LOWER RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS
Feb 10-15, 2018
The Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas is famous for specialties that are found nowhere else in the United States plus Mexican rarities. Plain Chachalaca, Least Grebe, White-tailed Hawk, Common Pauraque, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Ringed and Green Kingfishers, Great Kiskadee, Green Jay, Black-crested Titmouse, Clay-colored Thrush, Long-billed Thrasher, White-collared Seedeater, Olive Sparrow, and Audubon and Altamira Orioles are just some of the reasons birders make a pilgrimage here every year. The chance to see rarities such as Golden-crowned Warbler, Crimson-collared Grosbeak, or even something even rarer like Amazon Kingfisher or Bare-throated Tiger-Heron is another exciting reason.
Something else that's exciting about this tour is the price. You'll see ours is lower than similar offerings from other companies, many of which cost $1000 more, but that doesn't mean this is a cut-rate tour. You'll still get quality lodging, quality birding, and an experienced guide. The difference is that we don't change lodging midway through the tour. On some days, that may mean an earlier start and more driving, but it also means you won't need to pack your luggage during the tour, plus it gives us maximum flexibility to respond if and when a rarity shows up.
Day 1 (Feb 10): Your guide will pick you up at the San Antonio airport in the early evening and drive you to the Valley. (If you would prefer to fly into McAllen, please let us know and we'll discuss arrangements.)
Day 2-4 (Feb 11-13): We'll arrange our schedule to maximize the number of species, particularly south Texas specialities and rarities from Mexico, that we see. Plan on visiting some of the area's hot spots such as Santa Ana NWR, Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park, Estero Llano Grande State Park, and more.
At least one day will be spent going upriver to spots such as Salineno, Zapata and more to look for specialties restricted to that area like Muscovy Duck (rare), Red-billed Pigeon, Audubon's Oriole, and White-collared Seedeater.
As the trip progresses, we'll choose birding locations that maximize our chances of seeing specialties that haven't been seen up to that point. If we've been particularly successful, we'll head to downriver to look for coastal species.
Day 5 (Feb 14): This day will start much like the previous days, but in the afternoon we'll start making our way to the Rockport area, where we'll stay overnight in preparation for the Whooping Crane cruise on the following day.
Day 6 (Feb 15): Today starts early with a cruise for Whooping Cranes. We often get great looks at this endangered species as well as other coastal species. Afterward, we'll drive to San Antonio for departing flights, birding along the way as time and opportunities permit.
TOUR FEE: $1750 per person. The tour fee includes lodging for six nights, all meals from breakfast on Day 2 to lunch on Day 6, ground transportation during the tour, and guide services. It does not include airfare, phone calls, laundry, room service charges, alcoholic beverages, or any items of a personal nature.
Payments can be made by check, money order, or PayPal.
LEADER: John Puschock will be your leader for this tour. John is the owner of Zugunruhe Birding Tours. He has birded the Lower Rio Grande Valley many times since his first visit in 1995 and has led several tours of the region over the past decade.
GROUP SIZE: maximum of 4.
PHYSICAL CONSIDERATIONS/WEATHER: Participants should be able to hike on easy trails and pavement for up to three hours (benches and restrooms are available at many birding sites; a folding stool also helps) and sit in a vehicle for up to two hours. At this time of year, weather can vary quite a bit. Average high temperatures are in the 70s while average lows are in the 50s; however, occasionally a cold front may drop temperatures into the 30s. Please notify us if you have any medical conditions that may affect your participation.
REGISTRATION and DEPOSIT: A deposit of $300 and a signed registration and release form will reserve your spot on this tour. Please e-mail for more information on the registration procedure and forms (contact info below). The balance of the fee is due by 30 days prior to the tour.
CANCELLATION POLICY: All fees received will be refunded with more than 90 days notice of cancellation. With 60-90 days notice of cancellation, all fees except the deposit will be refunded. No refund is possible with less than 60 days notification.
TRIP INSURANCE: We recommend that you purchase trip insurance to protect yourself in case you need to cancel, luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged, a medical emergency occurs, or other unforeseen circumstances. Note that many insurance policies require that you purchase it at the time you make the initial deposit for the tour and terms and coverage differ among policies.
For more information and registration forms, please us.
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