Winter Rio Grande Valley: A Relaxed & Easy Tour : Feb 08—14, 2014

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Departs: McAllen, Texas
Tour Limit: 7
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
Download Itinerary: PDF (86.3 KB)

Route Map

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Tour Leaders

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Brennan Mulrooney

Brennan Mulrooney was born and raised in San Diego, California. Growing up, his heart and mi...


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Altamira Oriole

Altamira Oriole— Photo: Barry Zimmer

In addition to all the regular Rio Grande Valley specialties, which are absent elsewhere in the U.S., the potential for strays from Mexico, the possibilities too numerous to mention, is probably strongest at this time of year.

The Rio Grande Valley—from the barrier beaches of South Padre Island through the subtropical forested corridor along the river, to the more arid uplands around the Falcon Dam and Reservoir—is one of the two or three best birding areas in the United States, home to a long list of birds which are absent or rare in this country outside of South Texas.

Among these famed “Valley specialties,” we can expect to see Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Plain Chachalaca, Least Grebe, Neotropic Cormorant, Gray and White-tailed hawks, White-tipped Dove, Green Parakeet, Red-crowned Parrot, Common Pauraque, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Ringed and Green kingfishers, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Great Kiskadee, Tropical and Couch’s kingbirds, Green Jay, Black-crested Titmouse, Long-billed Thrasher, Olive Sparrow, and Altamira and Audubon’s orioles, among other unique birds.

With luck, we should also see some of the more difficult Mexican species that are recorded every winter, for example: Muscovy Duck, Hook-billed Kite, Red-billed Pigeon, Groove-billed Ani, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Brown Jay, Clay-colored Thrush, Tropical Parula, and White-collared Seedeater. Of course, we could also encounter a real rarity on the order of a Masked Duck, Roadside Hawk, Northern Jacana, Rose-throated Becard, White-throated Thrush, Blue Mockingbird, Golden-crowned Warbler, Gray-crowned Yellowthroat, Crimson-collared Grosbeak, Blue Bunting, or Black-vented Oriole—all of which have been seen at least once on previous tours.

Only one hotel change; an ideal escape from cold winter weather, with average highs in the 70s (though cool and windy days also possible); mostly short to moderate walks on level terrain.