Dear everyone:

I am a passionate birder of Missouri but I have a one time wish that involves birding outside it.  I want to travel and bird in Texas, where many of the migrants first make their way into the States on their migratory pathway to Missouri.

As a novice to birding in Texas, I need all the help I can get from folks on this list. It's one of the reasons I am on it.  I have gotten a few kind responses from my plea for help regarding planning a birding trip to Texas (thank you to those who did respond), but I have a suspicion that due to the fact that I tagged my plea for help onto the end of a long email, many of you missed it - since I know many of you have birded in Texas.  So I thought I would try one more time to ask for your help.

My family and I (my parents and my husband) are starting from scratch and can use all the advice we can get - planning the trip, best places in your opinion to
go, best time to go, best resources/contacts, what to take, etc.  We thought we might drive there but are now rethinking that - in order to have more birding time there.  We'll rent a car.  We'll have a spotting scope by then as well.  Yeah!

We want to take a fabulous dream of a birding trip, since this will most likely be
a once in a lifetime trip for all of us.  There are reasons why this trip is a big
deal.   My husband and I have never birded anywhere other than Missouri (my
parents did a little in Costa Rica),  none of us will probably ever have
the money to do it again and we all have health issues that could easily get
worse any day...and make a birding trip out of the question in the future.

Texas seemed the place, given important factors we were looking at - a sense of connection to Missouri's migrants, not horribly expensive, mesmerizing in the numbers of birds one can see (so people say), a touch or more of the exotic without leaving the country, and possibly an oppoortunity to help some kind of conservation effort while we're there as a way of giving back.  Or does something think another destination more appropriate?

We want to simply shower in the splendor of birds; we want to be overwhelmed by their beauty.  We want to be gluttons for a week on a spiritual avian high.   We want a knock-out birding trip - a trip that gives us the chance to be surrounded by a huge diversity of accessible birds.  Life lists are something my ma and I have begun to do, but that's not the focus of this trip. Since we are such novices, many birds are going to be lifers in Texas anyway - and if they are not lifers, their sheer numbers will be a life experience.

What experience do any of you have with High Island as a destination?  or Lower Rio Grande Valley?

We want to go somewhere special for about 7-10 days.  We want to be relaxed about it, easy-going.  We want to go at the right time - a time when lots of birds are present and traveling through. We want to go to the right place - a place that is easily accessible.  We don't want to have to contend with hordes of other people birding - or at least we want to be forewarned that's an issue and how best to deal with it.  We'd like to go next Spring.  I hope we are not starting our plans too late.  Some places get all booked up in advance, right?

Other issues we need to think about?

Thanks again,
Chris McClarren
St. Louis Missouri
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