Tours & Destinations Texas
Expired tour dates at the top of this schedule will be updated as soon as possible. The dates are likely to be close to what is listed, simply one year later. Check back for recent updates.
. . . . . 2013 TOUR SCHEDULE . . . . .
TEXAS HILL COUNTRY on the EDWARDS PLATEAU
Home of two VERY RARE SONGBIRDS!24 April 2013 - 28 April 2013, 5 days & 4 nights
Two little birds make this trip an exciting adventure: Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo. Both can be found at Lost Maples State Park and Kerr Wildlife Management Area, along with Green Kingfisher and the scenic beauty that this area has to offer. Then we include four nights at Neal's/Buchanan Lodges, where we have previously watched nesting Black-capped Vireos through our spotting scope and from our porch! One of our evenings will be occupied with a visit to the Frio Bat Cave, a nursery roost for 10-12 million Mexican Freetail Bats. They put on quite a late day show. Add a few Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, Canyon Wrens, Zone-tailed Hawks, Dickcissels, and a Painted Bunting or two, all in beautiful habitats and full breeding plumage, and we have an incredible five days on the Edwards Plateau, with lots of birding and very little driving. The scheduled tour leader is Bob Schutsky. Please inquire about a $150 discount for combining Texas Hill Country with the Big Bend Tour, described below.
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK, TEXAS
The only place in the US to see COLIMA WARBLER29 April 2013 - 7 May 2013, 9 days & 8 nights
Big Bend is the only location in the United States where Colima Warbler can be found. We'll be there at prime time to make the hike into the Chisos Mountains to search for this rare and local species. We are also likely to see Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Elf Owl, Gray Hawk, Crissal Thrasher, Hooded Oriole, and Varied Bunting. Places that we'll visit within Big Bend include Rio Grande Village, Hot Springs, Panther Junction, Sam Nail Ranch, and of course Boot Spring for the Colima Warbler and lots of additional great birding. The Davis Mountains may yield Montezuma Quail, Common Black-Hawk, and many additional birds. The drive to Alpine is almost certain to produce Pronghorns. The El Paso region has desert scrub birds including Greater Roadrunner, Verdin, and Burrowing Owl, while Lake Balmorhea adds shorebirds, waterfowl, and long-legged waders to the list. Bobcat, Javelina, Armadillo, and Jackrabbits can all be reasonably expected, and even a Mountain Lion is well within the realm of possibility. The scheduled tour leader is Bob Schutsky. There is a $150 discount if you combine this tour with the Texas Hill Country Tour that immediately precedes it.
. . . . . 2014 TOUR SCHEDULE . . . . .
WINTER BIRDS of SOUTH TEXAS
WHOOPING CRANES & the RIO GRANDE VALLEY10 January 2014 - 19 January 2014, 10 days & 9 nights
A boat ride on Aransas Bay will play a key roll in this tour. It is our ticket to the magnificent, rare and endangered Whooping Crane, whose population is growing annually. We'll see a wealth of additional aquatic species such as Eared Grebe, Neotropic Cormorant, Roseate Spoonbill, and perhaps an American Bittern. Santa Ana is reliable for Ringed and Green Kingfishers, while Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park and Anzalduas County Park are known for their Mexican rarities and wintering songbirds, such as Clay-colored Thrush, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, and Tropical Parula. One year we found a Roadside Hawk at Bentsen, which at that time was the fourth ABA record! Another tour produced Green-breasted Mango and Blue Bunting. We'll travel as far upriver as San Ygnacio in search of Audubon's and Altamira Orioles, Hook-billed Kite, and White-collared Seedeater. Our visit to the Santa Gertrudis Division of the King Ranch should provide good looks at White-tailed Hawk, Harris's Hawk, Burrowing Owl, Sprague's Pipit, Olive Sparrow, and a host of other scrub-thorn species. Bob Schutsky is the scheduled leader. The tour fee is unchanged from 2013
SOUTH TEXAS, LOWER RIO GRANDE VALLEY and the extreme SOUTH TEXAS GULF COAST
with a good chance for FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL14 February 2014 - 23 February 2014, 10 days & 9 nights
We'll see a wealth of aquatic species along the extreme southern Gulf Coast. These may include Snowy and Piping Plovers, Roseate Spoonbill, and perhaps a Northern Gannet and Sandwich Tern. Our visit to the King Ranch will hopefully yield a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, along with fine looks at White-tailed Hawk, Harris's Hawk, Burrowing Owl, Sprague's Pipit, Olive Sparrow, and a host of other scrub-thorn species. Santa Ana is reliable for Ringed and Green Kingfishers, while Bentsen State Park and Anzalduas County Park are known for their Mexican rarities and wintering songbirds, such as Clay-colored Thrush, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, and Tropical Parula. One year we found a Roadside Hawk at Bentsen, which at that time was the fourth ABA record! Another previous tour produced Green-breasted Mango and Blue Bunting. And recently we found a Crimson-collared Grosbeak. We'll travel as far upriver as San Ygnacio in search of Audubon's and Altamira Orioles, Hook-billed Kite, and White-collared Seedeater. This tour focuses on the Lower Rio Grande Valley, from the Gulf Coast to San Ignacio. Bob Schutsky is the scheduled leader. The tour price remains the same as it was in 2013.
SOUTH TEXAS HAWK MIGRATION
Raptors, Songbirds & Specialties of the Lower Rio Grande Valley27 March 2014 - 3 April 2014, 8 days & 7 nights
Some of the finest spring hawk migration in North America occurs in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, as raptors move north out of Central America and Mexico. We will spend eight days in the Valley, dividing our time between the well-established hawk watches at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge and Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. Additional birders and volunteers will be present as we all work together to identify most or all of birds that pass by, not just birds of prey. We are likely to see good numbers of raptors on a daily basis, including kettles of Broad-winged Hawks and Mississippi Kites. A nice variety of hawks will move through in smaller numbers, with hopefully a rarity or two. When we are not hawk watching, we will search for many of the other Valley specialties at some of the best birding locales in Texas. Bob Schutsky is the scheduled leader. We ran this tour very successfully in the same time period of 2011.