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6-10 NOVEMBER 2013 HARLINGEN, TEXAS

Buff-bellied Hummingbird Amazilia yucatanensis F.P. Bennett


2013 rgvbf 20th Anniversary

1.209.22RGVBF

INFORMATION SPONSORS

Atascosa Outlook B&B, BirdWatching Magazine, Bobby & Robin Farris, Boggus Ford, Canopy Tower and Lodge, Golden Palms Health & Retirement Center, Harlingen Arts & Heritage Museum, HEB, Hobie Kayaks, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Kowa Optimed, Opticron, Princeton University Press, Southwest Airlines, Valley Morning Star, Valley Transit Company, Vanguard Optics

WHO WE ARE President – Danny Hoehne Secretary - Norma Friedrich

Vice-President - David Schibi Treasurer – Wanda Greenhill

Claire Baker

Chair – Marci Fuller / Incoming Chair – Sue Griffin Linda DesRosiers Barbara Lindley Susan Stapleton David Friedrich Anne Mayville Stan Sterba

Cheryle Beck

Liz Gordon

Diana Miller

Rebecca Stirzaker

F.P. Tony Bennett

Mary Gustafson

Phil Nelson

Billy Snider

Bob Binney

Barbara Hall

Morgan Pate

Dorothy Timm

Mary Camp

Joyce Hamilton

Irma Pye

Marilyn Vincent

Erny Colunga

Gene Hanvy

Kenny Salazar

Fran Wolpin

Mark Conway

Susan Hoehne

Mona Sizer

Jan Wyrick

Dan Cravens

Huck Hutchens

TJ Soule

John Yochum

Kay Baughman

*A very special and large THANKS to Courtney Junkin and Sonny Martinez of the Harlingen Convention and Visitors Bureau. Also, to Pam Priour and the Harlingen Chamber of Commerce and to Gabe Gonzales and the City of Harlingen. You are the wind beneath our wings. 2

Information • Field Trips • Seminars • Birders Bazaar • Special Events • Family


RGVBF.ORG

2013 rgvbf 20th Anniversary

INFORMATION WELCOME

ar to be here It’s the year here. Why? It’s the 20th Annual Anniversary Event! Come fiesta with us and find out for yourself just why this granddaddy of nature events is held in such high esteem. Topnotch leaders and speakers, warm and affordable Harlingen, and of course, the biggest concentration of unique species in the U.S. Join us for the special anniversary edition of this favorite among festivals. – Bienvenidos! From the RGVBF Crew

CONTENTS Field Trips ................................................................................... 4-14 Schedule Overview................................................................... 18-19 Special Trips and PhotoTrack ............................................. 15-17, 20 Seminars ................................................................................. 21-26 Birders Bizaar ................................................................................ 27 Special Events .......................................................................... 28-29 Family ............................................................................................ 30 FAQ’s / How to Register / Area Information .............................. 31-35

Artist: We’re proud to announce the return of F.P. Tony Bennett, Harlingen’s own renowned Painter of Tropical Birds. And since Tony’s a specialist in hummingbirds, what better bird to feature than the Valley’s Buff-bellied Hummingbird! Tony has been with the Festival since the start, and produced the artwork for the first year, tenth year, and now the twentieth. Photographers: We’re mixing it up a bit this year with some RGVBF historical photos for our anniversary, plus some pix from two talented local photographers. Kenny Salazar has been the RGVBF’s online and website guru for five years now and Bill Supulski has supported the Fest with a stream of incredible images. Thanks, you two! Information • Field Trips • Seminars • Birders Bazaar • Special Events • Family

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2013 rgvbf 20th Anniversary

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FIELD TRIPS FIELD GUIDE TO THE ICONS

The RGVBF has long been famed for its low ratio of participants to leaders, and, also, the quality of its leaders. You may find yourself in the field with David Sibley or Kenn Kaufman or Jon Dunn. Or maybe Michael O'Brien and Kevin Karlson (The Shorebird Guide) or Bill Clark (Peterson’s Hawks of North America) or Jeffrey Gordon (ABA President)…and the list doesn’t end there!

IMPORTANT NOTES ON TRIPS: Please stay in or near Harlingen during the Festival. Trips cannot be met at the sites. Scopes and camera are fine on most trips. Icons just designate a better opportunity. For special trips designed for photographers, see RGVBF PhotoTrack section. Be prepared for sun and bugs on all trips. Water and water bottles provided. Vegetarian lunches available. Choose when registering online. The bus/van designation may change. We reserve the right to make adjustments as needed. Be aware that a van trip means a limited space trip, and one that probably sells out quickly. a special trip - new offering or distinctive leader or only conducted this year. * designatesCheck out the sidebars for special interest trip recommendations. Always, refer to rgvbf.org for the latest trip updates.

B. Supulski

ANZALDUAS and EDINBURG Fee $60 / Friday, Saturday 6a – 1p

Look above and beyond the picnic tables and the playground—Anzalduas will surprise and delight. You’ll understand why this riverside area’s fame goes beyond its county park status. The mature ash and live oak can hold quite a variety of species, both resident and rare. Time permitting, we’ll include some waterbird-watching at the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands World Birding Center. Targets: Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Black Phoebe, Zone-tailed Hawk (rare), Gray Hawk, Hook-billed Kite (rare), wintering warblers, kinglets, Green and Ringed Kingfisher.

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2013 rgvbf 20th Anniversary

FIELD TRIPS *The ART of BIRD OBSERVATION Fee $85 / Wednesday 7a – 3p

Sketching and beyond! Does the word ‘sketching’ scare you? Think you can't draw? Do your robins look like penguins? With a little help, anyone can learn to sketch birds, and your observation skills will increase doing so. Come spend a fun-filled day with four nationally-known bird artists who will take the mystery out of drawing birds. Along the way, they'll help you become a more astute observer regarding shape and structure and the distinguishing features between birds. What better place to hold this workshop than Estero Llano Grande State Park, one of the jewels of the Rio Grande Valley. We'll start with an indoor session, then move outside to the shaded deck, where potential subjects abound. We'll focus on the process, not the outcome, and above all helping you improve your observation skills. Note: Bring pencils, pad, erasers, and eyes. No artistic ability needed.

BENTSEN-RIO GRANDE STATE PARK Fee $60 / Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 6a – 12n

A mere state park? Nope. As the headquarters for the World Birding Center, Bentsen breaks its bounds into world renown, both for birds and butterflies. The forests are home to many of the Valley's bird specialties, the ramped tower gives great views into the skies, and the gardens surrounding the green-designed Visitor’s Center sport exciting butterfly sightings as well. Targets: Plain Chachalaca, Hook-billed Kite (rare), Gray Hawk, White-tipped Dove, Golden-fronted and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Green Jay, Clay-colored Thrush, Long-billed Thrasher, Olive Sparrow, Altamira Oriole.

*BIG DAY VANS Fee $85 / Wednesday 6a – 4:30p

Ever hear about Big Days and wonder what it would be like? Here’s your chance to get in on the action of one of our most talked about trips. Some call it ‘whirlbirding’--fast and furious fun. Prepare to be flexible, as destinations will be chosen by your skilled leaders, exercise those speedy get-on-it skills, and wear your fast shoes! Multiple vans will go out, bound for birds and friendly competition. A great choice for Festival returnees or even the adventurous first-timer (though no lingering for lifers!). Goals: Racking up an impressive day list—Valley specialties, anything, everything!

BIRD BANDING DEMONSTRATION Fee $60 / Sunday 7:30a – 11:30a

A bird in the hand is worth more…and find out why with biologist and nature educator Mark Conway, who has spent many years banding and studying local avian populations. Join Mark at Los Ebanos, a very special private reserve, for some close encounters and a chance to bird the lovely lawns, woods, and wetlands. Space is limited on this special offering. Related offering: Raptor Banding trip. Targets (both in hand and in field): White-tipped Dove, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Great Kiskadee, Green Jay, Long-billed Thrasher, Altamira Oriole.

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FIELD TRIPS BIRDING 101 WORKSHOP Fee $60 / Saturday 8a – 4p

Get hooked on this fast-growing and widespread hobby. Learn (or refresh!) the basics of birding—both visual and sound identification—in a combination of classroom tips and field trip fun. All this at Laguna Atascosa, the U.S.’s birdiest national wildlife refuge, with Richard Gibbons, Houston Audubon’s Director of Conservation. Goals: Developing basic birding skills, learning how to identify birds on your own, and seeing a nice variety of birds in the field.

