View Full Version : Birding in Texas

sandra calderbank
09-02-2013, 11:38 AM
I'm looking for recommendations for birding in Texas, preferably not from a boat ( seasick). I am looking for locations and best time of the year.
thank you

Jeff Parker
09-16-2013, 09:07 AM
Oh boy, that's a big subject! What type of birds are you interested in? There is spring migration, fall migration, whooping cranes, south Texas specialties, summer breeding birds, prairie chickens, etc.

sandra calderbank
09-16-2013, 04:26 PM
Thank you for your reply , I like all birds:c3:
i suppose I would most like to see whooping cranes, south Texas specialities and fall migration, It depends on the distance from Western NC and hopefully a location to see many varieties.. I have never gone birding in Texas.

Jeff Parker
09-16-2013, 06:05 PM
Ok here goes. For Whooping cranes you really will have the best luck on a boat. Sometimes you can see them in various locations around the refuge, but it's chancy and they are likely to be a tiny white speck. I get seasick also, but I lead a two day boat based photo tour for whooping cranes in January. The boat is small, but the water is pretty protected and not very rough. When we are photographing the captain pulls the boat onto the bank so the boat is not moving. Best time for whooping cranes is Dec. to March.

Jeff Parker
09-16-2013, 06:11 PM
Fall migration is underway right now. Ruby-throated hummingbirds (I have about 25 at my house) and Broad-winged hawks are moving through in large numbers, mostly along the middle and lower coast. The resident south Texas specialties are obviously here year round. In my opinion the best time is late spring and early summer as the summer breeding birds will be here then as well. If your goal is photography, I highly recommend going to one of the photo ranches. You will get more quality images in one day than you will in months of going to the refuges. If you just want to go birding the refuges are great. (Shameless plug, I also have a south Texas tour in the spring) All of Texas is a long way from western NC:S3: Although the far west is another days drive from the Gulf coast.

sandra calderbank
09-16-2013, 07:23 PM
Thanks, my goal is photography and I think a ranch sounds just perfect (suggestions?) I'm ok with plugs no shame involved:wave:

Jeff Parker
09-16-2013, 07:36 PM
In south Texas Santa Clara is my favorite. Dos Venadas is very good also, but only accessible to groups. I have not been there recently, but I'm hearing good things about Laguna Seca Ranch. The Martin Refuge is good. In the middle coast the River Ranch is working hard and will have Green Jays, Kiskadees and birds of the middle coast. In the Hill Country west of Austin is Block Creek. They don't have the special south Texas birds, but they do have an excellent set-up. I'm probably forgetting somebody, but those are the photo ranches that come to mind right off.

sandra calderbank
09-16-2013, 07:46 PM
You are a wealth of information and I am very grateful!
Your images are spectacular.
thank you so much

Doug West
09-16-2013, 11:35 PM
Just to add a few more ranches...for raptors I visited the Weaver Ranch.
Another great ranch is the famous Cozad Ranch.

Another vote for the Martin Refuge. The hosts were great. They also have
another ranch called the Javelina.

I stayed in Edinburg, Texas. All the ranches I went to were fairly close
by (Weaver, Cozad, Martin and Javelina).

If you rent a car, it should probably be a suv. The reason is that some of
the places, the roads you take inside the ranches, the growth can be pretty

I flew in/out of McAllen airport.


sandra calderbank
09-18-2013, 08:50 AM
Thank you for all the great information, I'm researching ranches! How would late February or early March be for bird photography in the McAllen area?

Jeff Parker
09-18-2013, 10:54 AM
The resident birds will be there and possibly some early migrants. The weather should be pleasant. How much action the blind will get depends on the weather. If it's not very hot and they get some rain then the activity will be slower. You will still have birds just not as many. The Harris' hawks and crested caracara are good no matter what the weather.

The hotter and drier it is, the more activity you are able to photograph.

Tammy Wolfe
11-01-2013, 07:23 PM

I see this thread is a couple of months old. I'm not sure if you already made your plans. If you are available in late April, I organized a shoot for three of the ranches that were mentioned in this post. We have an opening because one person had to cancel. http://www.birdphotographers.net/forums/showthread.php/114973-South-Texas-ranch-photo-shoot-in-April

Let me know if you are interested.