We just got back from a trip to S Texas and covered several wildlife preserves, and state parks near the Rio Grande from McAllen, Tx to S Padre Island. First we stayed in Alamo, Tx at Casa Santa Ana, a Bed and Breakfast right next to the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge. They feed the local birds and attract lots of Kiskadees, Green Jays, Altimira Orioles, Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, N Cardinals and others.
We continued to Estero Llano Grande State Park to search for the Green Kingfisher and Ringed Kingfisher with no luck. This is a very good park with lots of variety. We did see the Common Pauraque, a strange bird in the Nighthawk family which looks like a piece of wood or fallen leaves and is nearly impossible to see if it doesn’t move.
Next we traveled to the S Padre Island area and went to Laguna Atacosa National Wildlife Refuge which has lots of raptors including Cara Caras, White-tailed Hawks, Aplomado Falcons, Ospreys, Harris Hawks, and other S Texas specialties. The preserve is huge and has tropical thorn scrub, grassy plains, and coastal tidal flats. This part of Texas is as far south as S Florida and is the northern range of many Mexican and Central American species which are found no where else in the U.S.
The other area that we visited was on S Padre Island at the S Padre Island Birding Center next to the Convention Center, where there are a series of boardwalks over the salt water marsh. This is an excellent place to see Roseate Spoonbills, Tri-colored Herons, White Ibis, American Bitterns, Reddish Egrets, many Ducks and shorebirds.