The birding is, as you might imagine, off the hook. South Texas specialties, like Green Jay, Plain Chachalaca, and White-tailed Hawk are the bread and butter. First time visitors to the valley can expect up to 20 life birds. And with that many people out birding, there’s a very good chance that a “mega” might be found–like the Amazon Kingfisher that essentially all festival goers got to see in 2013.
But the birding is only half of the event. Tour operators, optics companies, and publishing houses fill the festival floor. You might spend some time chatting with noted field guide authors, or trying out every binocular, scope, and digiscoping doodad imaginable.
But most of all, it’s all about the birders. People from around the globe gather, and head out into the field with world-class guides, then share stories (and maybe a cocktail). In the afternoons, a variety of speakers hold sessions on everything from big year birding, to raptor or flycatcher identification.
Each year, I look forward to seeing my “valley friends” as much as I look forward to the amazing birding the Rio Grande Valley and south Texas coast has to offer. I hope to see you at the ABA Lounge this year. Here’s a few snapshots to whet the appetite. Festival details and registration here>>