Stride climate

Trip Type : Small Group Tour
View of birds on Dead tree during sunset-United States-3794054-1920-P
View of birds on Dead tree during sunset-United States-3794054-1920-P

The Specialty Birds of South Texas: The Big Enchilada of Birding

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Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
91%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
7 days
From: $ 1,499 $ 214 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Along the shores of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, spot Reddish Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills and a myriad of shorebirds
  • Join an ornithologist at the legendary King Ranch to search for Green Jays and Vermillion Flycatchers
  • Venture south in search of specialty birds such as Ferruginous Pygmy Owls and Hooded Orioles

Short Description

Join experts on a Texas-size birding adventure as you explore Mustang Island and King Ranch, spotting Pygmy Owls, Reddish Egrets, Vermillion Flycatchers and many other unique birds.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Port Aransas
End City Port Aransas

Trip Includes

  • 6 nights of accommodations
  • 1 expert-led lecture
  • 10 expert-led field trips
  • An experienced Group Leader
  • Customary gratuities throughout the program
  • Road Scholar Assurance Plan
  • Taxes

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Itinerary

Day 1

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: Best Western Port Aransas

Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner

Afternoon: 4:30 p.m. Welcome, introductions and orientation

Dinner: Dinner at Jays Seafood and Spaghetti Works.

Evening: Free evening

Day 2

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Best Western Port Aransas

Birding the Port Aransas Hot spots

Activity note: Variety of terrain including, boardwalks, gravel, beach

Breakfast: In the hotel dining area our daily breakfast buffet offers a rotating variety of choices such as an egg dish, breakfast meat, hot/cold cereals, fruit, yogurt, muffins, bagels, toast, milk, juices, coffee (regular/decaf) hot tea, water

Morning: Birding in and around Port Aransas all day. The recovery of some boardwalks is ongoing after hurricane Harvey but the birds are still coming. We will visit these popular sites including the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center and Paradise Pond. We will be looking for migratory warblers as well as remaining winter birds.

Lunch: Lunch; Pizza buffet

Afternoon: Birding continues on the beach, looking for gulls, terns and numerous shorebirds.

Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant

Evening: Documentary video: The King Ranch: Birthplace of American Ranching.

Day 3

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hampton Inn Kingsville

Whooping Crane Boat trip

Activity note: Ability to climb stairs to upper deck

Breakfast: In the hotel dining area our daily breakfast buffet offers a rotating variety of choices such as an egg dish, breakfast meat, hot/cold cereals, fruit, yogurt, muffins, bagels, toast, milk, juices, coffee (regular/decaf) hot tea, water

Morning: Early departure and checkout hotel. Depart on a 20 mile drive north to Fulton where we board the M/V Skimmer for a morning cruise along the shores of the Aransas Wildlife Refuge looking for Whooping Cranes. Birding begins the moment the boat leaves the dock on this 3 hour trip. The 58 foot Skimmer has a twin hull and two decks. The lower deck is covered and protected from the weather, while the upper deck offers stunning views of expansive wetlands, birds and other animals that meander the coastline.

Lunch: Picnic lunch

Afternoon: Check out nesting areas of gulls, terns, herons and skimmers on Little Bay then depart on a 65 mile journey west to Kingsville - hometown of the King Ranch. Check in to Hampton Inn.

Dinner: Dinner at Kingsville restaurant

Evening: Free evening

Day 4

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hampton Inn Kingsville

King Ranch, Norius Division

Activity note: Drive through this vast ranch. Stopping at intervals, standing and walking for periods of time on uneven terrain, grass, dirt roads etc.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining area our daily breakfast buffet offers a rotating variety of choices such as an egg dish, breakfast meat, hot/cold cereals, fruit, yogurt, muffins, bagels, toast, milk, juices, coffee (regular/decaf) hot tea, water

Morning: Early departure for a 60 mile journey south to the most southern division of the King Ranch. Our target birds are the Ferruginous Pygmy Owl and Tropical Parula.

Lunch: Picnic lunch on the ranch

Afternoon: Birding continues after lunch. The King Ranch also has a long history of wildlife management and rich populations of game species such as northern bobwhite quail, white-tailed deer, nilgai antelope, and wild turkey so be on the lookout for those animals too. We go through a border patrol check point on our journey back to Kingsville. Be sure to carry your ID or passport if you are not an American citizen

Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant

Evening: Free evening

Day 5

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Best Western Port Aransas

King Ranch, Santa Gertrudis Division and Hazel Bazemore Park

Activity note: Driving tour of this division. Stopping at intervals, standing and walking for periods of time on uneven terrain, grass, dirt roads etc.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining area our daily breakfast buffet offers a rotating variety of choices such as an egg dish, breakfast meat, hot/cold cereals, fruit, yogurt, muffins, bagels, toast, milk, juices, coffee (regular/decaf) hot tea, water

Morning: Checkout of hotel then depart on a short journey to the King Ranch for a guided tour with an expert guide for birding on the Santa Gertrudis division. Look for out for Green Jays, Kiskadees, Vermillion Flycatchers and Olive sparrows

Lunch: Picnic lunch at the ranch while checking out the birds at the feeders.