*BIRDING by EAR with MICHAEL O’BRIEN Fee $85 / Thursday, Saturday 6a – 12n

Join well-known guide and author Michael O’Brien (Flight Calls of Migratory Birds CDROM, The Shorebird Guide, Peterson Field Guides) in this workshop designed to develop and improve your ability to describe and identify bird songs and calls. Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, with its mix of Texas thorn-scrub, freshwater marsh, and adjacent farm fields, will provide a rich diversity of bird sounds. Goals: To improve your field identification skills, and recognize many of Santa Ana’s common bird sounds by the end of the morning.

*BREAKFAST with the BIRDS at RIO COSTERO RANCH with Special Guests Kenn and Kim Kaufman Come enjoy true Texas hospitality and a delightful breakfast in a tranquil setting. The new owners of this 1,000 acre ranch near Laguna Atascosa are working with local, state and federal experts, energetically converting it from a historic hunting ranch to an ecologically balanced wildlife habitat, and will be proud to welcome you to their classic ranch. We suggest this trip for those that will enjoy some light birding, see conservation work in progress, learn area natural history, and unwind with a mimosa breakfast on this last day of the Festival.

Fee $60 / Sunday 7a – 12n

BROWNSVILLE EAST SOUTHMOST CHICA SOUTHMOSTPRESERVE PRESERVEAND andBOCA BOCA CHICA Fee $60 / Friday, Saturday 6a – 1p

Adjacent to the Sabal Palm Sanctuary is a little-known jewel of shared habitat—the Nature Conservancy’s Southmost Preserve. Festival-goers are being allowed access by special arrangement, so don’t miss the chance to visit this unique area, home to many of our specialties. Plus, a drive toward the Gulf on Boca Chica Road will offer a completely different habitat, one of coastal lagoons and oak mottes. ! Important: There is a US Border Patrol Check Station on Boca Chica Road. !(see alert below) Targets: Least Grebe, White-tailed Kite, Aplomado Falcon, Groove-billed Ani, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Tropical and Couch’s Kingbirds, Cassin’s Sparrow, Hooded and Altamira Oriole.

! ALERT: for Brownsville East and Whooper trips: U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Check Stations are involved with these trips. Each vehicle is subject to a quick inspection and basic questions. The process is routine, most stops are brief. All passengers need to carry one piece of proper identification (Drivers License, Passport, Student ID card) to verify U.S. Citizenship. Foreign nationals must have all appropriate documentation to avoid delay or detainment. If you are not a US or Canadian citizen, please contact us. Border Patrol agents are required to determine the immigration status of every traveler. Participants without proper ID will not be permitted to board vehicles.

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2013 rgvbf 20th Anniversary

FIELD TRIPS BROWNSVILLE WEST The RESACAS of UT and RESACA DE LA PALMA STATE PARK Fee $60 / Thursday 6a – 1p

Let’s be students for a bit and start our birding trip at the University of Texas in Brownsville. An interesting wild resaca (oxbow) of the Rio Grande curves through campus, sheltering waterbirds and songbirds. Plus the palms in this area are well-known as a prime place to search for both parrots and parakeets. Then on to the nearby and relatively new Resaca de la Palma World Birding Center, the largest tract in the WBC system, where several semitropical habitats should yield Valley species as well. Targets: Least Grebe, waterbirds, White-tailed Kite, White-Tipped Dove, Green Parakeet, Red-crowned Parrot, Groove-billed Ani, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Great Kiskadee, Tropical and Couch’s Kingbirds, Bewick’s Wren, wintering songbirds.

K. Salazar

BUTTERFLIES - RGV JEWELS Fee $85 / Friday 9a – 2p

South Texas natural treasures are not just avian--lepidoptera (butterflies) also offer fascinating and unique species here in the Valley. Did you know that the list of recorded butterfly species for just one of our parks goes beyond that of most entire state lists? Join our lep experts and visit the epicenter of American butterflying, the unique National Butterfly Center park and gardens. Targets: Mexican Bluewing, Bordered Patch, Texas Crescent, Guava Skipper, Potrillo Skipper, Mazan’s Scallopwing, Malachite.

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FIELD TRIPS

COLLEY'S ‘PRIVATE’ ISLAND Fee $85 / Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 6a – 1p

A special version of the South Padre Island trip, with island naturalists Scarlet and George Colley of Fins2Feathers. Scarlet is well-known for her years-long dolphin research, and the Colley's are strong voices for Island and surrounding Gulf areas conservation. Enjoy being out on the Laguna Madre bay in one of their two pontoon boats (weather permitting) and exploring the unique coastal lagoon eco-systems. Targets: Dolphins, Brown Pelican, Least Bittern, Reddish Egret, Roseate Spoonbill, Peregrine Falcon, Clapper Rail, Sora, Snowy and Piping Plovers, American Oystercatcher, Marbled Godwit, gulls, terns, and possible Mangrove (Yellow) Warbler.

B. Supulski

EASY (BUT NOT LESS!) BIRDING TOUR Fee $60 / Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 7a – 1p

Prefer or need less walking? These trips are designed for you. Bird from pleasant trams or electric carts that leisurely loop the wildlife drives and back roads of famous Valley refuges. And it’s become so popular, we’ve added on extra days and sites! Wednesday – Estero Llano Grande State Park Thursday – Bentsen Rio Grande State Park Friday – Estero Llano Grande State Park Saturday – Resaca de la Palma State Park Sunday – Santa Ana NWR Note: Entering and exiting vehicles and some walking at site still necessary. Restrooms available at site, but not on vehicles. These trips are made possible by the generosity of Valley Nature Center, Santa Ana NWR, and the World Birding Centers. Targets: See listings for each of these sites, in descriptions above and below. 8

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2013 rgvbf 20th Anniversary

FIELD TRIPS

*EL CANELO with ‘THE PRESIDENTS’ Fee $85 / Thursday 6a – 12n with Father Tom Pincelli / Friday 6a-12n with Jeffrey Gordon

Join the RGVBF’s past and longtime President, Father Tom, or the current American Birding Association’s President, Jeff, and bird this classic, well-known site. The Burdette’s El Canelo Ranch is still synonymous in the minds of many with Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls, but since this Kenedy County pristine brushland boasts a bird list of around 400, many other ranch-country specialties are possible. Targets: White-tailed Hawk, Crested Caracara, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Vermillion Flycatcher, Cave Swallow, Bewick’s Wren, Cactus Wren, Eastern Bluebird, Pyrrhuloxia.

ESTERO LLANO GRANDE GRAND TOUR Fee $60 / Sunday 6a – 12n

An in-depth exploration of one of the World Birding Center system's hottest sites. Reclaimed wetlands, marshes, and ponds--all part of the Arroyo Colorado--are fine habitats for shorebirds, waders, waterfowl, and beyond (keep your eyes out for the gator!). Add in boardwalks, trails through mature woodlands and thornscrub, active butterfly gardens, and a green-design visitor center--and you'll see why ELG has skyrocketed into deserved eco-fame. Related offering: Weslaco trip. Targets: Cinnamon Teal, a wide variety of herons and egrets, Common Pauraque, Buffbellied Hummingbird, Eastern Screech-Owl, Rose-throated Becard (rare), Northern Beardless Tyrannulet (rare), Vermillion Flycatcher, Black-throated Gray Warbler, alligator.

*GOLD SERIES - BIRDING with DAVID SIBLEY Fee $95 / Saturday 6a – 12n

A rare opportunity. David Allen Sibley worked on his bestselling field guide for thirty years. His encyclopedic talent will ensure a singular in-the-field experience. Travel to Estero Llano Grande State Park and learn how David looks at birds, allowing him to capture in his artwork not just their appearance, but their personality as well. Note: Once at site, depending on conditions, the trip registrants may split up and rotate sessions so every participant gets a smaller group experience with David. Goals: To promote a deeper understanding of birds and bird identification and spend time examining a few birds closely, looking for patterns of variation and connections between behavior, feathers, posture, shape, habitat, and more.

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2013 rgvbf 20th Anniversary

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FIELD TRIPS

*GOLD SERIES - BIRDING with JON DUNN Fee $95 / Wednesday, Friday 7a – 1p

A longtime favorite of RGVBF attendees, this trip sells out fast. Jon Dunn, author of the Peterson Field Guide to Warblers and co-author of both the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America and Birding Essentials will lead a limited lucky few for a special in-the-field learning experience at Estero Llano Grande State Park. Don’t miss the chance to meet and learn from one of America’s most admired birders. Goals: Learning how to look at birds, a better understanding of classification, and new skills to put to use wherever you go birding.

