Rio Grande Valley Recreation
Adolph Thomae County Park
Comprising the park are lighted fishing piers, picnic areas, nature trail, observation tower and playground. Contact Information: 956-748-2044. Hours: Adolph Thomae County Park is open seven days/week at 6 a.m. Admission: $4/car. Directions: From US 77 in Harlingen, exit Loop 499 (Ed Carey Dr.) and travel N on Ed Carey Dr. 2.4 miles to FM 106. Turn E on FM 106, go 10.5 miles thru the city of Rio Honodo to FM 2925. Turn N on FM 2925, go 14.6 miles to park. Bird Species: Altamira Orioe, Green Jay, Osprey, Skimmer, Tri-colored, Willet, Black-crested Titmouse, Great Kiskadee, Harris’ Hawk, Least Grebe, Long-billed Thrasher, Common Pauraque, Reddish Egret, Ringed Kingfisher.
Anacua Unit (LPWMA)
The area is covered in native habitat. No water or facilities. Directions: 10 miles SW of Harlingen. Bird Species: Great Egret, White-tipped, Common Ground, Inca and White-winged Dove, Green Jay, Olive Sparrow, Long-billed Thrasher.
Anzalduas County Park
On-site features include restrooms, a picnic area, a boat ramp and fishing pier. The park is covered in native plants such as mesquite, huisache, ebony, wild olive, cactus and native grasses. Check out the S side of the levee where the park is developed. Contact Information: 956-585-5311. Hours: The gate is open 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. during daylight savings. The office is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: $4/car on weekends; there is no charge Mon-Fri. Directions: From US 83, W of McAllen, take FM 494 S thru Granjeno. Go past the cemetery and turn S at park sign. Bird Species: Gray Hawk, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet (spring), Tropical Parula, Greater Pewee (spring), Ringed and Green Kingfishers, Brown-crested Flycatcher (summer), Altamira Oriole. Butterfly Species: Great Southern White, Giant White, Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak, Dusky-blue Groundstreak, Texan Crescent, Vesta Crescent, Tropical Buckeye, White Peacock, Mexican Bluewing, Red Rim, Tropical Leafwing, Long-tailed Skipper, Mazans Scallopwing, False Duskywing, Julia’s Skipper, Eufala Skipper.
Arroyo Colorado Unit (LPWMA) “Wildlife Restoration”
Included are over 700 acres of native brush on the arroyo. There are several roads that can be driven in the area. No facilities. Contact Information: 956-585-1107. Directions: 17 miles NE of Harlingen. Bird Species: Cardinal, Ground, Mourning and White-winged Dovers, Long-Billed Thrasher, Green Kingfisher, Green Jay, Forster’s Tern, Great Kiskadee.
Bill Schupp Par
Park features include restrooms (wheelchair accessible), paved parking, walking trails, a playground and a picnic area. Directions: From US 281 in Pharr, exit W on Nolana. Go to 10th St. in McAllen, turn N. Travel to the third street, Zinnia Ave., and turn W. Proceed to the park. Bird Species: Golden-fronted and Ladder-backed Woodpecker, many other valley specialties.
Boca Chica Tract
This tract includes 22 miles of a variety of habitats such as thorn scrubs, forest edge, wetlands, coastal prairie, bay shore tidal flats and sandy beach. No facilities. Do not enter thru gated areas, even if gate is open. Contact Information: 956-784-7500. Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset. Directions: From US 77 in Brownsville, exit TX 48 (Boca Chica). Go E on TX 48 to TX 4 and clear trip odometer. Proceed E on TX 4 11.5 miles to the entrance of the tract, which is designated by cement walls and the Battle of Palmito Rancho Historical Marker. Continue on 12.9 miles. At this point you can take either of the fishing access roads to the N or S, or continue E on TX 4 and look for the public information map located on your R at 17.8 miles. To the S is another fishing access road or continue E on TX 4 to the Gulf of Mexico. Bird Species: Magnificent Frigatebird (summer), Roseate Spoonbill, Mottled Duck, Peregrine Falcon, Groove-billed Ani, Couch’s Kingbird, Piping Plover, Botteri’s Sparrow, Reddish Egret.
