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Texas Tour with Ben Lucking

April 16 - April 24

Each April, a significant proportion of North America’s migratory birds descend on Texas in what is among the world’s greatest migratory spectacles. The Gulf Coast’s famed migration hotspots such as High Island and Sabine Woods see mass afternoon arrivals of birds that left the Yucatan the evening prior. Hooded, Kentucky, and Swainson’s warblers fill dark understories while flocks of Indigo Buntings and Bobolink find themselves in grassy verges and saltmarsh. Adjacent mudflats and beaches are alive with vast numbers of American Avocets, peeps, and plovers. Rice fields just inland hold plentiful Black-necked Stilts, White-faced Ibis, dowitchers, and the odd Hudsonian Godwit.

In addition to the migratory riches of the Gulf Coast, Texas is home to a rich diversity of landscapes. Heading West of Houston, prairies filled with Scissor-tailed Flycatchers make way to Texas Hill Country. This region is something of a crossroads in avian diversity. Eastern migrants such as Black-and-White Warbler, Yellow-throated Vireo, and Least Flycatcher meet dry Southwestern species such as Cactus Wren, Scott’s Oriole, Scaled Quail, and Greater Roadrunner; Southern species such as Green Jay, Ringed Kingfisher, Tropical Parula, and Morelet’s Seedeater; and a whole cast of regional specialties such as Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo, and Black-crested Titmouse. Heading further West, the landscape grows increasingly dry, culminating in the vast expanses of the Chihuahuan Desert. Rising up from this desolate landscape are Big Bend National Park’s Chisos Mountains. The wetter, vegetated valleys high among these peaks are home to one of the ABA area’s rarest breeding birds, the Colima Warbler.

Texas’s diversity of habitats and location at the heart of the Central Flyway give it the greatest avian diversity of anywhere in the ABA area. The current ABA area record of 294 species seen or heard in a day, set by a Cornell team in 2013, was set using a route from Texas Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. This tour aims to be a relaxed pace, extended version of that record day’s incredible route. We’ll begin on the Gulf Coast, before making our way West across Hill Country and the Edwards Plateau to Big Bend’s Chisos Mountains. We will fly in and out of Houston, and the tour will include a one way flight from West Texas to Houston at the end of the tour.

Maximum of 3 participants with 1 leader, or 6 with 2 leaders.

Download/view this PDF for detailed information, including pricing, a detailed itinerary, and contact information.

Details

Start:
April 16
End:
April 24