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November 30 - December 8

Winter Wildlife: Whooping Cranes, Butterflies, & Specialties of South Texas

Beat the winter blues with an epic adventure to the South Texas Coast!

The Rio Grande Valley in December offers Whooping Crane encounters and a unique combination of wintering shorebirds and warblers and year-round highlights like the Green Jay and Plain Chachalaca. We’ll be on the look out for a few possible rarities like Roadside Hawk, Golden-crowned Warbler, and Crimson-collared Grosbeak, that stop over in this season, and we’ll get to know the abundance of butterflies that visit the Valley as well. If you haven’t done any butterflying, it’s time to start! This trip will be a lovely escape from the start of Oregon’s rainy season.

Our adventure begins with a scenic drive to Goose Island State Park, where the elusive Whooping Crane awaits amidst a tapestry of shorebirds, waterfowl, and wading birds. We’ll marvel at the “Big Tree”, a former National Champion Live Oak, estimated to be over 1,000 years old, as we immerse ourselves in the park’s vibrant ecosystem.

We’ll then transition to Charlie’s Pasture or the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center, where we will seek out the enchanting melodies of the Sedge Wren and the possibility of encountering the elegant American Flamingos. Our journey then leads us southward to the Rio Grande Valley, where we’ll spend the next six days navigating through a mosaic of habitats.

Venturing into the desert expanse of the upper Rio Grande on Day 3, we traverse Salineno, Falcon State Park, and Zapata in pursuit of Audubon’s Oriole, Ringed Kingfisher, and Morrelet’s Seedeater. Days 4 to 7 beckon us to explore the valley’s hidden gems, from the Olive Sparrow’s melodious call to the vibrant hues of the Altamira Oriole. We will visit the National Butterfly Center (NBC) at least twice for a few hours each on this adventure. This place is incredibly unique and you will love it! The center planted many host plants for the butterfly species we want to see and they are diligently tended to. Species include Mexican Bluewing, Tropical Leafwing, Blue Metalmark, Dusky-blue Groundstreak, Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak, Sickle-winged Skipper and Red-bordered Pixie. American Snout, Pipevine Swallowtail, Monarch and Soldier should be easy to find. The diversity is amazing and we will look at everything, including the little skippers, blues, sulphurs and whites.

Our journey culminates with a final morning of birding to look for rarities, where we bid farewell to the enchanting vistas and remarkable creatures before departing for San Antonio, cherishing memories of an unforgettable expedition into the heart of South Texas.

We can expect up to 170+ bird species on this trip because the timing is just right! And for birding, there’s no better place to be in December. The birding alone will fulfill your appetite and the incredible array of butterflies is just a bonus! The mix of birds to butterflies will be about 75-80% birds and 20-25% butterflies. We will also look at plants, other bugs, lizards and mammals.  Please join us for this incredible adventure!

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.


Beat the winter blues!

The Rio Grande Valley in December offers Whooping Crane encounters and a unique combination of wintering shorebirds and warblers and year-round highlights like the Green Jay and Plain Chachalaca. We’ll be on the look out for a few possible rarities like Roadside Hawk, Golden-crowned Warbler, and Crimson-collared Grosbeak, that stop over in this season, and we’ll get to know the abundance of butterflies that visit the Valley as well. If you haven't done any butterflying, it’s time to start! This trip will be a lovely escape from the start of Oregon’s rainy season. 170+ birds species are possible!

Register!

Trip Details

  • Trip Leaders: Stefan Schlick and Randy Hill
    Fee: $2,500 members / $3,000 non-members
  • Single Supplement: $550
  • Includes: Ground transportation, lodging based on double-occupancy, entrance fees, expert guiding, breakfast and lunch
  • Excludes: Airfare, dinners, single supplement rooming, and alcoholic drinks
  • Maximum number of participants is 10.

Participant reviews from previous ecotours with Stefan:

  • Stefan has an incredible ear for birds and tries to help everyone get good looks at every bird.
  • Absolutely yes. The group size seemed ideal; the guides were great, the pace was fine, and the guides’ sensitivity to inclusiveness was excellent.
  • His knowledge and passion led us to the number of species that we saw, while his respect for the birds, their habitat, and their need for territory showed his sensitivity.
  • Stefan has excellent site and birding knowledge and is very patient, always kept his cool, professional manner. He kept us very well informed about what was coming up for travel, bird sites, restroom breaks. Good advice on expected morning temperatures and how long we would be in the field so everyone stayed comfortable.

Details

Start:
November 30
End:
December 8
Event Categories:
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Organizer

Tara Lemezis
Phone:
971-222-6131
Email:
tlemezis@birdallianceoregon.org