This cool weather and a couple of inquiries have me thinking south Texas (a thought never too far from the forefront).  Once more I offer my personal Birder's Guide to the lower Rio Grande Valley (Falcon Dam to South Padre Island).  It is several pages of descriptions of birding sites and other material written especially for Missouri and other Midwest birders considering visiting the Valley for the first time.  I email it upon request.

Below is an excerpt from an email I received today from Keith Hackland, birder and owner of the Alamo Inn.  I have NO INTEREST in this business, just know it is an excellent base for birding the Valley.  It is centrally located and very near two of the best birding venues:  Santa Anna NWR and Estero Llano Grande SP.  

I go to the Valley for at least two weeks every yea, staying in a time share condo 2 blocks from the border.  I sometimes go down at other times,  sometimes alone. 

I include Keith's message here to reassure potential visitors that the Valley IS SAFE.     

Edge Wade
Columbia, MO
[log in to unmask]

From Keith Hackland:

I am writing to you because we faced a slow birding season last year when short stay reservations at the Inn were down. It could be the same this birding season. We know the problem and I think you can help.

The problem is that news of the border gives folk who are new to the Valley the impression that it is not safe here. So new birders are afraid of getting caught up in a melee and they are not visiting the Valley. We know this from the calls we receive here at the Inn and at the RGV Birding Festival. The Valley is very safe. The migrants crossing the river are looking for work, not for trouble. They typically go to the Border Patrol and hand themselves over. We seldom see anyone, except a few Border Patrol, around birding hot spots. If we see migrants they either know where they are going or ask for directions to Border Patrol, and are friendly.

I am writing to you because you have stayed with us and seen things first hand. So you know what it is like on the ground here, and you can share the correct information. The Valley is friendly and safe. Birding is great.

The RGV Birding Festival is great. Last winter, last spring, and this summer birding has been excellent. This fall is shaping up well. We have received steady rain since mid-August. The habitat is looking beautiful. We are enjoying flurries of hummingbirds at the Inn garden. Mary Beth is guiding birders in the field with great success. The border region in the Valley here is safe, it is calm, in fact it is quiet and normal. Please let your birding friends know this is a great fall and winter to bird the Valley, and to attend the RGV Birding Festival (which runs November 6 through 10).

If you will go to our web site,"http, please click on the menu item BLOG at the top of the page, and there you will find Mary Beth’s great stories of birding trips this summer, and during the past two years. You will see her excellent photos and you can read her humorous accounts. At you can see the line up of field trips and seminars. This year the Birding Festival is in the brand new Harlingen Convention Center, bigger and better.

The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
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