Spring migration in the lower Rio Grande Valley is unlike anything else in the United States, at least in my humble opinion! We’ve been down here twice now during migration and both times it has been an amazing experience.

This year we intentionally arrived in time to see the whole migration event, which typically occurs from mid-April through mid-May. This year the bulk of migration seemed to happen the last two weeks of April. We even got to witness our first fallout on South Padre Island! It was just an amazing time and we will be back! I’d like to plan a fall migration trip here as well as there is a yearly birding festival that I would to attend. We’ll make that happen soon!

There are a LOT of great places to bird in the lower Rio Grande Valley. My personal favorites are South Padre Island, Estero Llano Grande State Park, Resaca de la Palma and Santa Anna National Wildlife Refuge. We didn’t make it over to Santa Anna this particular trip, but we visited the others often. The convention center on SPI is my absolute favorite place to be during migration. It’s free, they do a lovely job of feeding the migrants, and there are multiple habitats so you get to see a good variety of birds. There is also the Birding Center next door which we always make a point to visit, but since it costs, we focus on the convention center (you see the same birds).

I’ve seen 262 birds in Texas thus far this year! On the island, during migration, I was averaging around 60 birds a day. Others got more so I’m sure that number could have been higher, but I also try to get good photos which slows me down. I’d literally spend the whole day there though! I got some good lifers this year which include:

  • Blue Bunting
  • Flame-colored Tanager
  • Tamaulipas Crow
  • Yellow-green Vireo

For just one example of a checklist I entered on eBird during migration, look here. The following images are obviously not all that I took during our time in South Texas, but these are a good highlight to what I saw. Enjoy!

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