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North America

Altamira Oriole

For a first birdwatching trip to the USA it would be difficult to beat Texas in spring. 

North America

Texas, the largest of the  United States, straddles both the east and west with a substantial area south of the Mexican border. Moist woodlands in the east gradually give way to more arid stony desert in the west, bordered by the magnificent Rio Grande. In addition to a fabulous array of resident species including such specialities as Greater Roadrunner and Green Jay, April sees the massed arrival of travellers from the South including multitudes of warblers, hummingbirds, flycatchers, orioles and raptors to name a few. This two week tour takes a leisurely look at some of the most exciting parts of Texas, following the Gulf coast right down to Mexico, then up to the beautiful Edwards Plateau, home of birds and millions of bats.

Contact The Ultimate Travel Company 0207 386 4682 to make a reservation.
Next date to be announced
15 Days (14 nights)

Economy class flights, accommodation with private facilities, full board (breakfast, lunch, dinner), transport by private minibuses, tips and services of Wild Insights leaders.

Travel insurance and items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry and phone calls.

Our tour takes in some of the finest birdwatching areas of Texas, following the Gulf Coast right down to the Rio Grande Valley, then up to the hill country of Edwards Plateau and finally back to Galveston Island.


Day 1. Depart Heathrow a.m. Arrive Houston p.m. Our first journey is relatively short, down to our first overnight stop near Brazos Bend where we can check in and relax. Overnight at Angleton.

Day 2. Our first full day will be at Brazos Bend State Park which is a perfect introduction to Texas with freshwater ponds, marshes and the Brazos River plus live-oak woodland draped with Spanish Moss. This is one of the best inland sites for a wide variety of waterbirds including breeding Anhinghas, White Ibises, Roseate Spoonbills and Purple Gallinules. The woods hold Barred Owls and the stunning Pileated Woodpecker and we will look out for the resplendent Prothonotary Warber along alligator-occupied dykes. Overnight at Angleton.

Days 3–5.Today we head along the coast as far as our next base, Fulton where we will explore the bay - an ideal spot for Common Loon, Eared Grebe, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Black Skimmer and waders galore including Long-billed Curlew. This is also a major migration site with multitudes of warblers and raptors arriving in the spring. In Aransas Bay the entire world population of Whooping Cranes spends the winter prior to their spring migration and if we are lucky there may be some remaining. During our stay we will be taking a boat trip into Aransas Bay which is a great way of seeing plenty of birds. On other days we will explore some of the best birding sites in the area including Goose Island State Park and South Padre Island. Overnights at Fulton.

Days 6–8. We then head further south, right down to the Rio Grande bordering Mexico, where our base at Mission is perfect for exploring Laguna Atascosa NWR, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Santa Anna and Falcon State Park. This is another fabulous area for a huge mix of residents and migrants alike including such specialities as Green Jay, Great Kiskadee, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Green Kingfisher, Northern Beardless Tyrranulet, and Greater Roadrunner. Massed raptor migration travels over this area including thoiusands of Broad-winged Hawks and Mississipi Kites.  It is also our best chance for Harris’s Hawk, Gray Hawk and Hook-billed Kite. Overnights at Mission.

Days 9-11. From the Rio Grande our journey now takes us to the rolling hills of Edwards Plateau which is our base for the next four nights, staying in the delightful comfortable cabins at Neales Lodge. En route we hope to encounter dry country birds such as Cactus Wren, Say’s Phoebe and Pyrrhuloxia and at Edwards Plateau itself we will be looking out for specialities of the area, Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo, Verdin and Cave Swallow. It is also an excellent spot for Black-chinned Hummingbirds which feed at “nectar hoppers”. One of the great local spectacles is the emergence, at dusk, of 17 million Free-tailed Bats from caves near Concan which are promptly hunted by a variety of raptors including Cooper’s, Sharp-shinned and Red-tailed Hawks. This  such a beautiful and relaxing place we never want to leave. Overnights at Neale’s Lodge, Concan.

Days 13–14. Today we head east again, our destination on Galveston Island being ideal for three days birdwatching around High Island, Anhuac NWR, Bolivar Flats and of course Galveston Island itself. These are all fabulous migration spots and the right weather conditions can produce spectacular “falls” of warblers, tanagers, flycatchers and orioles. This, combined with almost unrivalled waterfowl and wader watching, makes a fitting climax to this exciting trip. Overnights at Galveston.

Day 15. Today we will take a relaxed journey to Houston arriving in good time at the airport for our international flight.  Depart Houston p.m.

Day 16. Arrive Heathrow a.m. (Sunday)

Wild Insights Overseas Tours are part of a wider programme of WildWings birdwatching and wildlife holidays worldwide and their terms and conditions will apply. These can be found in the 2005 WildWings brochure, including booking procedures. WildWings is fully licenced and bonded with ABTA and IATA and all our Overseas Tours are fully protected by their Civil Aviation Authority ATOL license, number 5429.

Louisa Thompson 0207 3864682