Boys and Girls Club of Alamo
This park includes a trail thru thicket with benches. Paved parking is available. Directions: Take US 83 in Alamo, exit at FM 907. Go S on FM 907 to the first street, Duranta Ave., turn W. Contact Information: The Club is located on the NW corner of 13th St. & Duranta Ave. (at 501 N. 13th St.) Bird Species: Chachalaca, Long-billed Thrasher, White-tipped Dove, House Wren, Great Kiskadee, Green Jay, Altamira, Audobon’s Orioles.
Brownsville Sanitary Landfill
No facilities. Hours: The Brownsville Sanitary Landfill is open 7 a.m.-3:45 p.m.; closed Sundays and holidays. Directions: From US 77 in Brownsville, exit FM 802 (Ruben Torres Blvd.). Travel E seven miles, thru the intersection at FM 511, to the landfill. Pull up on the L side of the office. Show binoculars to landfill staff and they will let you drive in. Bird Species: Aplomado Falcon (banded and released), Chihuahuan Raven, Horned Lark, Sharp-shinned, White-tailed, Red-tailed and Cooper’s Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, Black-tailed and Slaty-backed Gull, (spring) Lesser Black-backed, California, Thayer’s Gull.
C.B. Wood Park/Arroyo Colorado Hike and Bike Trail
The park is along the banks of the Arroyo Colorado and is covered in native habitat. Asphalt parking, covered picnic tables, a water fountain, a playground, wheelchair accessible parking and walking trails are all included. Directions: From US 77 in Harlingen, exit FM 1479 (“F” St.). From the N, continue to Rangerville Rd., cross under the overpass and turn N on frontage. From the S, stay on the frontage road one mile to Taft Ave. Turn E on Taft to 1st St., turn S on 1st St. to Wilson, then W on Wilson to park. Bird Species: Great-blue Heron, Black-billed Whistling Duck, White-tailed Kite, Red-tailed Hawk, Green Jay, Orange-crowned Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Cardinal, Indigo Bunting, Green Kingfisher, Neotropic Cormorant, Couch’s Kingbird, Long-billed and Curve-billed Thrashers, Olive Sparrow, Plain Chachalaca.
Camp Lula Sams Teaching Camp & Wildlife Refuge
This 87-acre private refuge has a five-acre resaca surrounded by thornscrub, woodland forest, salt prairie and grassland. Overnight accommodations are available by appointment only. Photo opportunities are offered for birders and nature photographers. We welcome school field trips, scout groups and organizations, and provide rental facilities. Contact Information: Call 956-350-9093 for directions and leave your name and phone number. Camplulasams.com. Bird Species: Least Grebe, White-faced Ibis, Ringed Kingfisher, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Anhinga (winter), Least Bittern (summer), Couch’s and Tropical Kingbirds, Plain Chachalaca, Groove-billed Ani, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Great Kiskadee, Green Jay, Curve-billed, Long-billed Thrashers. Butterfly Species: Giant Swallowtail, Guava Skipper, Zebra Longwing, Malachite.
Camp Perry is highlighted by native brush and nature trails along the Arroyo Colorado. The camp is privately owned and operated by the Rio Grande Council, Boy Scouts of America. Contact Information: For permission and directions, call 956-423-0250. Bird Species: Green Jay, Mottled Duck, Osprey, Skimmer, Tri-colored Heron, Willet, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Great Kiskadee, Harris’s Hawk, Least Grebe, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler.
The area is covered in native habitat. No water or facilities. Directions: Two miles E of San Benito. Bird Species: Black-shouldered Kites nest at this site.
Chapeno includes a picnic area. No restrooms. Down from the manager’s house, the road parallels the Rio Grande River and curves down to river. If the gate to the picnic ground is closed, it is permissible to go around it. Admission: $3.00 for the birding property. Directions: From US 83 W of Roma, travel 10 miles and turn W on FM 2098. As you enter Falcon Heights look for Chapeno Rd. opposite the Catholic Church. Turn S on Chapeno Rd. and go 2.7 miles. As you pass a bend in the road, a sign for El Rio RV Park points to the S. Enter to the Manager’s house and park or continue on road to Chapeno River sign. Turn S to free public boat ramp on river. Bird Species: Muscovy Duck, Hook-billed Kite, Gray Hawk, Red-billed Pigeon, Brown Jay, Audobon’s Oriole.