*GOLD SERIES - BIRDING with KENN KAUFMAN Fee $95 / Friday & Saturday 6a – 12n

The RGVBF is proud to offer this opportunity to be in the field with one of the birding world’s legends. On the extensive, birdy boardwalks of the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, expect to move more slowly with Kenn, spend more time in fewer areas, look at birds with intense focus and imagination, and appreciate each encounter. Goals: Practicing new approaches to looking at and listening to birds, in order to increase ability to ID them. Time not spent on rarities or a big species list, but instead, discovering some brand-new things about familiar birds. PLEASE NOTE: The days for this trip that are in print have been changed from Wed, Thu, Sat and are now offered on Fri and Sat.

K. Salazar

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FIELD TRIPS *KAYAKING the ARROYO COLORADO with James Currie

Sponsored in part by Hobie Kayaks and Atascosa Outlook B&B How about a bit of adventure? Want to see a Valley river as the Ringed Kingfisher does? An unusual birding experience, and with James Currie, host of Birding Adventures TV! This is a unique opportunity to experience the innovative hands-free possibilities of the stable and patented pedal-powered kayaks by Hobie, the hospitality of Atascosa Outlook B&B, and the wonderful birds of this interesting coastal yucca scrub habitat. Note: Climbing off and onto dock. Moderate to intense boating. Restrooms available at start and end. Sun. Wear shoes, clothing that can get wet. Targets: Neotropical Cormorant, Brown Pelican, Black Skimmer, Snowy Egret, Green and Ringed Kingfisher, plus hawks and waders. . Fee $85 / Thursday 7a – 1p

KING RANCH NORIAS Fee $85 / Thursday, Friday, Sunday 6a – 1p

The Valley is separated from the rest of Texas by mile after mile of grass-oak-thornscrub ranchland, and it’s mostly the famed King Ranch, one of the largest ranches in the world (larger than Rhode Island!). This popular trip will give you access to the Norias Unit, one of the state’s first wildlife reserves and established by the famed Kleberg family. Special species from this special region await. Targets: Wild Turkey, Least Grebe, White-tailed Hawk, Crested Caracara, Greater Roadrunner, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Vermilion Flycatcher, Sprague’s Pipit, Olive and Cassin’s Sparrows, Audubon’s Oriole.

LAGUNA ATASCOSA NWR Fee $60 / Friday, Saturday, Sunday 6a – 12n

Which National Wildlife Refuge has more bird species recorded than any other? Yup, this one. Its vast and varied landscape offers up species from woodlands to wetlands, lomas to lagoons. Plus the exceptional Visitor Center feeding stations and blinds are the place for potential up-close sightings and prime photo-ops. Keep your eyes open for javelina here, too. Targets: American White Pelican, Reddish Egret, Roseate Spoonbill, Crested Caracara, Aplomado Falcon, Snowy and Piping Plovers, Willet, Groove-billed Ani, Green Jay.

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FIELD TRIPS LEADER’S CHOICE VANS Fee $60 / Sunday 6a – 12n/1p

Want to chase that rare bird found on one of our trips? Missing some target birds? Hop on to one of our Leader’s Choice Vans, and hang onto your hat! Call it a Chase Van, call it a Clean-up Van, but be prepared to be flexible and have fun. Vans will divide up and head to various destinations in search of species chosen during the event from up-to-the-minute reports and field trip checklists. Leave your requests at the Registration Desk during the event on Friday, then check the clipboards on Saturday to choose your trip! Targets: Whatever's hot! No guarantees!

OLD PORT ISABEL ROAD - APLOMADO ALLEY Fee $60 / Thursday, Saturday, Sunday 7a-1p

Aplomado Falcons disappeared from South Texas in the 1940’s, but a successful Peregrine Fund reintroduction program was begun in earnest in 1993. Now, around 30 breeding pairs grace the coastal prairies, and Old Port Isabel Road cuts right through this area. Join the search to see this beautiful species, and usually a good variety of sparrows is a bonus! Note: Old PI Road is impassable in wet weather, so other productive routes will be chosen. Related Offering: Aplomado Falcons talk. Targets: Aplomado Falcon, Long-billed Curlew, White-tailed Hawk, Harris’s Hawk, Crested Caracara, White-tailed Kite, Sprague’s Pipit, wintering sparrows.

PARROTS OF THE AREA Fee $30 / Thursday, Friday, Saturday 4p – 6p

With the nesting season concluded, parrots and parakeets play hide-and-seek with us. Use your eyes and ears and join the search, while these colorful and countable tropical icons choose their nightly roost around our local urban areas. Targets: Green Parakeet, Red-crowned Parrot.

K. Salazar

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FIELD TRIPS *RAPTOR BANDING with BILL CLARK Fee $85 / Saturday 8a – 2p

A great opportunity for close encounters with birds of prey (prime photo ops!) with Bill Clark, author of Peterson Field Guide to Hawks of North America. Join Bill in his research on Harris's Hawks and White-tailed Hawks--marveling as he captures, measures, and bands these and other magnificent raptors of South Texas. Related Offerings: Bird Banding, Valley Raptors, Extreme Raptorshoot. Note: Restroom stops intermittent. Targets (both in hand and in field): Cooper's Hawk, Harris's Hawk, White-tailed Hawk, Redtailed Hawk, American Kestrel, and more!

RIVER PONTOON and QUINTA MAZATLAN Fee $85 / Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 6a – 1p

Step aboard the large and comfortable Riverside Dreamer, and see the Rio Grande in a new way. The wooded banks on either side can yield many of our area’s exceptional species and other exciting possibilities, too. As if this isn’t enough, we’ll then visit Quinta Mazatlan, the McAllen wing of the World Birding Center—with its historic hacienda, grounds, and trails. Note: Can be cool on boat in mornings. Don’t forget your jacket. Targets: Hook-billed Kite (rare), Gray Hawk, Sora, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Ringed and Green Kingfishers, Black Phoebe, Tropical and Couch’s Kingbirds, Green Jay, Clay-colored Thrush, Long-billed and Curve-billed Thrashers, Olive Sparrow.

SABAL PALM SANCTUARY Fee $60 / Thursday, Friday, Saturday 6a – 12n

It’s back! After being closed for nearly two years, the famous Sabal Palm Sanctuary is open again, under the management of the Gorgas Foundation. This forest of native palms is a remnant of an ecosystem that once lined the Rio Grande, and is unique to the U.S. Its shady depths and managed waterways shelter an interesting array of special Valley plants and animals. And see the birdfeeding area that’s active enough to sport a live cam! Targets: Least Grebe, White-tailed Kite, Plain Chachalaca, Groove-billed Ani, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Tropical and Couch’s Kingbird, Hooded and Altamira Oriole, Olive Sparrow.

SANTA ANA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE Fee $60 / Friday, Saturday 6a – 12n

Widely famous and justly so, with the second highest bird count (after Laguna Atascosa!) in the entire US NWR system, the riparian woodlands and cattail-lined waterways of Santa Ana are a great place to experience many of the Valley’s compelling species. A plus is the 40’ hawkwatch tower and suspended walkways, offering rare looks out over the forest canopy. Targets: Ducks, Plain Chachalaca, Least Grebe, waterbirds, Hook-billed Kite (rare), Long-billed Dowitcher, Groove-billed Ani (rare), Ringed and Green Kingfishers, Northern Beardless Tyrannulet, Green Jay, Clay-colored Thrush, Olive Sparrow.

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FIELD TRIPS

SEEDEATER SOJOURN Fee $95 / Wednesday, Thursday 5a – 4:30p

Let’s get right to it: White-collared Seedeaters. Often, but not always seen, this tiny tropical species roosts in the giant cane along the river, but forages afield during the day. We’ll go where our current scouting and recent reports indicate the best chances for this sought-after species. But beyond Seedeaters, many other birds are worth the long trip (3 hrs each way) to this distinctive region of drier, desert-like brushlands and villages steeped in regional history. Targets: Scaled Quail, Red-billed Pigeon (rare), Vermilion Flycatcher, Chihuahuan Raven, Cactus and Bewick’s Wrens, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher (rare), White-collared Seedeater, Olive and Black-throated Sparrows, Pyrrhuloxia, Audubon’s Oriole.

