Big Bend National Park & The Texas Hill Country : Apr 28—May 07, 2016

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Price: $2,995
Departs: San Antonio
Ends: El Paso
Tour Limit: 14
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
Download Itinerary: PDF (108.1 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Barry Zimmer

Barry Zimmer has been birding since the age of eight. His main areas of expertise lie in Nor...


Brian Gibbons

Brian Gibbons grew up in suburban Dallas where he began exploring the wild world in local cr...

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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.

Montezuma Quail

Montezuma Quail— Photo: Kevin Zimmer

Combines two of the richest regions of Texas: the lush Hill Country, and scenic and remote Big Bend National Park. Spring is the prime season for visiting these areas, when bird diversity and song are at their peaks. Montezuma Quail, Lucifer Hummingbird, Black-capped Vireo, Golden-cheeked Warbler, Colima Warbler, and more!

The lush Texas Hill Country is home to two of the most highly sought birds in North America, the Black-capped Vireo and Golden-cheeked Warbler. We will seek out these specialties while enjoying other gems such as Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Crested Caracara, Green Kingfisher, Vermilion Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Cave Swallow, Long-billed Thrasher, Yellow-throated Warbler, Olive Sparrow, and Painted Bunting among others. In addition, we will visit a nearby bat cave where over ten million Mexican Free-tailed Bats emerge at dusk to hunt. This is a natural history spectacle not likely to be forgotten.

In the afternoon, we offered two options to the group. One van headed to Santa Elena Canyon, where the scenery alone was worth the ride.

Santa Elena Canyon — Photo: Barry Zimmer


From the Hill Country we head westward to Del Rio to seek out the tiny White-collared Seedeater making its last stand in the United States in localized patches along the Rio Grande. From Del Rio, we venture to the Trans-Pecos region of Texas and Big Bend National Park. The scenery alone would justify the trip to the park, but birds abound here. In fact, more species have been found in Big Bend than in any other national park. The prime target is the Colima Warbler, which can be found nowhere else in the United States. Other species of interest include Gray Hawk, the tiny Elf Owl, Western Screech-Owl, the stunning Lucifer Hummingbird, Blue-throated Hummingbird, the localized Gray Vireo, plum-colored Varied Buntings, and the uncommon Black-chinned Sparrow.

A day in the Davis Mountains to the north offers chances for the unique and highly-prized Montezuma Quail, as well as Common Black Hawk, Gray Flycatcher, and Hepatic Tanager, while the El Paso area may harbor Gambel’s Quail and Crissal Thrasher.

Good accommodations; easy to moderate terrain; mostly easy walks and roadside birding, but with two lengthy, strenuous hikes with elevational gains in Big Bend; warm to potentially hot climate.