Lower Rio Grande Valley
National Wildlife Refuge
|3325 Green Jay Road
Alamo, TX 78516
Phone Number: 956-784-7500
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Continued . . . Roma Bluffs World Birding Center
Stop by the Roma Bluffs World Birding Center (WBC) in downtown historic Roma to find out where the wildlife is being seen. The WBC offers updated information on local wildlife watching opportunities on the LRGV NWR, as well as maps, field guides and other helpful information. Look for red-billed pigeons while overlooking the Rio Grande at the WBC’s boardwalk just a block away.
Just below Falcon Dam, visitors can enjoy a wildlife watching utopia. Watch for rare species like Muscovy ducks, Audubon’s orioles and brown jays. A short trail leads into the Chihuahuan thorn forest.
Explore some of the best brush habitat around, home to Texas tortoises, roadrunners, butterflies, desert birds and the barreta, a wild citrus tree that clings to the loamy clay hilltops.
Butterfly watchers can start their count right at the gate. Stroll a mile or two up an old road through historic ranch country. You'll see an old windmill. Look for a damp depression in the ground that can glitter with clusters of butterflies. Several dirt roads lead through upland thorn scrub habitat.
La Sal Del Rey
Translated "Salt of the King", La Sal Del Rey hosts a royal court of birds attracted to the expansive saline lake. As many as 10-15,000 Wilson's phalaropes may touch down at any given time during spring and fall migration. Snow geese and sandhill cranes winter here. You might hear the cry of the long-billed curlew or spot endangered piping plovers.
In addition, this may be the best place around to watch birds of prey during fall migration. Look for kites, crested caracaras, Harris’ hawks and barn owls. In the surrounding brush, curve-billed thrashers and painted buntings find shelter. Javelinas root for tubers. Finally, don't be surprised if you spot an introduced Asian antelope called nilgai. Enjoy the view from the boardwalk found within the Refuge.
La Sal Del Rey is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated a ‘Site of International Significance’ for migrating shorebirds by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network.
La Sal Vieja
Hiking trails lead through and into small wetlands. Ocelots lay low in the brush, home also to bobcats, deer, javelinas and songbirds. A mile-long walk to one of the salty lakes leads to a haven for black skimmers, stilts, avocets, and one of the largest concentrations of gull-billed terns in the United States. Look for them resting on spits of land, originally built as causeways to oil drilling pads. Today, the wealth is measured in bird life.
Five species of sea turtles - including the nesting endangered Kemp's Ridleys - have been found along Refuge beaches at the mouth of the Rio Grande. While sea turtles repeat their ancient ritual, another rite of passage takes place overhead. Warblers migrate to the tropics and back, marking the passage of seasons. When they battle spring storms over the Gulf, the exhausted birds touch down on land as soon as they can find a resting place. Boca Chica, like the famed High Island to the north, is known for warbler "fallouts".
Here, too, peregrine falcons and aplomado falcons plummet from the sky for another reason - to snare birds for a meal. Brown pelicans glide single file low over the warm Gulf waters. Herons and egrets (including reddish egrets) grace the shallows, while sanderlings, willets, ruddy turnstones, and American oystercatchers skitter down the beach at the sea edge. Overhead hundreds of terns and gulls drift across the coastal skies.
Beyond the beaches and the tidal flats, old coastal sand dunes --called lomas-- sprout thick brush that provides habitat for ocelots and jaguarundi.
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