LOWER RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS
Jan 30-Feb 5 and Feb 6-12, 2017
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 (Jan 30/Feb 6): Your guide will pick you up at the McAllen airport. Birding as our schedule permits. (If you would prefer to fly into the Harlingen airport, please let us know and we'll discuss arrangements.)
Day 2-6 (Jan 31-Feb 4/Feb 7-11): 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 7 (Feb 5/Feb 12): After breakfast, we'll fit in some birding if possible and then return to the airport for flights back home.
Note: Pre- and post-trip extensions for Whooping Crane may be possible. Please let us know if you are interested in either possibility. Prices will depend on the number of participants on the extension.
TOUR FEE: $1495 per person. The tour fee includes lodging for six nights, all meals from supper on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 7, ground transportation during the tour, and guide services. It does not include airfare to and from McAllen or Harlingen, 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: Minimum 3, maximum of 5.
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 $500 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 60 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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