Chihuahua Woods Preserve
Access to the 349-acre wildlife preserve is walk-in. No facilities. A marked trail is approx. one mile long. Visiting parties are limited to six adults; not suitable for children or pets. Paths are not regularly maintained. Contact Information: 956-222-0483. Hours: Daylight hours only. May be closed during periods of extreme fire danger. Directions: Take US 83 W of Mission, exit Goodwin Rd./FM 492 (at HEB). Take FM 492 S 0.8 miles to Bus. 83. Turn R on Bus. 83 and go 0.7 miles to where Bus. 83 curves NW. At the curve, go straight onto the blacktop road that parallels RR track for 0.1 mile. The preserve entrance is on the L where the blacktop road crosses the RR track. Bird Species: Plain Chachalaca, Great Kiskadee, Green Jay, Olive Sparrow, Altamira Oriole, White-tailed Hawk, Peregrine Falcon (winter), Red-billed Pigeon (summer), Groove-billed Ani, Verdin, Tropical Parula, Clay-colored Robin, Hook-billed Kite. Butterfly Species: Lyside Sulphur, Tailed Orange, Dusky-blue Groundstreak, Western Pygmy-blue, Ceraunus Blue, Fatal Metalmark, Rounded Metalmark, Texan Crescent, Mexican Bluewing, Common Mestra, Tropical Leafwing, Goatweed Leafwing, Empress Leilia, Queen, Soldier, Tropical Checkered-Skipper, Desert Checkered-Skipper, Laviana White-Skipper.
Dean Porter Park/Gladys Porter Zoo
Both sites are covered in mesquite, ebony, palms and huisache. A resaca runs on the E and N sides of the park and meanders throughout the zoo. Restrooms, picnic tables, phones and a playground are available at park. Contact Information: 956-546-7178 for admission prices to zoo. Directions: From US 77 in Brownsville, exit 6th St. After stop sign, veer R off frontage road to the SW. Follow 6th St. to Ringgold St. and turn NW on Ringgold. Gladys Porter Zoo is on the SW and the park is on the NE. Bird Species: Excellent viewing of colonial nest of American and Snowy Egret, as well as Tri-colored, Green and Black-crowned Night Heron each spring on the Zoo grounds. Plain Chachalaca, Great Kiskadee, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Ringed Kingfisher, Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, American Pelican, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Red-crowned Parrot.
Delta Lake County Park
The park features a man-made, fresh-water lake with little native habitat. Restrooms, a pavilion, BBQ facilities and picnic tables are available. No swimming is allowed. Hours: Open daily, 8 a.m.-sunset. Directions: From US 83 in Weslaco, take FM 88 N 16 miles. Park entrance is on the E side of FM 88. Bird Species: White Pelican, Roseate Spoonbill, Opsrey, Ringed Kingfisher, Rails, Waterbird (migrations), Tree Swallows.
Ebony Unit (LPWMA)
The Ebony Unit is covered in native habitat with a large pond. A viewing platform is located on the water, which provides excellent birding opportunities. No facilities. Directions: Two miles SE of Harlingen. Bird Species: Ringed Kingfisher, Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, Least Grebe, Tri-colored Heron, Couch’s Kingbird, Great Kiskadee.
FM 1421 Driving Tour
Directions: From US 77, S of San Benito, exit on TX 100/FM 1421. Turn W across the RR tracks and clear trip odometer. FM 1421 makes an immediate L turn and heads S along and across a resaca at 0.5 miles. Continue 0.7 miles to cross another resaca. You may want to turn W onto the dirt road to stop and view this area. Continue S on the mesquite-lined FM 1421 thru a low area of reeds that, depending on the last rain, may or may not have water. Continue 3.1 miles to Brownsville ISD Encampment. Continue past La Paloma Grove Ranch to 3.9 miles where you will find another resaca. Depending on the recent rains you may want to turn E onto the dirt road for good viewing around the curve. Upon returning to FM 1421, turn N and travel the 3.9 miles to the original turn to cross the RR tracks. You can, at this point, turn W on Rice Tract Rd. and continue 1.2 miles as asphalt ends, until you see a fenced water district building on your R. Stop and walk up the N side to see a reservoir, spillway and resaca. Bird Species: Ringed Kingfisher, Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, Least Grebe, Tri-colored Heron.
