South Texas in Winter 2023

Whooping Cranes and The Lower Rio Grande Valley

February 11 – 19, 2023

Tour Length: 9 days
Est. Spaces Left: Spaces 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 in Corpus Christi and ends in Laredo with a leisurely swing through the birding hotspots of the lower Rio Grande Valley.

Tour Leaders

Stephan Lorenz

Claudia Cavazos

Focus

Birds, Photography, Butterflies/Moths

Price

Double Accommodation: $3,100/person
Single Supplement: + $500
Deposit: $500

Max Group Size

7 with 1 leader, up to 14 with 2 leaders

Pace

Easy, short hikes, moderate drives

Future Departures

February 3-11, 2024

Tour Descriptions

In addition to the endangered Whooping Crane, we will 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. In addition to this long list of regular South Texas birds, one or more rarities from “south of the border” are typically present during the winter months. Examples from recent tours have included Bat Falcon, Social Flycatcher, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Rose-throated Becard, Golden-crowned Warbler, Crimson-collared Grosbeak, and Blue Bunting. We will have plenty of time to explore the unique tropical flora, abundance of butterflies, and a few mammals of the region.

Locations

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 Bat Falcon; Social Flycatcher; Fork-tailed Flycatcher; Golden-crowned Warbler; Rose-throated Becard; Blue Bunting; Crimson-collared Grosbeak

Top Mammals

Bobcat; Collared Peccary; Coyote

Habitats Covered

Sub-tropical, seaside, coastal prairie, oak woodland, riparian, desert

Other Attractions

Culture, history, rare subtropical habitats, butterflies

Planning for the Trip

Meeting Location

Corpus Christi International Airport (CRP) at 4:00 PM, and the tour ends in Laredo at the Laredo International Airport (LRD) at 12:00 PM

Accommodations

Comfortable hotels & excellent, local Texas restaurants.

Included

From Corpus Christi includes eight nights of lodging, all meals, transportation, entry fees, guides, taxes, a half-day boat tour at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, and a full-day King Ranch tour.

Excluded

Alcohol, personal calls, laundry, and other personal expenses.

Expected Climate

Warm to hot and possibly humid, 60 – 95 degrees Fahrenheit. On rare occasions, a cold front reaches the Rio Grande Valley and it is a good idea to bring at least one set of warm layers.

Suggested Clothing and Gear

Credit cards/cash; Binoculars; 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); Toiletries; 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/windbreaker; Shorts; T-shirts; Swimsuit; PJs or shorts for lounging/sleeping; Wool socks (various weights) and liners.