Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival Was Great!

Great Kiskadee digiscoped at Anzalduas in the Rio Grande Valley TX 2011-11-13 photo: Greg Miller

What a terrific trip!  Too bad the Internet at the Super8 was not working in my room.  Well.  I might not have had time to update here anyway.  I was really busy with too much fun stuff!  I was on field trips every day:

Wednesday – Big Day Vans

Thursday – Brownsville West (University of Texas at Brownsville and Resaca de la Palma)

Friday – Santa Ana NWR

Saturday – Weslaco (Estero Llano Grande, Frontera, and Valley Nature Center)

Sunday – Chase Vans (Anzalduas)

We all got to see many of the Rio Grande Valley specialties.  I also met so many wonderful people and the programs were great, too!  It was a rich experience and a lot of fun.

It was a very different feel to the RGV this year as I saw a few odd, out-of-place birds including Green-tailed Towhee, Pine Siskin, American Robin, Hermit Thrush, and Eastern Bluebird.

This is a really short post.  I’m getting ready to go to work today, then speak at Canton Audubon Society this evening, and leave very early tomorrow morning to catch the first flight out to New Mexico for the Festival of the Cranes (where I’ll be the rest of the week).

Disneyland for Birders!

Not only are the birds beautiful and exotic, but did I mention the habitat?  Oh, yeah.  Welcome to a subtropical environment!  Ok.  It is not a cloud forest.  But…it is pretty phenomenal for birding in the U.S.  What am I talking about?  Ahh.  The Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  Just look this.

Santa Ana NWR

Birders looking for South Texas gems (birds).  This group is looking at a very camouflaged and cryptic looking Pauraque sitting well hidden among the leaves in the ground cover.  Up at the bend Great Kiskadees are loudly calling.  Olive Sparrows can be heard frequently in the underbrush, but are often more difficult to see.  The low-pitched cooing of White-tipped Doves can be heard along the trail.  Green Jays can be heard making a variety of calls including a characteristic growling like noise.  And as you walk along the trails sometimes everything gets overridden by the raucous sound of a flock of Plain Chachalacas.  A Buff-bellied Hummingbird buzzes past your head.  Exotic looking butterflies adorn an assortment of wildflowers.  Spanish moss dangles from the limbs of trees.  You’re interrupted again with a pair of Golden-fronted Woodpeckers.  This is an amazing place!!  So much for your first 10 minutes!  What will the rest of the day hold?  Who knows?  In a place like this it makes you feel like you are in some wonderful aviary.

But don’t stop there.  There are going to be tons of birders from all over converging on South Texas.  The birding will be great, but the people and programs and festivities?  Ahh.  It will tantalize all your senses.  Enjoyment coming from many different sources.  This is a great place to enjoy the birds.  It’s also a great place to meet people who share your passion for birding.  Yes, I will be at the Rio Grande Birding Valley Birding Festival next week, November 9-13.  I hope to see a lot of great birds.  And I really hope I get to meet a whole bunch of you there!

Check out all the great tours, events, and programs here at!

If you live here in northeastern Ohio you should come on out to the Buckeye Book Fair in Wooster, Ohio on Saturday, November 5.  I will also be speaking at the Holmes County Library on Monday night, November 7.  Check out the “Events” tab on my website.

It’s bedtime for me.  I think I’ll coast into a peaceful oblivion while dreaming about Green Jays, Altamira Orioles, Roseatte Spoonbills, Hook-billed Kites, Harris’s Hawks, and zzzzzzzzzz…