Birding has been the furthest thing on my mind for the past few weeks. Which for a birding blogger is no excuse at times even during the doldrums of Summer. There’s always someplace worth exploring even if you’re going after some of the common birds, which at times can be pretty boring.
However…There’s no delicate way to say something like this.
You see my Father-in-Law just passed from that dreaded disease Alzheimer’s. Birding wasn’t an option. And it was during these trying times my oldest son was preparing for his hike. But not just any hike mind you, a southbound thru hike of the Appalachian Trail starting in just 5 days.
So as you can see life has been rather busy around the house. So as our lives return to some normalcy I had to take care of one more issue before going back to work tomorrow. Register for the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival in Harlingen Texas.
Located in Harlingen Texas this has got to be one of best birding festivals in the country. Everything about this festival is top notch, from the workshops to the field trips. And don’t get me started about the birds. Nowhere else in the country will you be able to see so many amazing birds across such diverse habitat.
This whole process has been in the works for some time now. It’s only now that I’m finally writing about it. Once my wife gave me the OK to start the planning this trip I was glued to the internet looking for a place to stay and a flight. Knowing that this was going to be a pricey trip I really worked at keeping the cost down as much as possible. So my hotel and flight have been booked for a couple of months now, and today was the opening of registration for the festival.
So having asked for this day off over a month ago, I sat down in front of my computer and waited till 1:00 pm for registration to open. And now it’s over. I’m registered. All that’s left is book my car rental for when I get there.
As for the field trips I signed up for, this was probably the most difficult thing to do. I first asked Jon for as much input since he worked down in the Valley for 9 months and knows everything about Valley birding. And my thought was getting the most birds for my buck. We could be talking “Life Birds” by the dozens during my short stay in Texas. Being drunk on birds will probably be repeated before this trip is over.
The field trips I signed up for are:
- Wednesday Nov. 4th “Big Day Van” This trip is for spotting massive quantities.
- Thursday Nov. 5th ” Upper Rio Grande” A whole different habitat with all new bird species that live there. Plus in the evening vans will go out an search for area parrots.
- Friday Nov. 6th “King Ranch Norias” Grasslands, thornscrub, and oak woodlands, plus a chance to see a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl on one of the largest ranches in the U.S.
- Saturday Nov. 7th “Laguna Atascosa NWR” This vast refuge has recorded more bird species than any other refuge in the country.
- Sunday Nov. 8th “Bentsen Rio-Grande State Park” Headquarters of the World Birding Center this 760 acre park should fill in all those valley specialties.
If you’d like to view their web site click on the link above this years poster.