Here are a few examples of trips that I have run in the past to give an idea of some of what is possible. Any of these trips can be modified to fit your needs or I can come up with something completely different and new just for you.
Beach to Pines
This is a three day trip giving a good overview of the upper Texas Coast with a chance at some of the Pineywoods specialties. The best time to do this rout is in the spring or summer but it can also be very productive in the fall and winter by spending the third day on the prairie making it a beach to prairie trip. During spring or fall migration you will have good chances at catching some of the birds that are just passing through such as Cerulean, Blackburnian, Golden-winged Warblers, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baird’s, White-rumped and Upland Sandpipers, Hudsonian Godwit and huge kettles of Broad-winged Hawks just to name a few. In addition to these migrants, during spring and summer visits we will also be on the look out for birds like Red-headed, Pileated and Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Painted Bunting, Prothonotary, Swainson’s and Kentucky Warblers, King Rail, Yellow-billed Cuckoo and maybe even Wood Storks. Winter visits usually yield a good variety of sparrows such as Nelson’s, Harris’s, Swamp, Lincoln’s, LeConte’s, Grasshopper, Fox, Song and more. Other winter specialties include Sandhill Crane, various ducks and large numbers of raptors. At any time of year this trip has a good chance of producing birds like Seaside Sparrow, Roseate Spoonbills, Little Blue, Tricolored and Yellow-crowned Night-Herons, Clapper Rail, Pine Warbler and much more.
Spring Coast, Valley and Hills Circuit
In this week long trip we start out in Houston hitting some of the prime migrant traps along the coast searching for migrant warblers, tanagers, grosbeaks, buntings, shorebirds, etc. We can make an optional stop to look for the Red-cockaded Woodpecker and other Pineywoods specialties before heading south along the coast hitting more migrant traps and eventually arriving in the Rio Grande Valley. We will then work our way across the valley in search of specialties such as Great Kiskadee, Green Jay, Audubon’s, Altamira and Hooded Orioles, Plain Chachalaca, Olive Sparrow, Green and Ringed Kingfisher and more. Once we have wrapped things up in the valley we will head north again into the Texas hill-country in search of the Black-capped Vireo and Golden-cheeked Warbler.
Winter out West
(Big Bend, El Paso and Bosque Del Apache)
Winter is a great time to visit west Texas and southern New Mexico. This 8 day trip can either start from Houston or San Antonio and can either end back where it started or in Albuquerque, NM. If the trip starts from Houston the first day will include birding around the Houston area looking for birds such as Red-bellied Woodpecker, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks as well as other waterfowl, sparrows, raptors and winter residents. From there we will spend a day travelling and birding our way west spending the night in the Big Bend area. The next two days will be spent birding the national park in search of birds such as Crissal Thrasher, Black-throated Sparrow, Green-tailed Towhee, Cactus, Rock and Canyon Wren, Acorn Woodpecker, Mexican Jay, Golden Eagle, Scaled Quail, Western Screech-Owl, Vermilion Flycatcher, Greater Roadrunner and more. Once we have had a taste of Big Bend we will head further west to the El Paso area where we will search for Burrowing Owl, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Verdin and others. From there we will spend our remaining time exploring the area along the Rio Grande River in New Mexico including the famous Bosque Del Apache NWR. There is also an option to do a day trip up to look for rosy finches near Albuquerque. In New Mexico we hope to find a wide variety of birds that we might have missed in Texas including Phainopepla, Ferruginous Hawk, Juniper Titmouse, Mountain Chickadee, Pyrrhuloxia, various waterfowl, Sandhill Cranes, Sage, Brewer’s and White-crowned Sparrows, Sage Thrasher, Gambel’s Quail and more.
Sparrows, Whooping Cranes and Green Jays
(Winter on the Texas Coast)
This six day trip offers an opportunity to get a taste of what the Texas coast has to offer during the winter time. We start in the Houston area searching for birds such as Swamp, Lincoln’s, Song, White-crowned, White-throated, Harris’s, Vesper, Fox and Savannah Sparrows as well as various species of duck, Sandhill Cranes, Snow Geese and more. From there we move south to the Corpus Christi area to search for the endangered Whooping Crane along with plenty of ducks and shorebirds. From there we keep heading south to the Rio Grande Valley in hopes of finding colorful birds like Green Jay, Altamira, Audubon’s and Hooded Orioles, Great Kiskadee, Couch’s Kingbird, Ringed and Green Kingfisher, Muscovy Duck, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Least Grebe, Olive Sparrow, Green-tailed Towhee, Pyrrhuloxia and more. This is also a great time of year to encounter rarities visiting the valley from Mexico such as Rose-throated Becard, Tropical Parula, Blue Bunting, Crimson-collared Grosbeak, etc.
The hunt for the Colima Warbler
This week long spring/summer trip is designed to give you a chance to look for some of most sought-after birds in the US. The trip can start in either Houston or San Antonio and starts with a search for Painted Bunting, Black-capped Vireo and Golden-cheeked Warblers among others. From there we enter Big Bend country and start exploring the park for birds like Long-billed, Curve-billed and Crissal Thrashers, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Lucifer and Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Black-headed and Blue Grosbeaks, Varied Bunting, Lucy’s Warbler, Elf and Western Screech-Owls, Vermilion Flycatcher as well as Hutton’s Vireo and the Colima Warbler. We will also have a chance to look for Western and Clark’s Grebes, Scaled Quail, Black and Say’s Phoebe all while enjoying the beautiful scenery of west Texas.
These are just some ideas to get your juices flowing. Any time of year is good for birding in Texas and whatever amount of time you have to spend I am sure I can put together a stimulating birding trip just for you; all you have to do is ask.