*SHOREBIRD ID with KEVIN KARLSON Fee $85 / Friday, Sunday 6a – 1p

How about a trip with one of the authors of The Shorebird Guide and trip to study that group that often confounds and befuddles? Join Kevin on this in-depth field trip, which emphasizes a more complete approach to shorebird identification using both non-changeable physical impressions and details of plumage and feather patterns. Suitable for birders of all levels, but limited space will give a lucky intimate group a great experience. Targets: Reddish Egret, Roseate Spoonbill, Clapper Rail, Sora, Snowy and Piping Plovers, American Oystercatcher, Marbled Godwit, gulls including Franklin’s, Forster’s, Royal, and Sandwich Terns, Black Skimmer.

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND Fee $85 / Thursday, Saturday 6a – 1p

Sure, Spring Breakers migrate here in mid-March, but the birds make full use of this sub-tropical paradise year round. Explore boardwalks in coastal marshes, check out the concentrated woodlots, and enjoy a cruise on the lovely Laguna Madre (get it? Father Island, Mother Lagoon). Always a popular trip, so sign up early. Related offerings: Colley's ‘Private’ Island, Shorebird ID with Karlson, Gold Series Kaufman. Targets: Brown Pelican, Least Bittern, Reddish Egret, Roseate Spoonbill, Peregrine Falcon, Clapper Rail, Sora, Snowy and Piping Plovers, American Oystercatcher, Marbled Godwit, Franklin’s Gull, Forster’s, Royal, and Sandwich Terns, Black Skimmer, Marsh Wren, lingering migrant songbirds.

*SUNSETS, BIRDS, BEERS DIGISCOPING TRIP – see listing in PhotoTrack,

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FIELD TRIPS UPPER RIO GRANDE Fee $85 / Thursday, Friday 5a – 2p

Lucky for us, birds don’t recognize our international border. The river’s wooded edges and the arid uplands of Starr County are rich with both riparian sub-tropical and desert southwest species. Visit the birding places with the famous names: Salineño, Chapeño, and the Falcon Dam area. Note: If (IF) a Brown Jay appears, we’ll spend time looking for it! Targets: Muscovy Duck, Scaled Quail (rare), Hook-billed Kite (rare), Gray Hawk, Zone-tailed Hawk, Red-billed Pigeon (rare), Common Ground-Dove, White-tipped Dove, Greater Roadrunner, Green and Ringed Kingfishers, Cactus Wren, Verdin, Black-throated Sparrow, Pyrrhuloxia, Hooded, Altamira, and Audubon’s Orioles.

UPPER RIO GRANDE with JEFFREY GORDON Fee $95 / Wednesday 5a – 4p

The Grand Tour version of the above offering. Salineño, Chapeño, Falcon Dam, then add in a private ranch and being in the field with American Birding Association President Jeffrey Gordon. Targets: Muscovy Duck, Scaled Quail (rare), Hook-billed Kite (rare), Gray Hawk, Zone-tailed Hawk, Red-billed Pigeon (rare), Common Ground-Dove, White-tipped Dove, Greater Roadrunner, Green and Ringed Kingfishers, Cactus Wren, Verdin, Black-throated Sparrow, Pyrrhuloxia, Hooded, Altamira, and Audubon’s Orioles.

B. Supulski

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FIELD TRIPS *VALLEY RAPTORS with BILL CLARK Fee $95 / Wednesday 6a – 4p

Soak up the encyclopedic birds-of-prey knowledge of Bill Clark, author of Peterson Field Guide to Hawks of North America and A Photographic Guide to North American Raptors. Bill has traveled the globe and studied many of the world’s raptors, but now calls the Valley home, and that is a testament to the special species this area offers. Related offerings: Raptor Banding trip; Extreme Raptor Photoshoot Targets: White-tailed Hawk, Hook-billed Kite (rare), Gray Hawk, Harris’s Hawk, Crested Caracara, Aplomado Falcon.

K. Salazar

*WESLACO Fee $60 / Thursday 6a – 1p

Pronounce it WES-luh-co and sound like a local. This mid-Valley town boasts prominent birding spots. The World Birding Center’s Estero Llano Grande State Park offers boardwalks through reclaimed wetlands and tropical woodlands. Frontera Audubon Thicket has historically been a hotbed of vagrants. If time permits, Valley Nature Center will be visited as well—an urban oasis where a Crimson-collared Grosbeak was found during a previous Festival. All these parks have productive butterfly plantings as well. Related offering: Estero Llano Grande, above. Targets: Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Harris’s Hawk, Stilt Sandpiper, Common GroundDove, White-tipped Dove, Common Pauraque, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Green Kingfisher, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Tropical and Couch’s Kingbirds, Clay-colored Thrush, Longbilled and Curve-billed Thrashers, Summer Tanager, Lesser Goldfinch, butterflies. 16

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2013 rgvbf 20th Anniversary

FIELD TRIPS BEGINNER? Beginners are always welcome on all trips. Some sites are easier for new birders to spot birds and enjoy their trip. We recommend: • Art of Bird Observation • Bentsen State Park • Weslaco • Bird Banding • River Pontoon • Birding 101 • Santa Ana NWR

BEEN BEFORE? Interesting choices beyond the famous parks: • Art of Bird Observation • Colley’s ‘Private’ Island • Big Day Vans • Gold Series Trips • El Canelo • Kayaking the Arroyo

• Raptor Banding

EASIER? For those that need minimal walking: • Art of Bird Observation • Easy, But Not Less • Breakfast with the Birds • Laguna Atascosa • Colley’s Private Island • Parrots of the Area

• Raptor Banding • River Pontoon

CLASSICS? First trip to the Valley? Here are the famous not-to-be-missed sites: • Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park • Sabal Palm Sanctuary • Estero Llano Grande State Park • Santa Ana NWR • King Ranch • South Padre Island • Laguna Atascosa NWR • Upper Rio Grande

FAMILY? Families are welcome on any trip, and the following would be a special experience: • Art orf Bird Observation • Raptor Banding • Bird Banding • River Pontoon • Birding 101 • South Padre Island • Parrots of the Area

Information • Field Trips • Seminars • Birders Bazaar • Special Events • Family

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SCHEDULE 5:00a 5:30a 6:00a 6:30a 7:00a 7:30a 8:00a 8:30a 9:00a 9:30a 10:00a 10:30a 11:00a 11:30a 3 - 6 NOV TUE 5 NOV WED 6 NOV

SOUTH TEXAS PHOTO SAFARI PRE-FESTIVAL TRIP REGISTRATION OPEN SEEDEATER - UPPER RG:GORDON BIG DAY VANS - VALLEY RAPTORS:CLARK COLLEYS BENTSEN

THU 7 NOV

ART OF OBSERVATION PHOTO NATURE:DITTO EASY ELG - GOLD:DUNN REGISTRATION OPEN SEEDEATER UPPER RIO GRANDE BIRDING EAR:O'BRIEN - EL CANELO:PINCELLI - SABAL B'VILLE W - COLLEYS - KING R - PONTOON - SOUTH PI - WESLACO EASY BENTSEN - KAYAK - OLD PI RD

FRI 8 NOV

REGISTRATION OPEN UPPER RIO GRANDE BENTSEN-EL CANELO:GORDON-LAGUNA-GOLD:KAUFMAN-SABAL-SANTA ANA ANZALDUAS - B'VILLE EAST - COLLEYS - KING RANCH - PONTOON -SHORBRD:KARLSON EASY ESTERO - GOLD:DUNN BUTTERFLIES PHOTO OPS:HOYT

GET STARTED BIRDIN

SAT 9 NOV

REGISTRATION OPEN BENTSEN-BIRD EAR:O'BRIEN-LAGUNA-GOLD:KAUFMAN/SIBLEY-SABAL-SANTA ANA ANZAL - B'VILLE EAST - COLLEYS - PONTOON - SOUTH PI

EASY RESACA - OLD PI RD RAPTOR BANDING:CLARK BIRDING 101 PHOTO VALLEY SPECIALTIES:DITTO RAPTOR PROJ

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2013 rgvbf 20th Anniversary

SCHEDULE 12:00n 12:30p 1:00p 1:30p 2:00p 2:30p 3:00p 3:30p 4:00p 4:30p 5:00p 5:30p 6p 6:15p 7:00p 7:30p 8:00p

