long before humans recorded its work, the Rio Grande was shaping Resaca de la Palma. Abandoned coils of river bed, known locally as resacas, create wildlife-attracting ponds here when full. Along the natural levees of these shallow ponds are dense stands of banco woodlands and marsh vegetation. Elsewhere, drier Tamaulipan thorn woodlands include classic mesquite and anacahuita.

Lunch: Picnic lunch at the park.

Afternoon: The Sabal Palm Preserve, once a National Audubon site, now maintained by the Gorgus Foundation. We will look for Olive Sparrows and Long-billed Thrashers.

Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant

Evening: Go over checklist of the days birds. Optional. Social evening at the hotel 5:30 - 7:30 pm

DAY
5
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge
Brownsville, Texas
B,L,D
Homewood Suites by Hilton

Activity note: Driving trails with some walking

Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel. Enjoy a selection of hot and cold items including egg, sausage, bacon, waffles, cereal, yogurt, fruit, pastries, juice, tea and coffee. Some items may change daily.

Morning: Laguna Atascosa Refuge’s wetlands and tidal flats make it a significant wintering and migratory stopover area, as well as a major shorebird and waterbird breeding area. From freshwater to brackish to salty, the wetlands of the refuge are affected by tides, rainfall, freshwater runoff, evaporation, wind and in some instances, all of the above. The Laguna Atascosa (muddy lagoon), for which the refuge is named, is a 5,000-acre impoundment that is especially important for redhead ducks when they first arrive to their winter home on the Lower Laguna Madre. The refuge’s other large ponds, impoundments, resacas (oxbows) and pothole wetlands are also important as they are often the only source of freshwater for wildlife. These freshwater sources are also havens for alligators, turtles, frogs and many other species. Visit the southernmost waterfowl refuge in the US-Laguna Atascosa where another neo-tropical bird lives, the Plain Chachalaca. Other bird sightings may include Alta-mira Orioles, and in the waters of the Laguna Madre watch out for the Reddish Egret and other wading birds, as well as wintering ducks like Redheads, Northern Pintails, and the American Widgeon.

Lunch: Picnic lunch at Laguna Atascosa entertained by begging Green Jays.

Afternoon: Birding continues in the afternoon en route back to the hotel.

Dinner: Farwell dinner at local restaurant

Evening: Wrap-up, complete bird lists, and final discussion

DAY
6
Program Concludes
Brownsville, Texas
B,L

Activity note: Check out hotel at 12:00 pm

Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel. Enjoy a selection of hot and cold items including egg, sausage, bacon, waffles, cereal, yogurt, fruit, pastries, juice, tea and coffee. Some items may change daily.

Morning: Birding powerpoint presentation by Bob Powell in the hotel meeting room. Program ends at 10 am.

Lunch: Pick up snack in hotel meeting room at 10:00 am. Hotel check out 12 pm.