Afternoon: After lunch, on our way back to Port Arasnas, we will make a stop at the renowned hawk watch site Hazel Bazemore Park. Birds to watch out for are the Green Kingfisher, Kiskadee and migratory warblers

Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant

Evening: Free evening to relax, or explore the small town or take a stroll on the beach

Day 6

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Best Western Port Aransas

Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail Sites

Activity note: Variety terrain, boardwalks, grass, sand, etc.,

Breakfast: In the hotel dining area our daily breakfast buffet offers a rotating variety of choices such as an egg dish, breakfast meat, hot/cold cereals, fruit, yogurt, muffins, bagels, toast, milk, juices, coffee (regular/decaf) hot tea, water

Morning: Birding continues along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trails around Corpus Christi and Port Aransas looking for species that may have eluded earlier in the week

Lunch: Lunch

Afternoon: Birding continues along the coast and bays

Dinner: Farewell dinner at local restaurant

Evening: Social in the hotel meeting. Final wrap-up and farewells. .

Day 7

Meals: Breakfast

Program Concludes

Activity note: Check out of hotel by 11 am

Breakfast: In the hotel dining area our daily breakfast buffet offers a rotating variety of choices such as an egg dish, breakfast meat, hot/cold cereals, fruit, yogurt, muffins, bagels, toast, milk, juices, coffee (regular/decaf) hot tea, water

Morning: Depart after breakfast at your convenience. Check out time is 11 am. Linda will be available in the lobby from 8:00 - 8:30 am to answer any last minute questions you may have and bid you farewell.

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 1,499
Price Per Day: $ 214 per day
Check Availability
Checking price
  • Single Supplement (Single Occupancy): $ 290

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Stride Featured in

Stride Feature In

45 Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings

91%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 38
Great 3
Average 1
Disappointing 1
Terrible 2
Value
4.6
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.7
Lodging
4.5
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.5

The Specialty Birds of South Texas: The Big Enchilada of Birding

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Company Reviews

Old Cuba is fantastic and should be seen before it's spoiled by capitalism.

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals3.0
This was my wife's and my first trip with Road Scholar. At the time (April, 2012), it was not possible for Americans to directly visit Cuba. You had to do it with a cultural/educational group, often associated with a university. Or, you could fly to Canada, Mexico, or Europe first and then get a flight to Cuba from there (while risking a ~$10,000 fine from the US Government). We opted for the legal route with Road Scholar.

It was a fantastic trip! We had a small-ish group of about 20 people and a wonderful guide, José Luis (who, like most Cubans, had never been off the island).
The trip began in Miami where we had an orientation and spent the night. Then we flew to Havana and stayed in the Hotel Nacional for four nights. It doesn't get more historic -- or fun -- than the Nacional:
https://vimeo.com/41612444

While in Havana, we enjoyed great history/culture lectures from experts, toured various parts of Havana (including Hemmingway's home in the hills nearby), and, on our own, had the opportunity to have dinner at a paladar -- a restaurant inside someone's home.

The Cuban people are friendly but the infrastructure of their country is in shambles. It's been a long time since Russia's deep pockets left the island (1991), and you see poverty everywhere. But not the begging-in-the-street kind. Cuba provides universal health care, education (including room and board all the way through grad/med school!), food staples, and a very modest income (~$30/month) to everyone. Most people add to that income by working on the side.

After Havana, we traveled to Cienfuegos. From there we saw the infamous Bay Of Pigs, but also the wonderful Benny Moré Art School where we learned of the fantastic support for the arts by the Cuban government. Children are identified in grade school as having artistic talent and then funneled into magnet schools like Benny Moré to study art for their entire scholastic career!

Don't go to Cuba for the food. It's edible (and won't make you sick) but rather boring. You mainly get the "three amigos": fish, pork, or chicken, along with rice and/or black beans. But the aged rum is superb and so are the cigars!

Probably my favorite thing on the island, though, was the music -- whether on the street or in a more formal setting:
https://vimeo.com/43273083

Cuba is fantastic. Go enjoy it!
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Best trip I ever took!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Loved the variety of different hotels, the expertise of the individual tour guides, the meals and especially the beautiful countryside. All 17 of us on the t rip got to know each other well, thanks to the kindness, the personality and the organizational skill of Mark, our tour director. Keep up the good work!
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Sunrise, Sunset, Learning Photography

5.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals4.0
Road Scholar offers many tours starting in Utah. The one I took focused of photography of the National Parks in Utah, with a professional photographer traveling with us. The schedule was set up such that we would get "the golden light" at each of the parks. Those not familiar with the term must know that the best light occurs at either sunrise or sunset, when the impact of the sun on objects is diffused by having to travel through the earth's atmosphere on a diagonal rather than vertically.

As such, you can now expect that sleep will be an issue as you will get to bed late and rise early. But the territory is beautiful at all times, and more so illuminated by the golden light.

In order to maximize your sleeping ability, the tour is only offered in the spring and the fall. Doing this in the winter would be pretty cold and require special equipment to traverse the snow. Doing it in the summer would basically mean no sleep as the daylight is so long.

A great learning experience in beautiful territory.
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Thank you Road Scholar

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Thank you Road Scholar Staff for planning a wonderful introduction to Cuba today. My previous knowledge was from people who felt they had to leave Cuba more than fifty years ago. I learned from qualified professors, tour guides and from talking to Cuban people from different parts of Cuba who work in different kinds of jobs. I could see how the Cuban people have come together to meet the challenges of the past and to prepare for a brighter future.
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Thank you Road Scholar!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Road Scholar tours are the best bang for your buck

Fabulous!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This is a fabulous program for young and old. The instructors are great with kids and adults. The activities are very well organized and varied. My grandson is already making plans for next year.
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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Accomodations

Best Western Port Aransas - 4 nights  Port Aransas

Located approximately 2-1/2 blocks from the Gulf beach and close to shops and restaurants. Trolley stop in front.           

 

Hampton Inn Kingsville - 2 nights  Kingsville

Trip ID#:

roadscholar-923

Meals Included:

6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches and 6 Dinners

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