REGISTRATION OPEN at FAIR PARK COMPLEX

WARBLERS:WHITTLE+Sign

FIELD ID:KAUFMAN

KICK OFF RECEPTION

BIRDS SUNSETS BEERS Signings:Dunn,Kaufman,Whittle PARROTS PHOTOclass:HOYT CONSULTS:HOYT RTP in RGV:KAUFMAN APLOMADOS:THOMPSON BIRDERS BAZAAR RAPTOR SHOW

RAPTOR SHOW

Signings:Thompson,Clark

HUMANS LOVE BIRDS:EMANUEL

KISKADEE KORDIAL

Signings:Shackelford

PARROTS CONSULTS:DITTO

G PLUME HUNTER:THOMPSON HUMMERS:SHACKELFORD PSYCH of ID:SIBLEY+Signing BIRDERS BAZAAR RAPTOR SHOW RAPTOR SHOW KISKADEE KORDIAL

Signings:Sibley,Karlson,O'Brien PARROTS Signings:Stiteler FAMILY PROGRAM

URBAN:LINDO+Sign

MANAKINS:BOSTWICK

QUIZ:GORDON

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SPECIAL TRIPS / PHOTOTRACK

B. Supulski

The RGVBF PHOTOTRACK PRE-FEST WEDNESDAY THURSDAY

FRIDAY SATURDAY

SUNDAY

Photo Safari with Ruth Hoyt Sunday-Wednesday Photographing Nature on SPI with Larry Ditto Birds and Sunsets, Digiscoping on SPI with Clay Taylor and Sharon Stiteler Photo Ops Class with Ruth Hoyt Consult Sessions with Ruth Hoyt Photo Ops Field with Ruth Hoyt Consult Sessions with Larry Ditto Photographing Valley Specialties with Larry Ditto and Bill Supulski Photo Ops Class with Ruth Hoyt Consult Sessions with Ruth Hoyt Photo Ops Field with Ruth Hoyt Extreme Raptorshoot with Jonathan Wood

K. Salazar

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2013 rgvbf 20th Anniversary

SPECIAL TRIPS / PHOTOTRACK PRE-FESTIVAL TRIP SOUTH TEXAS PHOTO SAFARI with Ruth Hoyt Fee $1275 / Sunday 3 Nov – Wednesday 6 Nov

The RGVBF is proud to offer this unparalleled pre-festival adventure with Ruth Hoyt, professional nature photographer, tour leader, and author of The Nature Photographer’s Guide to the RGV of South Texas ebook. She has selected three of the finest shooting locations around the Rio Grande Valley, and two of them allow private access to premier South Texas ranches. Sunday afternoon, meet your group and travel together to a local state park with a wonderful wetland to get acquainted, go over equipment use, ask questions, and experience a variety of photo opportunities. Then to the first of two private historic ranches with lodging, welldesigned photography blinds, and productive waterholes. After a final dinner together Wednesday evening, return to the Harlingen Municipal Auditorium Complex in time to join the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival with its full complement of wonderful trips on the next day, Thursday. *Important Facts: Limited to 8 lucky participants. Designed for the advanced amateur and above, using DSLR and 300mm lens or longer for birds. Included: All transportation from the Harlingen Municipal Auditorium Complex and back, experienced leader, meals, 3 nights lodging (Sunday, Monday and Tuesday). Please note that ranch lodging is very comfortable, but restricted to 4 doubles. Sharing of bedrooms and bathrooms necessary—all part of the adventure! (Singles discouraged, but possible by special arrangement and at significant additional cost). A complete itinerary and detailed information will be sent to you upon registration. A certain number of participants is required, so please check with us before making airline arrangements. Not included: Lodging in Harlingen before and after. *Questions: Ruth Hoyt ruthhoyt@hotmail.com

PHOTOGRAPHY on SPI with Larry Ditto Fee $180 / Wednesday 6a – 3p

A one-day workshop with esteemed pro Larry Ditto—whose work has appeared in many national publications—and on South Padre Island! Learn how to take full advantage of the Island’s photographic advantages with personal assistance and great shot opportunities. Come with a basic working knowledge of your camera, bring telephoto and/or macro lenses, tripod, plenty of flash cards, spare battery, and, most importantly, your camera manuals! Goals: Improve composition skill; learn appropriate f stop, shutter speeds and ISO settings; understand your camera’s controls and custom functions; learn how and when to use flash; discover how to get sharp, pleasing, successful photos.

SUNSETS, BIRDS, and BEERS

with Clay Taylor & Sharon Stiteler Sponsored by Swarovski Optik Spotting scope photo systems are really coming into their own and the options are expanding with camera and smartphone pairings. Clay and Sharon will cover it all on South Padre Island’s famous birding boardwalks that just happen to be perfectly situated for the Island’s lovely sunsets as well! Sunset shooting followed by dinner at a favorite SPI restaurant. Important: Before registering, email Clay to discuss equipment owned and perhaps needed: Clay.Taylor@swarovskioptik.us or Sharon to discuss smartphone needs: sharon@birdchick.com Note: Trip will return to auditorium complex after the day’s Festival events are concluded and the complex will be locked. Fee $150 / Thursday 2p-8p

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SPECIAL TRIPS / PHOTOTRACK PHOTO OPS RANCH STYLE with Ruth Hoyt Fee $250 Thursday 1:30p-3:00p Class and Friday 6:00a-2:00p Field (two parts, one session, one fee) Saturday 1:30p-3:00p Class and Sunday 6:00a-2:00p Field (two parts, one session, one fee)

If you are a birder who believes a camera is as vital to carry as binoculars, this special trip is designed for you. Led by professional photographer Ruth Hoyt, a select group will enjoy the privilege of not only benefiting from her experience and knowledge, but also doing so at a premier private South Texas ranch that is set up for professional-level photography with photoblinds and waterholes for stellar shooting opportunities. This unique offering filled up immediately last year, so register now! Important: In two parts on paired days--both included for the one price. In the afternoon, meet Ruth in class at the Fair Park Municipal Complex, site of the Festival, for instruction on equipment choice and use, exposure techniques, etc. The in-field ranch section occurs the next morning. Outhouse restroom available. No electricity on site. Designed for the advanced amateur and above.

PHOTOGRAPHING VALLEY SPECIALTIES Fee $150 / Saturday 9a – 3p with Larry Ditto and Bill Supulski A shorter workshop offering at a surprising location – the North American Butterfly Association’s unique park, with its brand-new photo-friendly birdfeeding area. This is probably the best place to easily shoot Green Jays, Chachalacas, Olive Sparrows, Altamira Orioles, and other Valley gems. Combine this with personal in-the-field assistance and although this workshop may be a bit shorter, it won’t be less! Goals: Improve composition skill; learn appropriate f stop, shutter speeds and ISO settings; understand your camera’s controls and custom functions; learn how and when to use flash; discover how to get sharp, pleasing, successful photos.

PHOTOGRAPHY CONSULTATION SESSIONS with Larry Ditto and Ruth Hoyt Fee $100 / Thursday, Friday, Saturday, times below

Here’s an unparalleled chance for a one-on-one learning experience with a pro. Bring your equipment and photos on a flash drive and ask all those questions you’ve always wanted to ask. Get professional feedback on composition and soak up all the tips and tricks your 45minute session will allow. Conducted at ‘Festival Central’ – the Municipal Complex. With Ruth Hoyt: Thursday 3:15p-4.00p / 4:15p-5:00p Saturday 3:15p-4:00p / 4:15p-5:00p With Larry Ditto: Friday 1:15p-2:00p / 2:15p-3:00p / 3:15p – 4p / 4:15p-5:00p

EXTREME RAPTORS PHOTOSHOOT with Jonathan Wood Fee $125 / Sunday 7a - 9a

An outstanding opportunity! Join Master Falconer and pro photographer Jonathan Wood of Raptor Project Inc. and his collection of eagles, hawks, falcons and owls in outdoor natural settings, with both perching and free-flight premium shooting situations. Attendance for this unique and popular event will be limited. Sign up early! 22

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2013 rgvbf 20th Anniversary

SPECIAL TRIPS / POST-FESTIVAL TRIP POST-FESTIVAL TRIP WHOOPERS and WADERS with Louise Zemaitis & Michael O’Brien Fee $ 550 / Monday 11 Nov – Wednesday 13 Nov

Whooping Cranes are one of the rarest of the world’s birds, and among the most majestic. The bulk of the current population winter in Aransas NWR, just a few hours drive northeast of the Valley. Round out your South Texas experience by traveling with us on a post-Festival journey to see this magnificent and important species, along with a long list of waterfowl, herons, shorebirds, raptors, and more. We'll travel north through the fascinating King Ranch country, take a coastal waters cruise aboard the famous Skimmer, visit other birdy places in the vicinity, and stay in the lovely Rockport/Fulton area--a prime base for exploring the north of South Texas. *Important Facts: Group size will be limited to 16 participants, with 2 leaders. Included: All transportation from the Harlingen Municipal Auditorium Complex or Country Inn & Suites and back, experienced guides, meals, 2 nights lodging. Fee based on double occupancy. Single Supplement $100. A complete itinerary and detailed information will be sent to you upon registration. Not included: Lodging in Harlingen pre- and post-tour, Sunday and Wednesday nights. (see alert below) A certain number of participants is required, so please talk with us before making airline arrangements. *Questions: Louise Zemaitis swallowtailstudio@comcast.net

!