FM 2221 Driving Tour
This paved road, which is fairly busy, turns into a caliche (dirt) road with grassy fence lines. The road can be birded successfully with care and is well known for wintering sparrows. Directions: From US 83 just W of La Joya, turn N on FM 2221. Bird wooded and brush sections are available by pulling over onto shoulders. Proceed N when paved MF 2221 turns E and the road N (dirt) is now called Jara Chinas Rd. Bird fence lines. Bird Species: Known for good views of wintering sparrow and other western dryland species such as Cassin’s, Grasshopper, Lark, Savannah, Lincoln, Clay-colored Sparrow, Sage Thrasher, Pyrrhuloxia.
Falcon (Starr) County Park
Falcon (Starr) County Park has picnic tables, restrooms (rather rough) and camping sites. Day fee for camping. Directions: On US 83 W of Roma, 10 miles, turn W on FM 2098. Immediately turn R into park. Bird Species: Upland birds, Vermillion Flycatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Raptors, Great Horned Owl, Western Meadowlarks, several species of wintering sparrow.
Falcon Dam & Spillway
Either drive or park at customs and walk to middle of dam to view the 60-mile-long lake and spillway. No facilities. YOU MUST HAVE A PASSPORT to come back thru customs. Hours: Open 7:15 a.m.-8:45 p.m.; closed holidays. Directions: On US 83 W of Roma, 10 miles, turn W on FM 2098. Proceed thru Falcon Heights. Turn S on Spur 2098 and clear trip odometer. Turn SE one mile before you arrive at the customs stations. Bird Species: Least and Baird’s Sandpipers (migration), Zone-tailed Hawks, Turkey Vultures, Couch’s Kingbirds, Osprey, Red-billed Pigeon, Ringed Kingfisher, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls, Brown Jays, Audubon’s Orioles.
No trespassing allowed. This is a private game refuge, but viewing is permissible from the road. Directions: On US 83 W of Roma, 10 miles, turn W on FM 2098. Proceed thru Falcon Heights. Turn NE and continue on FM 2098 1.4 miles to a great overlook of a pond on the NW side of the Hwy. Pull off close to the fence for the best view, if it has not been raining. Bird Species: Hooded Merganser, Vermilion Flycatcher, Great Kiskadee, Great Blue Heron, Caracara, Harris’s Hawk, Common Ground Doves.
Falcon State Park
Falcon State Park features 572 acres of gentle rolling hills covered with patches of thorny brushland, consisting mostly of mesquite, huisache, Mexican olive, Texas ebony, cactus and native grasses. Camping, water and electricity, a screened shelter, air-conditioned cabins, restrooms, showers and trailer dump-station included. Hours: Open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Admission: $3/person (12 yrs. and under free). 956-848-5327. Directions: On US 83 W of Roma, 10 miles, turn W on FM 2098. Proceed thru Falcon Heights and take Park Rd. 46 to the park. Bird Species: Harris’s Hawk, Green Kingfisher, Varied Bunting (spring), Common Ground-Dove, Bronzed and Brown-headed Cowbird, Greater Roadrunner, Cactus and Bewick’s Wrens, Northern Mockingbird, Curve-billed Thrasher, Cassin’s Finch, Northern Cardinal, Pyrrhuloxia. Butterfly Species: Orange-barred Sulphur, Large Orange Sulphur, Statira Sulphur, Lyside Sulphur, Mexican Yellow, Marine Blue, Ceranus Blue, Walker’s Metalmark, Theona Checkerspot, Texan Crescent, Vesta Crescent, Common Mestra, Texas Powdered-Skipper, Tropical Checkered-Skipper, Desert Checkered-Skipper, Nysa Roadside-Skipper, Eufala Skipper.
Fort Brown Resaca
The resaca runs thru the campus of the University of Texas Brownsville/Texas Southmost College behind the Village at Ft. Brown. The best viewing is late in the evening in the Village parking lot. Directions: From US 77 in Brownsville, exit Hwy 4 (International Blvd). Turn S on International and continue to Elizabeth St. (do not cross the international bridge). Turn E on Elizabeth and continue across Resaca to the Village. Bird Species: Red-crowned Parrot, Green Parakeet.
