Southern Texas- January 2017

I visited southern Texas, the Rio Grande Valley area, from Sunday, January 8 through Friday, January 13th.  This visit was just as enjoyable as my last visit in February two years ago even though quite different in birds, butterflies and other wildlife observed.  The weather was very mild, at least to me, with temperatures usually in the upper 60’s at night and in the low 80’s during the day.  The other major difference from a weather perspective, from my earlier visit, was the very consistent winds which usually started in the 5-10 mph range in the early morning and then by mid-morning were quickly reaching 15-25 mph, with higher gust as the day progressed.

Locations I visited included Estero Llano Grande State Park, Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park, Santa Ana NWR, Sabal Palm Sanctuary, Falcon State Park, the Salineno feeding station and river corridor, north-western Hidalgo County, South Padre Island, Bahia Grande, Rasaca de la Palma State Park and the old Port Isabel Road.  If anyone has limited birding time in this area of Texas my personal preference for diversity, possible exciting species, enjoyable birders and nature enthusiast is Estero Grande State Park.

While birding and bird photography were my principal foci it was easy to get distracted with the butterflies present, a few lingering species of odes and a new herp species for me, that being Eastern Indigo Snake. I observed a total of 165 bird species for the trip which was hindered by the wind and an additional day stay in the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport due to both weather and airline scheduling conflicts.  I think with cooperative weather and the additional day at least 175+ bird species would have been attainable within the same footprint traveled.