!

! ALERT: for Brownsville East and Whooper trips: U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Check Stations are involved with these trips. Each vehicle is subject to a quick inspection and basic questions. The process is routine, most stops are brief. All passengers need to carry one piece of proper identification (Drivers License, Passport, Student ID card) to verify U.S. Citizenship. Foreign nationals must have all appropriate documentation to avoid delay or detainment. If you are not a US or Canadian citizen, please contact us. Border Patrol agents are required to determine the immigration status of every traveler. Participants without proper ID will not be permitted to board vehicles.

T. Moore

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SEMINARS WARBLER WORKSHOP Fee $15 / Wednesday 1:00p-2:30p Sponsored by Princeton University Press Everyone’s raving about The Warbler Guide by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle, just published and setting a new standard. The RGVBF is proud to have Scott conducting this fun and informative workshop. He’ll go over their new system of identification that uses the views that you actually get, not the idealized views that happen so infrequently. Learn how just a little more attention to detail, coupled with knowledge of habitat, behavior and special points like color impressions can lead to greatly improved identification ability. Also covered will be their in-depth analysis of warbler vocalizations, an extremely effective tool for truly understanding and remembering birdsong. Join Scott and bring your warbler skills up to the next level! Book available for sale and a Signing will follow. Scott Whittle lives in Cape May, New Jersey, where he teaches bird photography and identification. He is co-author of The Warbler Guide with Tom Stephenson. Scott has twenty years of experience as a professional photographer and educator, and holds an MFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York. He is a Fellow of the MacDowell Colony and is a one-time New York State Big Year record holder.

FIELD ID WORKSHOP - Principles and Pitfalls Fee $15 / Wednesday 3:00p - 4:30p Sponsored in part by Birds and Blooms Magazine Birding is more fun when we can identify more of the birds we see. What does it take to increase our ID skill? It’s not simply a matter of learning field marks. Often we can memorize all the field marks for a species and still have trouble identifying it, while in other cases we may recognize a bird without seeing any traditional field marks at all. In this workshop, based on a section from Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding, Kenn will talk about some basic principles that apply to all birds—principles that make it possible to name birds with more accuracy and confidence. He’ll also discuss some surprising pitfalls of ID, and how to avoid being tripped up by them. Kenn Kaufman needs little introduction. Lifelong birder and naturalist, Kenn is the only person to have received the American Birding Association’s lifetime achievement award twice–in 1992 and again in 2008. He has led nature tours on all seven continents, he’s a field editor for Audubon, writes for every birding magazine, and his books have been published in three languages. His own Kaufman Field Guides series includes guides to North American birds (in English and Spanish), advanced birding, butterflies, mammals, insects, and, most recently, the nature of New England.

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SEMINARS RTP IN THE RGV: HOW MODERN BIRDING WAS SHAPED BY HISTORY Fee $12 / Thursday 1:30p-2:30p Sponsored in part by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Sponsored by Princeton University Press Birding today is an amazing thing, complex and varied and exciting. Once we’re caught up in the excitement of it, we may not stop to think about WHY the details of modern birding are the way they are. But in fact, most aspects of birding in 2013 have their roots in things that happened decades ago. In this program, Kenn Kaufman hits the high points of recent history to show how we got to where we are now, by investigating the life of Roger Tory Peterson, the most influential birder of the 20th century. Through equal parts of genius and coincidence, Peterson managed to have an impact in a surprising number of different fields. Since Peterson spoke at the very first RGV Birding Festival in 1994, this is an appropriate time to consider his influence on the present and future of birding. Kaufman books available for sale and a Signing will follow. Kenn Kaufman, see bio previous.

The APLOMADO FALCONS of SOUTH TEXAS Fee $12 / Thursday 3:30p-5:00p For over 25 years The Peregrine Fund has been working with ranchers, agencies, and volunteers to restore and recover Aplomados to the grassland landscapes of South Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico. Early historic records from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s imply a healthy population, but a decline was noticed beginning in the 1930’s, and the lovely, colorful Aplomado Falcon was classified as an Endangered Species on February 25, 1986. Hear the history and learn the future of this special species from Steve Thompson, who was the Refuge Manager at Laguna Atascosa NWR when this terrific project began. Steve Thompson is now retired from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, after a long and esteemed career. He began as a wildlife biologist at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon, worked in Washington and Nevada, and then at Laguna Atascosa from 1989-1995. Steve finished as Regional Director for the California and Nevada Region, managing 51 National Wildlife Refuges and 3 National Fish Hatcheries. Steve is a competitive swimmer, avid birdwatcher, and hunter. He and his wife Renée (also a speaker!) have two grown daughters and live in Granite Bay, California.

B. Supulski

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SEMINARS WHY HUMANS LOVE BIRDS Fee $20 / Thursday 6:15p What is it about birds? Why have they fascinated mankind through the ages, more so than any other group of living things? Victor Emanuel will share his vast experience and insight to answer these questions, then move on to discuss just how profoundly people’s lives are changed by watching birds. Victor Emanuel started birding in Texas 64 years ago at the age of 8, and his travels have taken him to all the continents. In addition to his well-known company, Victor Emanuel Nature Tours, his list of accomplishments is legendary - founder and compiler for 50 years of the record-breaking Freeport Christmas Bird Count, board member of the American Bird Conservancy, past president of the Texas Ornithological Society, recipient of Houston Audubon’s Roger Tory Peterson Excellence in Birding Award, and also the American Birding Association’s Roger Tory Peterson Award, plus Cornell Lab’s Arthur A. Allen Award. He initiated the first birding camps for young people, and considers that one of his greatest achievements. Victor holds a B.A. in zoology and botany from the University of Texas and an M.A. in government from Harvard.

GET STARTED BIRDING Free! / Friday 10:30a – 12n So what’s this birding thing all about? What are all these happy people doing? The RGVBF would like to share its passion with you. Enjoy a tag team of national and local experts that will cover topics ranging from an introduction to birding, how to use binoculars, how to use a field guide, basic identification tips, and concluding with slides of special Valley birds. Find out for yourself why 48 million Americans (USFW study) called themselves birdwatchers! Presenters: Norma Friedrich, Arroyo Colorado Audubon Society President; Richard K Walton, Peterson Field Guide series author; Ben Lizdas, Eagle Optics Sales Manager; Kay Baughman, Arroyo Colorado Riverblog author.

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SEMINARS THE PLUME HUNTER Fee $12 / Friday 1:30p-2:30p Journey back to the 1800s when vast populations of wild birds filled the skies in annual migrations. But in 1885 alone, more than five million birds were killed in the United States for the millinery industry, prompting the formation of the Audubon Society. Hear Renee Thompson’s recount of this surprising slice of history, based on her acclaimed novel, The Plume Hunter. As David Sibley says, “The novel brings to life an era of our country’s natural history seldom explored in fiction…a fascinating glimpse into the life of a bird hunter and the complex social, economic and personal issues swirling around the birth of the conservation movement.” Book available for sale and a Signing will follow. Renee Thompson writes about wildlife, her love of birds, and the people who inhabit the American West. Her first novel, The Bridge at Valentine, received high praise from Pulitzer Prize-winner Larry McMurtry, author of Lonesome Dove. Renée lives in Northern California with her husband, Steve (also a speaker-see his Aplomado talk, above), and is at work on a short story collection. The Plume Hunter will be on sale during the Festival and a booksigning opportunity will follow this talk.

