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March 3 - March 8

Tropical Texas: Birding the Rio Grande Valley *FULL*

Come visit one of the best places to go birding in North America. The Rio Grande Valley is an ecologically rich area where Chihuahuan desert, subtropical Tamaulipan thorn forest, riparian woodlands, resacas (former channels or oxbows of a river), coastal marshes, and prairies all come together. A system of National Wildlife Refuges and parks create wonderful public access to see the amazing assortment of birds and wildlife. 

On this 6-day trip, we’ll visit many of these parks, such as the Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park, where we will walk through riparian woodlands and thorn forest to visit some feeding stations, looking for Plain Chachalaca, Altamira Oriole, Long-billed Thrasher, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, and White-tipped Dove.  Sometimes Tropical Parula and Northern Beardless Tyrannulet are found here as well. 

At the National Butterfly Center, we’ll enjoy large numbers of butterflies and other wildlife and learn about how this onion-farm-turned-Butterfly Sanctuary found itself in the middle of the dispute over constructing a border wall.  

Along the coastal plain, we’ll visit Laguna Atascosa NWR.  In this open landscape, we could find White-tailed Hawk, Harris’s Hawk, and Crested Caracara.  It is here that the rare Aplomado Falcon was reintroduced.  The birds are doing well, and with a little luck, we’ll see them as we head to the coast where numerous species of waterfowl overwinter.  

 We’ll also visit Santa Ana NWR to look for marsh birds such as Least Grebe, Mottled Duck, and Anhinga. The riparian woodlands here may host Gray Hawk and Clay-colored Thrush.  

No birding trip is complete without a visit to a water treatment facility!  The Edinburgh Wetlands World Birding Center has an impressive interpretive center, and the adjacent settling ponds is an excellent location to spot Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Green Kingfisher, and Little Grebe, as well as numerous heron and egrets.  

Heading West, we encounter the dry scrub where we should find Curve-billed Thrasher and Verdin. Famous birding spots like Salineno and Falcon State Park should give us opportunities for Bird Alliance of Oregon’s Oriole, Scaled Quail, and Pyrrhuloxia, while visiting the historic town of Roma, overlooking the Rio Grande River, will give us perspective on the meaning and impact our southern border has on these communities.

Conservation Impact

We proudly make a donation to The National Butterfly Center, home to the greatest volume and variety of wild, free-flying butterflies in the nation.

Join us to find out why the Rio Grande Valley is widely known as one of the top birding destinations!

Winter is the perfect time to travel to the Lower Rio Grande Valley, with its mild tropical weather and outstanding bird diversity. Join us as we explore the entirety of the lower valley in search of tropical specialties that can be found nowhere else in the country.



Distance: Multiple short walks of less than 1 mile.
Elevation changes: Minimal.
Trail: A variety of trail conditions, but mostly wide, flat, hard-packed trail.
Pacing: Slow.
Rest Stops: We will have multiple stops, including a lunch stop.
Sun Exposure: Full sun exposure for most of the day – weather and temperatures can vary this time of year,
Amenities (bathrooms and parking): Each stop will have a parking lot, and most will have bathrooms. An Oregon State Parks parking permit will be needed for at least one stop and can be purchased on-site.
Public transit: None.

Trip Details

  • Trip Leaders: Brodie Cass Talbott and Dan van den Broek
  • Dates: March 3-8, 2024
  • Fee: $1,995 member / $2,195 non-member
  • Single supplement: $300
  • Deposit: $975
  • Group size: Limited to 12 participants
  • Fee Includes: Fee is based on double occupancy and includes all lodging, all ground transportation, all meals except dinners, and all guide fees.
  • Fee Does Not Include: Airfare, dinners, or alcoholic beverage.


March 3
March 8
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Tara Lemezis