Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley March 2016

lower rio grande valley, texas

march 2 TO 9, 2016  

One of the premier destinations for birding in the U.S., the Lower Rio Grande Valley has over 30 species of birds found nowhere else in the United States. Ecologically, this area is the northern most extension of the Tamaulipan thornscrub habitat of northeastern Mexico. From colorful Green Jays and Great Kiskadees to more subtle specialties like Long-billed Thrasher and Olive Sparrow, there are always lots of birds to see and search for in the valley. In some years rarities from Mexico appear—and although not be expected, past NJ Audubon tours have found Masked Duck, Hook-billed Kite, Tropical Parula, and Blue Bunting. Many resident species should be in full song, and wintering waterfowl, shorebirds, and warbler flocks should keep us busy. Places we are likely to visit include Laguna Atascosa and Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuges, Estero Llano Grande and Falcon State Parks, and Sabal Palm Sanctuary. Some of the many species we should encounter include Least Grebe, White-tailed and Harris’s Hawks, Plain Chachalaca, Ringed and Green Kingfishers, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Black-crested Titmouse, Altamira and Audubon’s Orioles.  


Our days in the field usually begin about 7:00 a.m. and will end no later than 6:00 p.m.  The trip involves easy walking on flat ground. One some days we may spend 2-3 hours walking and standing as we bird.
Temperatures can be variable at this time of year, but will likely be warm to hot, with high humidity.  Expect a temperature range from lows in the mid-50s to highs in the mid-80s Fahrenheit.  Rain is always possible, so bring a poncho or rain jacket.  Biting insects such as mosquitoes or chiggers may be present.
Travel during this tour will be in vans, with no more than 7 participants plus a leader in one "12 person" van.  Tour size is limited to 12 participants.  
Additional information about the tour, with specific meeting times, a list of participants, addresses of motels, lists of things to bring, a reading list, a list of probable/possible birds, further information about weather, dress, etc., will be mailed to all participants well in advance of the tour.

: Wednesday March 2, 2016 (meet at our hotel in at 7:00 p.m.) to Wednesday March 9, 2016 (flights home anytime that day).

: Cost for this tour is $2,095/person based on double occupancy; single supplement (should you request single occupancy, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate) is $300.  A deposit of $500 will hold your place until January 4, 2016 when full payment becomes due.

Hotel accommodations for seven nights, tour leadership, ground transportation while in Texas, and entry fees.  It does not include airfare to/from Texas.  Meals are not included.

NJ Audubon Eco-Travel,
c/o Center for Research and Education
600 Route 47 North,
Cape May Court House NJ 08210

tel. 609-861-1608 x13.

Please make checks payable to New Jersey Audubon.

OR by email to travel@njaudubon.org
Scott Barnes began birding at the age of twelve and has been an avid naturalist ever since.  Encouragement and learning came from his parents and many birders, including members of the Delaware Valley and Urner Ornithological Clubs and staff of New Jersey Audubon Society.  An interest in travel and natural history has led him from northwestern Alaska to the desert southwest to Trinidad and Tobago in search of plants and animals.  Scott is an eBird regional editor and manages the NJ eBird portal, writes the “Voice of New Jersey Audubon” weekly rare bird alert, compiles the Sandy Hook Christmas Bird Count, twelve-year member and former chair of the New Jersey Bird Records Committee, leader on See Life Paulagics boat trips, and assistant director for the NJ Audubon Eco-Travel.  Scott has led NJAS tours to twenty states and four countries.

Linda Mack’s interest in birding began more than twenty years ago on a Cape May Weekend and she has been hooked ever since.  She is a member of the New Jersey Audubon’s Board of Directors and an Associate Naturalist.  She is a past President, Program Chair, and Conservation Chair for Monmouth County Audubon Society.  Linda has traveled extensively throughout North America studying birds and natural history, with multiple trips to California, Montana, Arizona, Texas, North Dakota, Louisiana and Florida.  Her infectious enthusiasm and willingness to share knowledge is well known.  She has co-led tours to New Mexico, Nebraska’s Platte River, southwest Louisiana, Big Bend and the Davis Mountains, Southeast Arizona, and is a regular leader on long weekend trips to coastal Massachusetts, the Adirondack Mountains, and Bombay Hook, as well as the Cape May Fall Weekend.  Linda has co-led two previous Rio Grande Valley tours.