HUMMERS of TEXAS Fee $12 / Friday 3:30p - 5:00p The RGVBF’s 20th anniversary year’s bird is the Buff-bellied Hummingbird, so let’s visit this amazing avian family. Enjoy an introduction to 18 species of hummingbirds by the author of Hummingbirds of Texas, followed by an informative section on how to attract hummingbirds to your backyard. Also learn why hummingbirds are important to us and why we should take particular care with these special creatures. Book available for sale and a Signing will follow. Cliff Shackelford was born in Dallas and is a 7th generation Texan. He started birdwatching at the age of nine, and is currently the statewide Nongame Ornithologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Cliff is the first author of Hummingbirds of Texas, published by Texas A&M University Press in 2005 and revised in 2009. He has also authored over 60 publications on birds and birding, with over a dozen appearing in peer-reviewed journals. Cliff and his wife, Julie, and their 2 young children live amongst towering pines and hardwoods in Nacogdoches, Texas.

B. Supulski

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SEMINARS The PSYCHOLOGY of BIRD IDENTIFICATION Fee $20 / Friday 6:15p Bird identification is the central challenge of birding, and we all strive to improve our skills and to identify more birds, more quickly and accurately. Countless references and guides suggest that the birder who wants to avoid misidentifications should learn more about the fine points of plumage, molt, and subspecies, but the fact is that most mistakes involve glitches in perception. No amount of knowledge and preparation can prevent us from blurting out “Snowy Owl!” when the time is right and we see a white plastic bag in an open field. Our brains, and the very short-cuts that we use with phenomenal success to identify birds, are also the source of most misidentifications. This talk will focus on the psychological aspects of bird identification–how we subconsciously use patternrecognition, expectations, suggestion, and other clues–and how those methods can lead us to misidentify birds with complete confidence. Books available for sale and a Signing will follow. David Allen Sibley began painting birds when he was seven years old and has continued painting them for over three decades. The Sibley Guide to Birds, published in the year 2000, was the realization of a lifelong dream for David. It contains over 6,600 original illustrations by Sibley himself, and became the fastest selling bird book in history. He has also published Sibley’s Birding Basics, The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior, and The Sibley Guide to Trees.

The RAPTOR PROJECT PROGRAM Free! / Saturday 11a - 12n See Family Activities page for full rundown of this great offering. Everyone welcome!

ADVENTURES of THE URBAN BIRDER Fee $12 / Saturday 1:30p - 2:30p Sponsored by South Texas Nature Hailing from the UK, David Lindo is an urban birder. His mission in life is to try and engage city dwellers into the wonders of the urban nature that is below their noses and above their heads. During his talk he will take you on a wander around some of the world’s cities to discover their not so hidden birdlife. He hopes that you will see that there is wildlife everywhere, even in the heart of the most concrete of jungles. Book available for sale and a Signing will follow. David Lindo, broadcaster, writer, speaker, tour leader, is well-known in the British birding scene. Previously Head of Membership at the British Trust for Ornithology, David is the author of countless articles on urban birds and writes for many websites, publications, and magazines including Birds for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Bird Watching Magazine, Britain’s best-selling birding publication, and the award-winning BBC Wildlife Magazine. He is a regular television and radio presenter—the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 in the UK, as well as TV channels and radio stations around the world, including CBS in the U.S. He is involved with numerous conservation trusts and organizations. His book, The Urban Birder, was published in August 2011, and his next book Look Up!, a guide to watching birds in urban areas, will be out in the spring of 2014.

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SEMINARS HOW and WHY MANAKINS ROCK: From Moonwalkers to Violiners, the Amazing Stories of these “Little Men” Fee $12 / Saturday 3:30p - 4:30p Tropical Topics Series You probably saw the viral video, now meet the dancing manakin scientist. Join Bostwick to dive into one of the most puzzling and amazing of all bird phenomena: the Club-winged Manakin, a small songbird from the Cloud Forests of the Andean slope who creates seemingly inexplicable sounds with wing feathers. How he does it is full of jaw-dropping surprises. Then look at 4 other species of manakins with Bostwick, each with their own equally unique and amazing behaviors. Using audio, video, and gorgeous photos, Bostwick will guide you through the evolutionary history of the feathers, bones, behaviors and sounds that led to the unique abilities of the Club-winged Manakin. Kimberly Bostwick discovered and obsessively explored birding between graduating from Cornell (B.S. in Biology) in 1992 and enrolling in graduate school at the University of Kansas in 1995. After seeing and hearing for herself over 500 species of birds in North America, Kim returned her full attention to a career in Ornithology, and received her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary biology in 2002. Since then, she has worked as the curator of birds and mammals at the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates. Bostwick’s research focuses on avian behavior, functional morphology (how bodies work), and evolution of wing-sounds in birds, and has allowed her to travel all over Central and South America, South Africa, and Papua New Guinea to audio- and video-record birds. In 2005 Bostwick was featured in the “Deep Jungles” three-part series of Nature, where she danced like a Red-capped Manakin to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean”. This clip of video was extracted and posted to YouTube where it went viral and has been viewed by millions, spawned many knock-offs, and brought great fame and fans to a very deserving but otherwise little-known bird. Her research on the Club-winged Manakin has also been featured in National Geographic.

GREAT SOUTH TEXAS BIRDING QUIZ SHOW Free! / Saturday 6:15p Sponsored by Eagle Optics The encores keep getting louder and louder! This offering has been so popular, it’s now in its fifth season. Join our quizmaster, ABA President Jeffrey Gordon, in a TV-style game show format, a multimedia production of birding trivia and friendly competition. You’ll be laughing, cheering, learning, and seeing a different side of some of your favorite birding personalities, authors, and leaders. Audience participation with great prizes, made possible by the generous support of Eagle Optics. Jeffrey A. Gordon is President of the American Birding Association. His birding career as a writer, naturalist, and speaker includes Field Editor for Bird Watcher’s Digest, interpretive naturalist at national parks and at the Valley’s own Santa Ana NWR, and speaking engagements at festivals and organizations across the country. He spent 12 years leading birding tours worldwide for Victor Emanuel Nature Tours and authored 11 of the chapters in Identify Yourself.

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SPECIAL EVENTS

J. Sill 1998

D. Sibley 2001

J. Brumfield 2010

WELCOME KICK-OFF RECEPTION Wednesday / 5p - 7p Let’s launch this Festival and get it flying right! The lovely Harlingen Arts & Heritage Museum is the grand host for this fun reception. Meet your fellow participants, plus the leaders, speakers, vendors, and the Festival folk that make it all happen. Located conveniently right near the airport at 2425 Boxwood St. Harlingen, 78550 (see map in brochure and online). Hors d’oeuvres, beverages, live music—don’t miss it!

KISKADEE KORDIAL Thursday, Friday, Saturday / 5p - 6p You are kordially invited: Come one, come all to the Birders Bazaar for fun conversation, light appetizers, and, of course, kordials! Wines poured or kegs tapped or the margarita machine fired up for this popular and perfect prelude to the evening’s keynote presentation immediately following. Meet and mingle, chat and sip with your fellow Festival-goers and your leaders, the speakers, and…well… everyone!

BIG SIT! Saturday / 6:00a - 6:00p Does counting birds for twelve hours from within a 17’ circle sound like fun? You bet! Especially when the challenge is on: Help us beat the Big Sitters from September’s Midwest Birding Symposium up in Lakeside, Ohio! Join a rotating group of optics reps, field trip leaders, and Festival-goers for a come-and-go casual event on the Fair Park complex grounds. You can even try out some optics. Sit for a bit, get a button, and be eligible for a prize drawing. Go RGVBF! 30

Information • Field Trips • Seminars • Birders Bazaar • Special Events • Family


RGVBF.ORG

2013 rgvbf 20th Anniversary

SPECIAL EVENTS

J. O’Neill 2006

M. O’Brien 2005

F.P. Bennett 1994

AUTHORS SIGNINGS The quality of the leaders and speakers at the RGVBF is high, and many of these talented people are authors of and contributors to your favorite bird books. So bring your copies (or buy in our Birders Bazaar!) and meet the people behind the covers. Wednesday 2:30p Scott Whittle, The Warbler Guide Auditorium Lobby Thursday 2:30p Kenn Kaufman, Kaufman Guides, etc. - Houghton booth in the Birders Bazaar 2:30p Jon Dunn, Nat Geo Birds of N.A. - Laguna Atascosa booth in the Birders Bazaar 2:30p Scott Whittle, The Warbler Guide - Princeton Press booth in the Birders Bazaar Friday 2:30p Renee Thompson, The Plume Hunter seminar - Laguna Atascosa booth 2:30p Bill Clark, Peterson’s Hawks, Photographic Guide to Hawks Houghton booth 4:30p Cliff Shackelford, Hummingbirds of Texas - Laguna Atascosa booth 7:30p David Sibley, Sibley Guides - Auditorium Lobby Saturday 1:30p David Sibley, Sibley Guides - Laguna Atascosa booth 2:30p David Lindo, The Urban Birder - Laguna Atascosa booth 2:30p Michael O’Brien & Kevin Karlson, The Shorebird Guide/Peterson’s - Houghton booth 4:30p Sharon Stiteler, 1001 Things Every Birder Should Know - Laguna Atascosa booth Ongoing (during Trade Show): Sophie Webb, Birds of Mexico and Central America at her booth in the Birders Bazaar Seth Patterson, El Valle at Sabal Palm Sanctuary booth in Birders Bazaar

