Spring Birding in Texas

An RV Road Trip can be the Ideal Way to Experience Spring Birding in Texas!

2025001/1600AUTO3/28/09In my mind, there are three types of birders.

Type 1: Hey, look at that… pretty bird. Hmmm. Wish I had binoculars.

Type 2: Hey, look at that Roseate Spoonbill (calls bird by name). Here, look through my super-sharp high-powered binoculars. This one’s a juvenile. You can tell because it’s still got a pale pinkish-white feathered head.(Pays attention to details.)

Type 3: Hey, drop what you’re doing THIS INSTANT and head to (insert name of someplace obscure). There’s been a (fill in the blank with a rare bird) sighting there and we have to check it off our life list NOW!

DSCN1820On most of my RV trips, I’m a Type 1, with occasional aspirations of achieving Type 2. My friends and fellow RV enthusiasts Sharon and Jeff Richardson are firmly in the Type 2 camp with occasional Type 3 tendencies.

Because spring birding is such a big deal in Texas,  I asked Sharon for a few tips.

Birding 1“We experienced the migration at the Upper Texas Coast last spring, and realized that we had witnessed the premier springtime birding event by catching glimpses of the Warblers and hundreds of other types of song birds arriving from across the Gulf,” she said. “We birded along the coast and saw the tons of shorebirds and were totally enamored with Roseate Spoonbills, Whooping Cranes and all the Herons and Egrets.”

6.720001/350AUTO11/10/09This year, Sharon and Jeff explored the Valley. “WOW,” said Sharon. “We spent 3-1/2 days there, and visited about a dozen sites – not counting pulling off the road when the expert birders who were with us spotted White -tailed Kites and Peregrine Falcons. There are numerous wetlands and nature preserves in the Valley and we didn’t even scratch the surface.”

If you’re hooking up the travel trailer and planning a do-it-yourself birding excursion, you can browse online and learn more about the spring migrations and the species you can find in your own neck of the woods. Check out your local Audubon Society page for starters. The Audubon societies often offer classes and free, guided bird walks on weekends.

Are you a Type 3? Then check out Ebird.org. Sharon says it’s the go-to website when you want to find a particular species, get info on all the birds being seen at specific locations, and post and keep track of your own personal checklists.

I also hear that Sharon’s friend Laurie Foss leads exotic birding trips for JB Journeys, so if you’re inclined to wander internationally, be sure to give Laurie a call.

Last but not least, if you want to connect with other Texas birders, visit the Texbirds Facebook page or become part of their Facebook group for camaraderie, fun photos and lots of information about birds in every corner of the state.

You know, spring break is coming up… Maybe it’s time for us Type 1 people to head out in the RV to check out the “pretty birds” and learn a trick or two from those Type 2 and 3 birders among us! Thanks Sharon!

~G. Elaine Acker