Fort Ringgold/The Chachalaca Nature Trail
The trail is located at the SW corner of a small park inside the fence of Fort Ringgold, adjacent to the fire station. It is covered in native ebony, mesquite and hackberry trees and offers covered picnic tables. Follow the trail thru the canopy of trees. At the “T,” check to the R at Sewer Pond and then continue thru the old woodlands. At the pump station a short spur takes you to the Rio Grande River. The overall loop is approximately two miles with a variety of habitats as the trail drops toward the river. Directions: From US 83 in Rio Grande City, at the curve around Fort Ringgold, turn S on Ringgold Ave., pass the old Guard House, take immediate W turn on Lee Circle. Go one block and turn back N on Cavalry St. The park is in front of you. Bird Species: Clay-colored Robin, Black Phoebe, House Sparrow, Great-tailed Grackles, Tropical, Couch’s Kingbirds.
Fred Stone County Park
Park features include restrooms, a fishing pier and picnic tables; no RV hook-ups. The nature trail starts at the NW corner of the N parking lot. Approximate distance is a 1Ú2-mile to 3Ú4-mile thru native Texas brush. Nice Trail. Contact Information: 956-944-2354. Directions: From US 77 in Raymondville, turn E on TX 186 and go 24 miles to Port Mansfield. At FM 606 turn N and go one mile to the park. Bird Species: Brown Pelican, Roseate Spoonbill, Black Skimmer, American Oystercatcher, Marbled Godwit. The algal flats S of the Mansfield Cut host the world’s largest wintering population of Piping Plover.
Frontera Audubon Society Weslaco Thicket
This is a non-profit organization with a 15-acre nature preserve featuring mature native woodlands, trails, wetlands and butterfly gardens. Contact Information: 1101 S Texas Blvd. (FM 88), Weslaco. 956.968-3275. www.fronteraaudubon.org. Hours: The Visitor’s Center is open Wed-Sat, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun, Noon-4 p.m. Admission: Adults $5; Seniors $4; Children under 12, free. Annual memberships are available. Bird Species: Altamira Oriole, Green Kingfisher, Plain Chachalaca, White-tipped Dove, Green Jay, Groove-billed Ani, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Long-billed Thrasher and Olive Sparrow. Rare Bird Species Documented: Blue Mockingbird, Crimson-collared Grosbeak, White-throated Robin, Elegant Trogan. Butterfly Species: Over 70 species of butterflies, many unique in the US to South Texas, have been documented within the reserve.
Covered in native habitat, this stretch of the Rio Grande River provides some of the best remaining riparian woodlands along this river. Directions: On US 83 N of Roma, turn W on FM 650. Go 4.8 miles to Fronton. Turn S on River Rd., which becomes caliche. Continue S to Rio Grande River. Bird Species: Pied-billed Grebe, American White and Least Sandpipers, Sora, Common Moohen, Common Yellowthroat, Red-winged Blackbird, Belted, Green and Ringed Kingfisher, Groobe-billed Ani, Altamira and Audubon’s Oriole, Red-billed Pigeon, Clay-colored Robin.
Harlingen City Lake
A walking/jogging trail loops around the lake for a view from all sides. Across the street the dense native trees create a canopy that can be quite productive during migration. No facilities. Directions: From US 77 in Harlingen, exit Loop 499 (Ed Carey Dr.). Turn NE on Ed Carey for one mile. Turn NW on 77 Sunshine Strip and continue past the Arroyo Colorado Bridge. Be in the L lane to take L fork onto Commerce St. Continue on Commerce, turn N on 6th St. and proceed 11 blocks. Cross the RR tracks. The lake is on your L and Liberty Garden is on your R, just past the library. Bird Species: Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Great Blue Heron, Tri-colored Heron, White and Brown Pelicans, Neotropic Cormorant, Green Jay, Couch’s Kingbird, Great Kiskadee, Orange-crowned Warbler, Red-crowned Parrot.