WINTER TEXAN DAY Friday has been declared Winter Texan Day at the RGVBF, with several special things planned. See Seminars section for the Get Started Birding! program. Then visit the Arroyo Colorado Audubon Society booth in the trade show and show your Park Badge for some special giveaways and discounts (while supplies last). Catch the Raptor Project live birds of prey flight shows at 1p or 3p. All free!

COMET ISON Prime viewing for the first pass of this newly discovered comet is predicted to be right at RGVBF-time. If conditions are right, stick around after the Thursday and Friday keynotes and we’ll see it together!

Information • Field Trips • Seminars • Birders Bazaar • Special Events • Family

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2013 rgvbf 20th Anniversary

1.209.22RGVBF

BIRDERS BAZAAR

J. Zickefoose 2000

R. Papish 2009

F.P. Bennett 2003

BIRDERS BAZAAR TRADE SHOW Thursday, Friday, Saturday 12n - 6p / Sunday 12n - 5p Free Our Birders Bazaar, with free admission and open to the public, is much more than just a trade show. Located within the Municipal Auditorium Complex, it’s the place to hang out after trips and between seminars. Shop the unique vendors (think Christmas!). Learn about birding hotspots. Visit the eBird station. Get your books autographed. Bid on great items in the Silent Auction. Relax at the Kiskadee Kordial. Visit The Raptor Project. All not-to-be-missed and part of the Festival fun.

SILENT AUCTION in the BIRDERS BAZAAR Thursday - Saturday Trade Show hours, above Bidding closes between 4 - 4:30p Saturday During your Birders Bazaar visits, don’t miss the Silent Auction offerings. This is the place to bid on good deals for optics, birding gear, books, artwork, tour packages, hotel stays, private photography instruction, and much more. The sheer variety of offerings, many donated by our Trade Show vendors, guarantees something for everyone and Christmas-friendly timing. Furthermore, all proceeds aid the non-profit RGVBF and its programs. A win-win!

The RAPTOR PROJECT in the BIRDERS BAZAAR Trade Show Hours, above + Flight Shows Thu - Sun at 1p and 3p Free Jonathan Wood and his vast collection of stunning hawks, owls, eagles, and falcons are a star attraction, with many national TV appearances. Jon is a Master Falconer, a licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator, and along with his wife Susan and his daughter Rachel, are an integral and fascinating part of the Festival. Come on in and get up close and personal with these majestic animals. For even more, keep reading… 32

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2013 rgvbf 20th Anniversary

FAMILY The RAPTOR PROJECT FAMILY AUDITORIUM PROGRAM Saturday 11a - 12n Free Read about Jonathan Wood and The Raptor Project just above and then do not miss this free offering. Imagine sitting in the Harlingen Auditorium and a hawk with a 4-foot wingspan flies right over your head! Afterward, visit more birds of prey in the Birders Bazaar (for a fee you can even hold one and get your picture taken!) and also visit Kiskadee Korner, below. Terrific fun for the whole family.

KISKADEE KORNER Saturday, Sunday 12:00n - 4:00p Free Right in the middle of ‘Festival Central’ (the Harlingen Municipal Complex at Fair Park), you’ll find our renowned family area – packed full of fun. Learn all about birds and nature and the cool things that are as close as your own backyard. Enjoy crafts, games, and many other activities geared toward families with children. Combine with a visit to a flight show, the Birders Bazaar, and it’s all too great to miss!

FAMILY BIRD WALKS Saturday 9a Free We’re lucky to have both Dave Magpiong of the East Coast’s Fledgling Birders Institute and American Birding Association’s Liz Gordon, the ‘First Lady’ of birding, in the Valley for this about-the-auditorium grounds walk. Learn the basics of birding, like how to use a field guide and a pair of binoculars (bring ‘em if you have ‘em!). So join us, open your eyes, and be hooked for life. Geared for the novice birder, both young and young-at-heart, but all are welcome!

STUDENT ART and WRITING CONTEST Awards Ceremony: Sunday 1:30p Draw Valley birds, write about Valley birds, and learn the fun way. Information and registration forms for this contest can be found on our website, rgvbf.org. The contest is open to students grades 5 –12 Valley-wide! Win great prizes from Eagle Optics and see the winning entries in the Valley Morning Star!

Information • Field Trips • Seminars • Birders Bazaar • Special Events • Family

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2013 rgvbf 20th Anniversary

1.209.22RGVBF

INFORMATION FAQ’S HOW DO I REGISTER? > Register online: Securely, with a credit card (VI, MC, AX) at rgvbf.org, and know immediately that you’ve locked in your desired trips and talks. You can also register by phone during business hours: 1.956.423.5565. > Deadline: Pre-registration must be completed by 5p CT on Friday 25 October, at which point online registrations will close. During event walk-in registration is possible, but many trips may be sold out. So register early! > Registration Packet: Available for pick-up (no tickets will be mailed) beginning Tuesday 5 November at 12n—5p at the Harlingen Municipal Auditorium (Festival site), 1204 Fair Park Blvd. After Tuesday, the registration booth opens in time for early morning trips, and is staffed all day. > Cancellations and Refunds: Please don’t—we want you to join us! But if you must cancel, call 1.956.423.5565, weekdays. Do so by 25 Oct to receive a full refund or by 1 Nov to receive a 50% refund (less the registration fee). After this, cancellations and no-shows will not be refunded. > Substitutions: The Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival organizers reserve the right to cancel any Festival activity or make qualified substitutions. If a cancellation is necessary, a full refund will be issued, unless otherwise noted. > Groups and Bloggers and Youth Birders: If you are a group of 8 or more or a birding world blogger or a young birder, come on down! We have special deals for you. Contact the Chair at chair@rgvbf.org. WHERE IS THE FESTIVAL SITE? All Festival Events: trip departures, trade show, talks, family programs—are conveniently located at the Fair Park Municipal Complex, 1204 Fair Park Blvd. Harlingen, TX 78550. (One exception: the Kick-off Reception, please see SPECIAL EVENTS). Important: Field Trips leave early and meeting trip at site is not allowed. Please stay in or near Harlingen. HOW DO I GET THERE? By air: Harlingen is well-serviced by Valley International Airport with three major airlines: United, Southwest, and Sun Country Airlines. By car: Harlingen is conveniently located at the intersection of US Highways 77 & 83, two hours south of Corpus Christi and four hours south of San Antonio. HOW DO I GET AROUND? The Festival does not provide shuttle service between airport, hotels, or Festival activities. Some of the hotels provide limited shuttle service, but in order to best experience the Festival and our unique area, we strongly encourage a car rental booking. WHERE DO I STAY? Harlingen offers wide variety of rooms with rates to please any visitor. Please visit rgvbf.org for Festival-friendly recommendations. For a Harlingen Visitors Guide, go to visitharlingentexas.com or call the Harlingen CVB at 1.800.531.7346. HOW DO I CONTACT THE RGVBF? Mailing Address: Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival / P.O. Box 3162 / Harlingen, TX 78551 Info: 1.209.22RGVBF Register online: rgvbf.org Register by phone: 1.956.423.5565 Email: info@rgvbf.org

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Information • Field Trips • Seminars • Birders Bazaar • Special Events • Family


RGVBF.ORG

2013 rgvbf 20th Anniversary

INFORMATION

Information • Field Trips • Seminars • Birders Bazaar • Special Events • Family

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6-10 NOVEMBER 2013 XAS HARLINGEN, TEXAS

P.O. Box 3162 Harlingen, TX 78551


2013 RGVBF Brochure