TRIP REPORT: The Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival

A crew from Land Sea & Sky just returned from the annual Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival (RGVBF) in Harlingen, Texas. This festival occurs every November and is a favorite stop for birders looking to glimpse rare southern species to their bird lists.

 

Harlingen is in the Rio Grande valley of southern Texas and is located just north of the US/Mexico border. Because of its proximity to Mexico, it is uniquely situated to receive rare and interesting visiting birds, such as the Social flycatcher, Aplomado falcon, and Tamaulipas Crow. This year there was even a state first for Texas when the smooth-billed Ani showed up on South Padre Island!

 

We attend these events to sell binoculars and spotting scopes to attendees and work alongside our optics partners. Working alongside us this year were Opticron, Swarovski, Zeiss, Kowa, and Leica. In addition to meeting lots of great customers, it’s an opportunity for us to reconnect with our friends in the optics industry.

 LSS Booth at RGVBF

 

While most of our time was spent working with customers, we did manage to take in some birding. During a quick visit to the San Benito Wetlands just east of town, we are able to spy a few common valley species.

 

A White-Tailed hawk in flight.

 

A Least Grebe in the water.

 

A Great Kiskadee making itself heard.

 

Overall, it was a great time. If you ever get the opportunity to attend this festival one like it, give it some serious thought. Even if you are not a birder, it is a great place to try out optics!