Inn at Chachalaca Bend
The Inn is a deluxe bed and breakfast for birding and butterfly enthusiasts. It is located on 40 acres at a bend in Resaca de los Antonios, with nature trails in native brush, Texas Ebony and Honey Mesquite. Contact Information: Call 888-612-6800 before traveling to the site to make arrangements with owners and to receive detailed directions to the Inn. Directions: Two miles NE of Los Fresnos off FM 2480. Bird Species: Altamira Oriole, Green Jay, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Great Kiskadee, Ringed Kingfisher, Roseate Spoonbill, Plain Chachalaca. Butterfly Species: Orange-barred Sulphur, Large
Orange Sulphur, Mimosa Yellow, Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak, Ceranus Blue, Fatal Metalmark, Elada Checkerspot, Tropical Buckeye, Tropical Leafwig, White-striped Longtail, Dorantes Longtail, Two-barred Flasher, Mazans Scallopwing, Sickle-winged Skipper, Funereal Duskywing, Julia’s Skipper.
The Inn at El Canelo
The Inn at El Canelo specializes in “ranch-chic” overnight accommodations (elegant gourmet meals and wine included) for birders seeking exclusive access to this “birdy” 1,500-acre private property. While there is no longer a pair of “yardbird” Ferruginous Pygmy Owls on the two-acre grounds surrounding the Inn, many pairs are resident on the ranch. Reservations are strictly required. Contact Information: Call 956-689-5042 or email firstname.lastname@example.org BEFORE traveling to the site for pricing and detailed directions. Directions: 10 miles N of Raymondville on US 77. Bird Species: Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, White-tailed Hawk, Cave Swallow, Green Jay, Great Kiskadee, Scissor-tailed Vermilion and Flycatcher, Hooded Oriole, Caracara, Groove-billed Ani, Pyrrhuloxia. Butterfly Species: Large Orange Sulphur, Bordered Patch, Phaon Crescent, White Peacock, Common Mestra, Gemmed Satyr, Carolina Satyr, Queen, Soldier, Texas Powdered-Skipper, Funereal Duskywing, Tropical Checkered-Skipper, Laviana, White-Skipper, Turk’s-cap White-Skipper, Eufala Skipper.
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge
Three separate units totaling approximately 90,000 acres, Laguna Atascosa NWR is the largest protected area of habitat in the Rio Grande Valley, with over 415 bird species recorded. Contact Information: 956-748-3607. Hours: Laguna Atascosa is open sunrise to sunset; the 15-mile Scenic Bayside Drive’s open house is seasonal. The Visitor Center is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. every day except all major holidays. Wheelchair accessible restrooms are available at the Visitor Center along the 15-mile Scenic Bayside Drive. Admission: Daily pass $3/vehicle. Directions: From US 77 in Harlingen, exit Tyler Ave. Proceed thru Harlingen on Tyler Ave., which becomes FM 106, for 18 miles, going thru Rio Hondo to the “T” in the road. Turn L 2.5 miles to the Visitors Center. Bird Species: Greater Roadrunner, Sandhill Crane, Redhead Duck, Piping Plover, Long-billed Curlew, Willet, Bewick’s Wren, Painted Bunting, Summer Tanager, American Golden-Plover, Upland Sandpiper, Green Jay, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Great Kiskadee, Common Pauraque, Long-billed Thrasher, Olive Sparrow, Groove-billed Ani, Plain Chachalaca, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Least Grebe, Sora, Botteri’s Sparrow, White-tailed Hawk, Crested Caracara, Aplomado Falcon. Butterfly Species: Great Southern White, Large Orange Sulphur, Lyside Sulphur, Silver-banded hairstreak, Clytie Ministreak, Rounded Metalmark, Blue Metalmark, Julia, Mexican Fritillary, Theorna Checkerspot, Phaon Crescent, White Peacock, Common mestra, Mazans Scallopwing, Sickle-winged Skipper, Laviana White-Skipper, Turk’s cap White-Skipper, Obscure Skipper.
La Lomita Chapel
Site features include picnic tables, restrooms and a parking area covered in mesquite and ebony trees. Hours: Open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Directions: From US 83 in Mission, exit S on FM 1016. As the road curves to the E, look for JCT 494 and a sign for La Lomita Mission. Turn S on JCT 494 and turn S again on the first road. Go across the RR tracks and turn E on S Levee Bank. Bird Species: White-winged Dove, Green Jay, Loggerhead, Shrike, Killdeer, Tropical, Couch’s Kingbirds. Butterfly Species: Lyside Sulphur, Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak, Ceranus Blue, White Peacock, Malachite, Hackberry Emperor, Empress Leilia, Queen, Soldier, Long-tailed Skipper, Tropical Checkered-Skipper, Clouded Skipper.
