New Year in South Texas: Dec 27, 2007—Jan 02, 2008

A Relaxed and Easy Tour

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Price: $1,925
Departs: Harlingen, TX (ends in Corpus Christi)
Tour Limit: 14
Operations Manager: Greg Lopez
Download Itinerary: PDF (85.7 KB)

Tour Leaders


Kim Eckert

Kim Eckert, with over 40 years of birding experience throughout the U.S. and Canada, has now...

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Register for this Tour

Register for this tour by phone (800/328-VENT or 512/328-5221), or by downloading a tour registration form. Signed and completed forms can be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed to the VENT office.

Roseate Spoonbills

Roseate Spoonbills — Photo: Greg Lasley

Ideal trip for teachers and others with vacation time between Christmas and New Year's, which includes everything from the Whooping Cranes of Aransas National Wildlife Refuge to the numerous specialties along the Rio Grande River.

What better way for birders to ring out the old year and ring in the new than with a visit to South Texas, where mild weather and a host of special birds combine for a memorable holiday getaway. Our first destination is usually Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, where birds of prey like White-tailed Kite, White-tailed and Harris's hawks, and Crested Caracaras are often present, and where we may spot our first Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Great Kiskadee, Couch's Kingbird, Green Jay, and Black-crested Titmouse, among other South Texas specialties.

The following few days will be devoted to exploring the Rio Grande Valley, where the largest variety of special birds are found. At places like Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge and Bentsen State Park, we can expect to see all the regular "Valley specialties," such as Plain Chachalaca, Least Grebe, White-tipped Dove, Common Pauraque, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Ringed Kingfisher, Tropical Kingbird, Long-billed Thrasher, Olive Sparrow, and Altamira and Audubon's orioles. All of these are birds found regularly nowhere in the U.S. outside of South Texas.

On almost every trip we also see a few genuine Rio Grande rarities. In past years these have included the likes of Muscovy Duck, Hook-billed Kite, Gray Hawk, Red-billed Pigeon, Clay-colored Thrush, Tropical Parula, White-collared Seedeater, and Blue Bunting.

Our tour will end back on the coast with a boat trip to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, the main wintering grounds of the world's only wild flock of Whooping Cranes. Here or elsewhere in the vicinity of Rockport and Corpus Christi, we are also likely to encounter Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Reddish Egret, Roseate Spoonbill, Clapper Rail, Piping and Snowy plovers, American Oystercatcher, Long-billed Curlew, Black Skimmer, and many other interesting waterbirds.

Includes leisurely half-day boat trip to Aransas Refuge; short to moderate walks on level terrain; weather can be cool and windy, but temperatures in the 60s and 70s are normal.