This 10 day / 9 night adventure is timed to blend the Gulf of Mexico spring migration phenomenon with excursions through the distinctive sub-tropical habitats of the Rio Grande Valley to observe unique wildlife, especially the avifauna that exists no where else in the U.S. See birds such as the stunning Green Jay, the plucky Altamira Oriole, the secretive Olive Sparrow and over 25 other specialties. This valley, with its wonderful variety of habitats, is the only place these birds can be seen in the U.S.
Take colorful resident subtropical and temperate species, add an amazing neo-tropical migration that moves through the Rio Grande Valley in April, a heaping helping of unusual mammals plus an incredible diversity of butterflies…..now pinch yourself ….You have the makings of a Texas sized wildlife adventure that will provide memories for a life time.
What’s included? Expedition fee includes all transportation, guide service, park fees, lodging and meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) from dinner on Day 1 to drop off by noon in Corpus Christi on Day 10. For those who book through Golden Gate Audubon Society’s (GGAS) Big Trips Committee $200 of the fee will be donated directly to GGAS.
What is not included? Participants will be responsible for their own air or ground transportation to and from Corpus Christi. Plan to arrive in time for a group dinner on Day 1. Departure from the hotel to the airport on Day 10 will be provided by the hotel or by Nature Trip (airport drop-off by noon). All meals and beverages are included with the exception of alcoholic beverages. Participants will be responsible for travel insurance (if desired), personal laundry and any other personal items not included on the “What’s included” list above.
Trip Packet: A complete packet of information for this tour including conditions for participation will be sent to each registrant on receipt of their booking. The information contained herein will give a sense of what to expect if you join this trip.
Lodging: Whenever practical we select lodging that is immediately adjacent to natural features. Otherwise we stay at highly rated standard hotels. All rooms will have en-suite bathrooms with hot water; most have laundry facilities and internet access.
Meals: Breakfasts will be provided throughout the tour by hotels and lodges and vary from basic continental style to more elaborate multi-option meals. Lunches and dinners will be taken at local restaurants with an emphasis on regional cuisines: Mexican, Tex-Mex, Seafood and Steakhouses. Some lunches will be picnic style.
Guide Service: Your guides for this trip, Eddie Bartley & Noreen Weeden, have been leading Nature Trip tours since 2004 in California & 2005 in Texas. Local Texas guides will also be employed during this expedition for areas where their local expertise is unique such as the King Ranch.
What to expect: The pace of the tour will be relaxed consisting of auto tour loops, stationary observation and leisurely hiking, generally on level terrain. Hikes may be up to three miles but typically shorter. There are hawk-watch towers at some preserves which require climbing the equivalent of several flights of stairs in order to enjoy the structural advantage of being above the tree tops. On most days we will begin our outings immediately following breakfast, generally about 7:00 AM and return to our lodging by about 5:00 PM to freshen up before dinner. During the heat of the day we may schedule a short siesta. Several dusk or evening outings will be offered (optional).
Weather & Climate: April in South Texas is generally very pleasant but, naturally, temperatures and weather vary a good bit from year to year. Severe weather is very unusual in April but thunderstorms may pop up quickly and dissipate just as fast. Temperatures typically vary from lows in the 50’s F to highs in the 80’s F and generally rise as one gets further from the coast. The Upper Valley can reach the 90’s F by mid-April.
Check out the images below that were captured on previous trips to this area:
(subject to slight changes)
This evening we would end up in a downtown Taipei hotel but first Stone and Richard had a special treat in mind. We headed to the north coast to the fishing village (a small city, really) of Jinshan noted for its Qing-era architecture. It was near noon when we arrived in the bustling village center…Continue Reading
This afternoon was spent traversing north to Wulai, a popular hot springs resort town and another great place for birds. Upon arrival we took a brief walk from our guest house and quickly added a number of good birds to our trip list: Plain Flowerpecker, Bronzed Drongo and very colorful Varied Tits. Other species present…Continue Reading
Crested Serpent Eagles (Spilornis cheela) are the most conspicuous of raptors seen on the island. Throughout the mountains from low to high we often heard and regularly saw this mostly dark broad-winged eagle catching a thermal or deeply flapping. Today we had time for a visit to the Xindian–Guanhsin Wetland area, one of the primary drinking…Continue Reading
Ah, the benefits of modern communications. On or about December 16, 2014 a critically endangered according the the International Union for the Conservation of Nature(IUCN), Siberian Crane showed up seemingly out of nowhere in a northern Taiwan wetland, the island’s first ever record of this species. Our guides (who had seen the juvenile bird numerous…Continue Reading
Early spring in the mountainous reaches of Taiwan where we spent much of our time on this trip, is still a bit too cool for many reptiles and butterflies. We were surprisingly lucky with mammals sightings: all three tree squirrels and wonderful looks at flying monkeys…err, one of three flying squirrel species on the…Continue Reading
Our very knowledgeable guides brought us much good fortune, at times extraordinarily so. We spent a fair amount of time waiting and wishing for a glimpse or longer of three endemic ground birds: The Taiwan Hill Partridge, Mikado and Swinhoe’s Pheasants to magically appear out of the forests. There are a few well known locations along…Continue Reading
March in Taiwan, as in our home state of California, includes a good number of lingering “winter birds” plus a few early migrants along with the colorful year-around residents. The guides were regularly receiving updates on their “smart” phones from friends about the latest sightings and rarities. In the prime birding areas we would run…Continue Reading
Taiwan’s rich cultural history began over 10,000 years ago! Since then many subsequent waves of people from Austronesia , China, Portugal, Japan,Holland, Spain, England, the Americas and other parts of the world have left their influence and their genes. Today Taiwan is one of the most modern and productive societies on earth. They have world class…Continue Reading
Island or “Insular” Biogeography is a theory and field of study that examines the phenomenon of species richness and diversity in isolated natural communities. The theory, conceived by ecologists Robert H. MacArthur and E.O. Wilson in the 1960’s, proposes that immigration and extinction determine the number of species in an island habitat and that surviving immigrant species…Continue Reading