La Puerta Tract (LRGVNWR)
There is a parking area; foot access only. Do not enter gated areas, even if the gate is open, and do not go off the trails. No facilities. Contact Information: 956-784-7500. Hours: Open daily sunrise to sunset. Directions: The tract sites are on the N side of US 83, W of Sullivan City. The tract begins 2.5 miles W of FM 1430, which goes to Garciasville. Bird Species: Roadrunner, Crested Caracara, Screech Owl, Pauraque.
La Sal del Rey Tract (LRGVNWR)
Foot access only. New restrooms installed. Stay on trails and enter only thru marked entry points. Observe posted signs with regard to nesting sites and restrictions. Contact Information: 956-784-7500. Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset. Directions: From US 77 in Raymondville, take TX 186 W 18 miles to Brushline Rd. Turn N on Brushline Rd. There are three marked entry points to this road. 2.3 miles further down TX 186 there is a public information map on this tract. Bird Species: (winter) Sandhill Crane, Snow Geese, Long-billed Curlew, Say’s Phoebe, (summer) Snowy Plover, Wilson’s Phalarope, (year-round) White-tailed Hawk, Crested Caracara, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Dickcissel, White-eyed Vireo.
La Sal Vieja – E Lake Tract
Accessible by foot only. Enter only thru those points designated on the public information map and do not go off trails. Do not enter gated areas, even if gate is open. No facilities. Contact Information: 956-784-7500. Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset. Directions: From US 77 in Raymondville, exit W on TX 186 and travel 4.8 miles to FM 1761. Turn N on FM 1761 and proceed 2.6 miles until the asphalt turns E. Continue straight onto the caliche road, which will take you across the bridge. Go to the first road, turn to the W and proceed to the fence with signage for U.S. Fish and Wildlife. Bird Species: White-tailed Kite, Bobwhite, Harris’s and White-tailed Hawks, Crested Caracara, White-tipped Dove, (winter) Sandhill Crane. Butterfly Species: Great Southern White, Large Orange Sulphur, Lyside Sulpher, Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak, Western Pygmy-Blue, Red-bordered Metalmark, Mexican Fritillary, Texan Crescent, Phaon Crescent, Queen, Teleus Longtail, Brown Longtail, Funereal Duskywing, Erichson’s White-Skipper, Clouded Skipper.
La Sal Vieja – Teniente Tract (LRGVNWR)
There are several unpaved roads that lead to or thru this tract. Accessible by foot only. Enter only thru those points designated on the public information map and do not go off the trails. Do not enter gated areas, even if the gate is open. Contact Information: 956-784-7500. Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset. Directions: From US 77 in Raymondville, exit W on TX 186. Go W on TX 186 11 miles to the first unpaved road 0.5 miles past FM 88. Turn N on the unpaved road and go to the first of five public entry points on this road into the tract. This road will also provide a good view of Salt Lake to your E. 3.6 miles down this road you will reach the N boundary of the tract. Turn W, pass a pond on your R and continue one mile and turn S to drive thru the tract back to TX 186. Turn W on TX 186 and go to the next county road (Country Road 10) that has the Rio Beef Feedyard sign. Turn N to the first of two public entry points on this road. Three miles down is the public information map. Bird Species: White-tailed Kites, Bobwhite, Harris’s and White-tailed Hawks, Crested Caracara, (migration) American White Pelican, Wood Stork, Wilson’s Phalarope. Butterfly Species: Great Southern White, Large Orange Sulphur, Lyside, Sulphur, Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak, Western Pygmy-Blue, Mexican Fritillary, Texan Crescent, Phaon Crescent, Queen, Teleus Longtail, Brown Longtail, Funereal Duskywing, Erichson’s White-Skipper, Clouded Skipper.
