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Two Four-Day Trips to South Texas to Search for Hidden Gems found only in the Deep South





Pre Trip - April 20 - 23 

Post Trip - April 29 - May 2

We are pleased to again offer not one but two four-day tours to the Rio Grande Valley, home to many specialty birds that can only be found in deep South Texas.  The past two years these trips produced over 200 species and found most of the target species, along with a few rare species. Our lodging for this trip is the Alamo Inn, a birder- centric lodge in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley. This lodge is a South Texas landmark hideaway for guests to enjoy beautiful sunsets, great birds and butterflies and the friendly TexMex culture where time moves slower. Your tour leader is David Sarkozi, a well-known Texas birder who started birding in high school after reading Ken Kaufman’s 1973 big year.  David has since become a fan of Big Days and Big Years.  He has served as president of the Texas Ornithological Society and worked on its executive board for 18 years.  He recently retired from the University of Houston where he worked for 35 years.

The cost of this trip includes!

  • Transportation from Corpus Christi 

  • Guidance from an Experienced Leader

  • Site entry fees

  • Lodging for three nights, with breakfast


Ticket price does not include lunches (except one on Day 3) or dinners. The cost per person is $925. There is a minimum of five participants for this trip and a maximum of eight to make this a very birder-friendly trip.


The tours will leave from the Botanical Gardens on the first day at 7:00 am!

Plan to arrive 15 minutes early for check-in and loading. Parking will be in the back parking area. The gates will be locked every night and patrolled by security.

Below is our expected itinerary and we’ll make every effort to get all these birds while remaining flexible to chase rarities that show up!


Also, if fallout conditions for neotropic migrants are good we will head directly to South Padre Island.


Estero Llano Grande
State Park

Day One

We’ll leave the Botanical Gardens at 7:00 am. You may leave your vehicle there as the gates will be locked every night.  Pack as light as you can to make the ride more comfortable.  From Corpus Christi we head to Brushline Road to search for brush country species like Bullock’s Oriole, Common Ground-Dove, Greater Roadrunner, White-tailed Hawk, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Verdin, and Pyrrhuloxia.  With some luck we may have a chance at a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl.

The next stop will be Estero Llano Grande State Park to look for Hooded Oriole, Green Jay, Common Pauraque, and Buff-bellied Hummingbird.  Then we’ll check into our rooms and rest up a bit before checking out roosting areas for Green Parakeets.  Finally, after a long day, dinner.

Bentsen State Park


Day Three

We’ll head “up valley” early and spend the morning at Salineno on the Rio Grande looking for Morelet’s Seedeater, Audubon’s Oriole, Altamira Oriole, Muscovy Duck, and Red-billed Pigeon.  After this stop we’ll check the Starr County Park for Clay-colored Sparrow, Red-billed Pigeon, and Black-tailed Gnatcatcher.  After a picnic lunch (included) in Falcon State Park we’ll search for Vermillion Flycatcher, Ash-throated, Flycatcher, Scaled Quail, Chihuahuan Raven, and Black-throated Sparrow.

Day Two

Starting close to home, to give people some rest after a long travel day, we will head to Bentsen State Park.  Here our target birds are Green Jay, Plain Chachalaca, Altamira Oriole, Clay-colored Thrush, Great Kiskadee, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Gray Hawk, Ringed and Green Kingfisher, and Buff-bellied Hummingbird.  After one state park what could be better than another and we’ll visit Estero Llano Grande again and look for Green Kingfisher, Least Grebe, Inca Dove, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, and Buff-bellied Hummingbird.


After lunch we’ll check out Anzalduas County Park, where you can look NORTH into Mexico!  We’ll target Black Phoebe and Gray Hawk before calling it a day and rest up for dinner.


Day Four

On our last day we will head out early to search for Botteri’s Sparrow and Aplomado Falcon.  Then head for Padre Island to look for migrants plus shorebirds, gulls, and terns.  After a late lunch we will head back to Corpus Christi in time for a short rest before the end of tour dinner.

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