Springtime on the Texas coast is Texas at its best. Each evening flights of warblers, vireos, buntings, grosbeaks, and orioles launch from the southern rim of the Gulf of Mexico and strike out over the dark waters. Depending on the weather they encounter, they arrive over the Texas coast the following day. If conditions have been favorable, most may continue well inland before landing; but if rain or headwinds add stress to the flight, thousands may drop into the very first vegetation they reach, and birding the isolated coastal groves can be truly mind-boggling. But no matter the weather, some migrants drop into these groves daily, ensuring a good mix, if not staggering numbers, of birds.
Although the focus of this short tour will be passerine migration, that's not the only thing happening on the Texas coast in spring. The famous Bolivar tidal flats combine with flooded ricefields to produce a list of up to thirty-five species of shorebirds, including such beauties as breeding-plumaged Hudsonian Godwits and Buff-breasted Sandpipers. An accessible heron, egret, and Roseate Spoonbill rookery offers close views of the incredible breeding colors of these long-legged species. A short distance inland lies the Big Thicket, where the southern pine specialties--Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch, and Bachman's Sparrow--as well as a host of southern warblers including the brilliant Prothonotary, Yellow-throated, and Swainson's may be found.
And finally, the brackish and freshwater marshes that occupy much of the coastal plain are home to numerous interesting species, among them Fulvous Whistling-Duck, White and White-faced ibises, King and Clapper rails, Purple Gallinule, Least Bittern, and Nelson's and Seaside sparrows.
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If you would like a longer birding holiday, some departures of this tour may be combined with:
TEXAS'S BIG BEND & HILL COUNTRY