Las Majadas Pond
A parking area is available for viewing as is an observation deck with wheelchair accessible ramp. No facilities. Directions: From US 77 in Raymondville, exit E on TX 186 1.2 miles to pond. Look for signage: “Wildlife Viewing Area & Windmill.” Bird Species: Belted Kingfisher, Roseate Spoonbille.
Llano Grande Lake
Llano Grande Lake is characterized as a floodway surrounded by native habitat. Directions: From US 83 E of Weslaco, turn S on FM 1015. Just S of Estero Llano Grande State Park, immediately after the bridge, look for a gate on your L. This is a private farm, but if the gate is open, you may drive along the floodway. Bird Species: Least Grebe, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Black-necked Stilt, Greater and Lessor Yellowlegs, Solitary, Western, Least, White-rumped, Baird’s, Pectoral and Stilt Sandpipers, Wilson’s Phalaropes.
Lon C. Hill Park
This park is covered in native trees with butterfly and hummingbird garden across the street from Municipal Auditorium/Casa de Amistad. Restrooms, picnic tables and a playground are included. Directions: From US 77 S in Harlingen, exit downtown (Tyler Ave./Fairpark Blvd./Baseball Stadium). From US 77 N in Harlingen, exit Bus. 83 (Tyler Ave./Fairpark Blvd.). Stay on the frontage road thru Tyler Ave. and Harrison Ave. Cross RR tracks and proceed on frontage road to Fairpark Blvd. From US 83 E in Harlingen, exit Dixieland Rd. Pass the Texas Tourist Information Center and turn N on frontage road. Cross RR tracks and proceed on frontage road to Fairpark Blvd. Turn E on Fairpark Blvd. and proceed to Lon C. Hill Park. Bird Species: Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Curve-billed Thrasher, Mourning Dove, Tufted Titmouse. Butterfly Species: Florida White, Giant White, Orange-barred Sulphur, Statira Sulphur, Mexican Yellow, Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak, Dusky-blue Groundstreak, Fatal Metalmark, Red-bordered Metalmark, Blue Metalmark, Red-bordered Pixie, Queen, Soldier, White Peacock, Long-tailed Skipper, Dorantes Longtail, Teleus Longtail, Brown Longtail, Sickle-winged Skipper, White-patched Skipper, Tropical Checkered-Skipper, Julia’s Skipper, Double-dotted Skipper, Olive-clouded Skipper, Ocola Skipper.
Longoria Unit (LPWMA)
Enhancements include wheelchair accessible paved walking trails with benches and viewing areas set up at watering and feeding stations. The area is covered in native habitat, but has no facilities. Contact Information: 956-784-7500. Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset. Directions: From US 83 in La Feria, exit FM 506, turn N and go 10.4 miles. The unit is on both sides of the road. Bird Species: Green Jay, Harris’s Hawk, White-eyed Vireo, Long-billed Thrasher, Roadrunner, Chachalaca, Olive Sparrow. Butterfly Species: Large Orange Sulphur, Lyside Sulphur, Mexican Yellow, Ceraunus Blue, Bordered Patch, Texan Crescent, Vesta Crescent, Phaon Crescent, White Peacock, Common Mestra, Queen, Tropical Checkered-Skipper, Laviana White-Skipper.
Los Ebanos Preserve
Los Ebanos Preserve is an 82-acre private nature park for bird and butterfly watching with gardens of native and tropical plants and trails thru unspoiled habitat. Notable features include butterfly gardens, an open-air pavilion with tables and chairs and restrooms. We are open only by appointment. Contact Information: For opening hours and prices, please call 956-399-9097. You may visit our website at www.losebanospreserve.com. Directions: From US 77 S of San Benito, exit E on State Hwy 100 and go 100 yards to the entrance on the L. Bird Species: Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Plain Chachalaca, Great Kiskadee, Altamira Oriole, Hooded Oriole, Green Jay, Green Kingfisher, Olive Sparrow, Northern Beardless Tyrannulet, Roseate Spoonbill, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck. Butterfly Species: Blue Metalmark, Walker’s Metalmark, Mexican Bluewing, Giant Swallowtail, Red-bordered Pixie, Mexican Silverspot, Great Southern White, White Peacock, Zebra Heliconian.
This is a private wildlife refuge located NW of Mission, offering wildlife and nature photography opportunities. Professionally designed photo blinds on water features bring critters close in. Visitors can view