Wednesday, January 16, 2019
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20181107 Wild Column orange bird LEG9567The last two weeks I featured the top birding hot spots in Hidalgo and Cameron Counties here. This week I will be featuring other Hidalgo County birding hot spots that in many ways are just as good as the big three I wrote about previously but are not as well known.

Edinburg Scenic Wetlands ranks fourth in Hidalgo County with 196 bird species reported to eBird this year, making it one of the top birding hot spots. ESW is situated on 40 acres within a city park, near the heart of the City of Edinburg. Built on reclaimed farm fields and next to the city's effluent and floodwater ponds, the center is a showcase for wildlife and a native habitat site set amidst an urban setting. Since this nature center is a wetlands, it attracts a wide variety of bird species including wading birds, ducks, kingfishers, hawks, warblers, hummingbirds and many others.

Anzalduas County Park in Mission and Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center in McAllen follow close behind with 188 bird species each reported to eBird this year.

Located on FM 494, just west of the community of Granjeno, the 96-acre Anzalduas County Park is situated along the banks of the Rio Grande River. While it is more of a family park than it is a nature center -- complete with a boat dock, fishing pier, picnic tables, barbeque pits and playground equipment -- it is still a great place to bird. In addition, it offers a great view of the Rio Grande for anybody wanting to enjoy its scenic beauty.

Located on Sunset Drive just east of South 10th Street in McAllen, Quinta Mazatlan is actually a historic 10,000-square-foot Spanish Revival adobe hacienda nestled within 15 acres of birding habitat made up mostly of wild Tamaulipan thornscrub. There are winding trails to explore, as well as several water features and bird feeding areas to visit. Its history and first-class facilities not only makes it unique among Valley nature centers, but also makes it a must-see for history buffs and nature lovers alike.

With 186 species of birds reported to eBird this year, Frontera Audubon Center ranks seventh among Hidalgo County birding hot spots. Located at 1101 S. Texas Blvd. in Weslaco, Frontera Audubon is a 15-acre haven for birds, butterflies and other wildlife that thrive among the native habitats of its Tamaulipan thornscrub forest, butterfly garden, wetlands, and ponds. Among the many species of birds that have been seen and photographed at Frontera recently is a rare Golden-crowned Warbler. While it is being seen on a daily basis, there is no way of knowing how much longer it will be around.

Upcoming Nature Events and Activities

• Resaca de la Palma State Park (1000 New Carmen Ave., Brownsville), Bike and Bird, Thursday, Nov. 8, 8:30 am. Butterfly Walk, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2:30 pm. Intro to Birding, Thursday, Nov. 15, 10 am. Phone: 956-350-2920.
• South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center (6801 Padre Blvd., South Padre Island) Guided Bird Walks, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 9 am, Nature Walks, Fridays, 9 am. Phone: 956-761-6801.
• McAllen Nature Center (4101 W. Business 83, McAllen) Native Plant Tour, Mondays, 6 pm; Sunset Yoga in the Park, Mondays, Wednesdays. and Fridays, 6-7 pm; Morning Yoga, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 9 am; Bird and Nature Walk, Wednesdays, 8:30 am; Volunteer Gardening Mornings, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:30 am; Sunset Geocaching, Wednesdays, 6 pm. Phone: 956-681-3333.
• Edinburg Scenic Wetlands and World Birding Center (714 Raul Longoria Rd., Edinburg) Bird walks, Tuesdays, 8:30–10 am, Nutty About Knots, Saturday, November 17, 2-3:30 pm, Where in the Wetlands Scavenger Hunt, Saturday, November 17, 10-11:30 am, Spectacular Saturdays, Saturday, Nov. 24, 8 am. Phone: 956-381-9922.
• Frontera Audubon (1101 S. Texas Blvd., Weslaco) Yoga on the Lawn, Tuesdays, 6:30 & 7:30 pm, Guided Bird Walks, Thursdays, 6:30 & 7:30 pm. 956-968-3275.
• Valley Nature Center (301 S. Border Ave., Weslaco) Native Plant Project Meeting, every fourth Thursday, 7:30 pm, Orchid Society Meeting, every first Sunday, 2 pm, and Brew in the Woods, Saturday, November 10, 7-10 pm. Phone: 956-969-2475.

For more information on these and other upcoming events and activities, contact the nature center hosting them.

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