Box 9021, Wilmington, DE 19809, USA
Phone: Toll-free in USA 1-888-721-3555
A Focus On Nature Tour
In the spring
bIRDS, BUTTERFLIES, BATS,
& OTHER NATURE
From rockport on the gulf
to the lower rio grande valley
and the edwards plateau
April 22-30, 2016
To include, at a prime-time for Texas birding,
many, many birds.
Among the specialties:
the GOLDEN-CHEEKED WARBLER, BLACK-CAPPED VIREO,
GREEN JAY, and BUFF-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD.
Notable birds in the southern Texas during recent years have included
these normally seen in Mexico:
Crimson-collared Grosbeak, White-throated Robin, Social Flycatcher,
Rufous-capped Warbler, Golden-crowned Warbler, Tropical Parula,
Blue Bunting, and Green-breasted Mango
(Some birds such as these may be seen during this tour)
Black-capped Vireo in Texas
(photo by Clair de Beauvior)
Tour to be led by Armas Hill
A List & Photo Gallery of Texas Birds in 2 Parts:
Part #1: Quails to Becard Part #2: Flycatchers to Buntings
Lists of Other Texas Wildlife (each with some photos)
Mammals Butterflies Dragonflies & Damselflies Amphibians & Reptiles
Marine Life (inc. fish, corals, jellyfish, mollusks (shells), & arthropods: crustaceans & echinoderms)
Texas Wildflowers Plants of the Desert & some nearby habitats (with some photos)
Itinerary (price follows):
Apr 22 Arrival in Corpus Christi,
Texas. Travel north to the coastal
town of Rockport, to be our base for
the first few days of the tour.
In the afternoon, we'll visit the the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (a place renowned for Whooping Cranes from fall thru spring). The refuge, of over 50,000 acres, is on the Blackjack Peninsula, and incorporates a number of different habitats wooded sand dunes, brushlands, oak "mottes", grass meadows, cordgrass prairies, tidal marshes, freshwater ponds, and marine bays. About 8,500 acres is open to the public, and there is a 16-mile auto loop-road. Nesting birds on the refuge include: Pauraque, White-tailed Hawk, Northern Crested Caracara, Purple Gallinule, Wilson's Plover, and Cassin's Sparrow.
Other wildlife of the refuge include: American Alligator, White-tailed Deer, Collared Peccary (Javelina), Armadillo, and Coyote. The first of two overnights in Rockport.
Northern Crested Caracara
(photo by Howard Eskin)
Sat: Apr 23This morning, a boat-ride in the marshes near the Aransas Refuge. If some Whooping Cranes are still about (and some may be in late April), we should get a good, close look. A number of birds, of various sorts, will be seen from the boat.
male Painted Bunting
There are many in Texas in April
(photo by Clair de Beauvior)
Sun: Apr 24Rockport, where we spent our first two nights, is on the Live Oak Peninsula. Large concentrations landbirds occur on the peninsula in migration. Mid-April to mid-May is the peak time. Franklin's Gull, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Veery, Gray-cheeked Thrush, and Philadelphia Vireo are regular migrants. Herons and egrets, other waterbirds, and shorebirds, will also be common. Before we leave Rockport, we'll visit Goose Island State Park, where, in addition to some migrants as those just-mentioned, we could see Reddish Egret, Least Bittern, Roseate Spoonbill, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Clapper Rail, Gull-billed and Sandwich and other Terns, and Seaside Sparrow.
In the Gulf Coast region of Texas,
one of the more common butterflies is the Pipevine Swallowtail (above)
and one of the dragonflies is the Halloween Pennant (below),
a dragonfly that is a bit butterfly-like.
Mid-day this day, we'll travel south and west to Kingsville,
where we'll do some birding at the King Ranch,
said to be the largest privately-owned ranch in the world, with more than
Among bird species in the Kingsville area, near the northern limit of their nesting range, are White-tailed Hawk, Green Jay, Great Kiskadee, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Audubon's Oriole, and Buff-bellied Hummingbird. Other nesting species in the area include: both Black-chinned and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Common Ground-Dove, and Hooded Oriole.
From the King Ranch, we travel south along Highway #77, with some birding stops enroute, to Weslaco, where we'll spend the night.
Along Highway #77, we should, along the way, see some nice raptors along with White-tailed Hawk, there should be the Harris' Hawk and the Northern Crested-Caracara.
A female Blackburnian Warbler
Many warblers can be seen along the Texas Gulf Coast in April
during a fallout of migrants.
A series of other Texas Warbler Photos follows this itinerary.
(This & those photos by Clair de Beauvior)
Mon: Apr 25Our first day of birding in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, one of the foremost areas of the US for birds. We'll see many, some of which only spill over a relatively few miles from Mexico.
Tue: Apr 26Another day with what should be fine birding in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, at 2 places renowned for birding the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge and the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park.
Wed: Apr 27After some additional birding at Bentsen, in the morning, we'll go further west in the Rio Grande Valley, to the bird in the area of the Falcon Dam and nearby Falcon State Park. Enroute, we'll stop at the Santa Margarita Ranch to look for the Brown Jay.
Pygmy Owl (above),
Greater Roadrunner (below)
Thu: Apr 28 We'll do some morning birding this day (as we like to do morning birding every day) in Laredo at the grounds of the Laredo Junior College and the nearby Lake Casa Blanca Park.
But then we'll be driving north from Laredo toward the Edwards Plateau, where our two prime birding objectives with be specialties of that region of junipers and oaks, the Golden-cheeked Warbler and the Black-capped Vireo.
The overnights of Thu May 2 & Fri May 3 to be in Uvalde, near the Edwards Plateau.
During either one, or both of these evenings, we'll be, at sunset, where a huge flock of bats will depart from the cave where they roost. Also after dark, we'll look for various mammals, nocturnal birds, and other wildlife.
Bats during a late spring evening in Texas
Apr 29 A
full-day for the 2 Texas bird specialties just mentioned, the Golden-cheeked
Warbler and Black-capped Vireo. Not only is the Edwards Plateau "the
place" for them in Texas, it's "the place" for them in
the United States. This day we should enjoy seeing an assortment of wildlife,
with birds of various kinds, some animals, butterflies, and
maybe an amphibian or reptile in addition to a variety of plants.
For those who wish, the bats again at sunset, with the huge flight
departing the cave, and then the nature that we might find after dark.
Sat: Apr 30 After some early-morning birding, our last for the tour, we'll head for the airport at San Antonio for our afternoon departure for home.
Price: $2,295 per person, based upon double occupancy
Single supplement: $295
• All overnight accommodations.
• Meals, except dinners.
• Ground transportation in Texas.
• Services of the birding guide.
include: Dinners. Drinks. Items of a personal nature.
Air fare. Airport tax. Gratuities.
A deposit of
$500, per person,
is required to assure a place on each or either of the tours.
SOME WARBLERS IN TEXAS IN LATE APRIL & EARLY MAY
Black-throated Green Warbler
Female American Redstart