South Texas in Winter 2023

Whooping Cranes and The Lower Rio Grande Valley

February 11 – 19, 2023

Tour Length: 9 days
Est. Spaces Left: Available

South Texas is a birder’s paradise at any time of the year, but especially during late winter when the spectacular array of resident birds in South Texas are joined by an abundance of wintering shorebirds and waterfowl. This eight-night tour begins and ends in Corpus Christi with a leisurely swing through the birding hotspots of the lower Rio Grande Valley.

Tour Leaders

Stephan Lorenz

Kip Miller


Birds, Photography, Butterflies/Moths


Double Accommodation: $2,800/person
Single Supplement: + $500
Deposit: $500

Max Group Size

7 with 1 leader, up to 14 with 2 leaders


Easy, short hikes, moderate drives

Future Departures

February 23, 2024

Tour Descriptions

South Texas is a birder’s paradise at any time of the year, including late winter when resident birds are joined by an abundance of wintering shorebirds and waterfowl. This eight-night tour begins and ends in Corpus Christi after a leisurely swing down the South Texas coast and up through the Lower Rio Grande Valley, where we will plan to explore many of the region’s best birding locations. It is an ideal late winter birding getaway!

In addition to the endangered Whooping Crane, we will hope to see many South Texas specialties such as Plain Chachalaca, Least Grebe, White-tipped Dove, Common Pauraque, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, White-tailed and Gray Hawks, Ringed and Green Kingfishers, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Red-crowned Parrot, Green Parakeet, Great Kiskadee, Tropical and Couch’s Kingbirds, Green Jay, Black-crested Titmouse, Cave Swallow, Long-billed Thrasher, Clay-colored Thrush, Olive Sparrow, and Altamira and Audubon’s Orioles. Other regional specialties that can be more challenging, but are still quite possible, include Red-billed Pigeon, Hook-billed Kite, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Aplomado Falcon, Tropical Parula, and Morrelet’s Seedeater. And in addition to this long list of regular South Texas birds, one or more rarities from “south of the border” are typically present most winters. Examples from recent years include Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Rose-throated Becard, Golden-crowned Warbler, Crimson-collared Grosbeak, and Blue Bunting.



More Details

Trip Highlights

Top Birds

Whooping Crane; Roseate Spoonbill; Mottled Duck; Plain Chachalaca; Least Grebe; White-tipped Dove; Buff-bellied Hummingbird; Ringed & Green Kingfishers; Hook-billed Kite; Gray, White-tailed & Harris’s Hawks; Great Kiskadee; Tropical & Couch’s Kingbirds; Scissor-tailed Flycatcher; Green Jay; Clay-colored Thrush; Long-billed Thrasher; Olive Sparrow; Altamira & Audubon’s Orioles; Morrelet’s Seedeater; many shorebirds, wintering sparrows and waterfowl; rare vagrants during past tours have included Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Golden-crowned Warbler, Rose-throated Becard, Blue Bunting, Crimson-collared Grosbeak

Top Mammals

Bobcat, Collared Peccary

Other Attractions

Culture, rare subtropical habitats, butterflies


No Tour Extensions Listed

Planning for the Trip

Meeting Location

Corpus Christi Airport at 4:00 PM


Very comfortable hotels & excellent Texas restaurants.


From Corpus Christi, includes eight nights lodging, all meals, transportation, entry fees, guides, taxes, tips.


Alcohol, personal calls, laundry, other personal expenses.

Habitats Covered

Sub-tropical, seaside, pelagic, desert

Expected Climate

Moderate to hot, 60 – 95 degrees Fahrenheit

Suggested Clothing and Gear

Credit cards / cash
Scope and tripod (optional)
Sunglasses and sunscreen
Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
Water bottle
Small umbrella
Small day pack / fanny pack
Small flashlight
Mosquito/insect repellant (DEET 25% or greater)
Itch relief cream
Lip screen/balm
Prescription drugs – carry in original packaging to avoid customs problems
OTC medicines (antibiotics, cold/sinus, cough drops, eye drops, analgesic (Motrin, aspirin), anti-diarrheal)
Hair Dryer
Small alarm clock
Field guides
Hiking Boots/Shoes
Lightweight shoes/sneakers/sandals
Light-weight long pants
Light-weight long-sleeved shirts
Hat with brim/visor
Safari (e.g., Tilly) hat
Rain jacket/wind breaker
PJs or shorts for lounging/sleeping
Wool socks (various weights) and liners.

Recommended Reading

The Sibley Guide to Birds David A. Sibley (2000), Knopf
Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 6th Edition Jon Dunn, et al. (2011), National Geographic Society
A Photographic Guide to North American Raptors Brian Wheeler & William Clark
Birds of Texas: A Field Guide J. H. Rapploe & G. W. Blackhole