Fall is here and the amazing butterfly migration is underway in the Rio Grande Valley. Along with the butterfly migration comes the 19th Annual Texas Butterfly Festival where butterfly enthusiasts from all across the country gather to enjoy the beauty of nature in her colorful array.
The festival runs Nov. 1-4 at the the National Butterfly Park, 3333 Butterfly Park Drive, in Mission, featuring field trips and tours to butterfly and birding hotspots all across the Rio Grande Valley. In addition, a range of seminars will be held for beginners as well as for seasoned veteran butterfliers who wish to learn more about butterflies and the unique habitat offered by the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
“The Texas Butterfly Festival is a wonderful opportunity for enthusiasts and people who are just beginning to enjoy nature,” said Marianna Wright, Executive Director of the National Butterfly Center. “We really are the butterfly capital of the country with over 300 species that may be found in the lower Rio Grande Valley. We also have a variety of sub-tropical birds and this is the best time of the year to observe the colorful migratory songbirds as well.”
The National Butterfly Park is strategically located in one of the most biologically diverse regions of North America. The Rio Grande Valley is unique in that there are 11 different habitats including tidal wetlands and riparian forest that provide homes or migratory stopping points for 500 species of birds, 200 vertebrate species, 300 species of butterflies and 90 species of dragonflies.
The event starts with registration on Saturday, Nov. 1, from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express on South Shary Road in Mission. A reception will also be held at the Holiday Inn Express beginning at 6 p.m. so that participants have an opportunity to meet each other.
Sunday through Tuesday, a number of field trips will take place, all leaving from the National Butterfly Park. They include Photographing Butterflies, Birds & Bugs with Luciano Guerra, The Butterfly Beltway with John Rosford & Audrey Harvey, Butterfly Basics with Buck and Linda Cooper, and Landscaping for Butterflies 2013 with Pat Sutton and Audrey Harvey. This tour is a repeat of last year’s tour that was so popular, participants asked for it to be brought back.
Other field trips include a new Landscaping for Butterflies 2014 with Pat Sutton and Audrey Harvey, Way out West, with Buck and Linda Cooper, Coastal Specialties with Mike Richard, Rail Line Leps with Bob Behrstock, and Wilderness &Wetlands with Martin Reid.
Still more field trips being offered include Military “Hot Spots” with Mike Reid and Glassberg’s Not-so-Swift Guide through the Gardens. Final offerings include On the Fly: Advanced Field Markings For Hairstreaks, Skippers & Sulphurs with Dan Jones and Mike Rickard, Botanical Gardens of McAllen with Pat Sutton, Riverboat Ride & Seek with Martin Reid, and Night Things: Moths, Bats & Birds in the Gardens with Jim Vargo.
Times and costs of participating in each field trip vary.
In addition to the field trips there will be a Butter Bordermilk Supper & Supper on Sunday at the National Butterfly Park and a Special Keynote Speakers and Awards Banquet at a location to be announced.
For more information call (956) 583-5400 or register online at www.texasbutterflyfestival.com.