- Laredo CVB, (800) 361-3360, www.visitlaredo.com
Texas A&M Laredo Campus
At the intersection of I-35 South and Loop 20 in Laredo, go east on Loop 20 for 5.3 miles.
Campus entrance is on the left (east) when heading south on Loop 20.
The land bordering the back of the university contains an extensive tract of undeveloped brush that contains a variety of sparrows, Northern Bobwhite and Scaled Quail, as well as occasional occurrences such as Dark-eyed Junco. Long-billed and Curve-billed Thrashers, Cactus Wren and Black-throated Sparrow also occur here. A dirt road runs through the tract and there is a small pond that attracts migrant birds. Javelina and White-tailed Deer are abundant and easily seen here.
Lake Casa Blanca International State Park
At the intersection of I-35 South and Loop 20 in Laredo, go east on Loop 20 for 8.5 miles.
This urban reservoir is a haven for pelicans, wading birds, waterfowl, terns and gulls. Bring a scope in order to view birds on the far edge. Neotropic Cormorant is usually easy to see here. A lagoon at Ranchito Rd., which borders the park to the north, hosts waterfowl and wading birds, depending on water levels. Cactus Wren, Pyrrhuloxias, Black-throated Sparrow and other desert birds can be found on the Mesquite Bend Trail (near the boat ramp). Look for Green Jay around the park headquarters. The White-collared Seedeater nests in the northern part of the park during spring and summer months. Lesser Nighthawk nest during summer months as well and Common Pauraque can be seen. Inquire at the park office for current birding news or to arrange a guided bird walk. Dragonflies are abundant at the edge of the lake and White-tailed Deer are frequently spotted around the park. A variety of lizards can be found in the summer, among them the Laredo Striped Whiptail. Black-tailed Jackrabbits, Eastern Cottontails and bobcats can be seen. Mexican Free-tailed Bats can be seen around sunset from the dam.
La Laja Ranch
This historic ranch dates back to 1750. It is located 21 miles south of Laredo on US 83. It has a 240-acre, 3,200-ft. riverfront tract of habitat possessing extensive canebrakes where White-collared Seedeater can be see and heard year-round. The site's old mesquite woodlands provide habitat for butterflies and a variety of mammals, including bobcats and White-tailed Deer. South Texas specialties seen here include Gray Hawk, Red-billed Pigeon, Plain Chachalaca, Audubon and Altamira Orioles, Green Jay, Long-billed Thrasher, Pauraque and Olive Sparrow. A variety of song birds can be seen and heard during migration seasons.
(956) 763-0045 Call for Directions
Zacate Creek Park
At the intersection of US 83 and San Enrique in Laredo, go south on San Enrique as it becomes San Leonard to Grant. Go to the parking lot at the end of the road.
This scenic creek has cut a channel into bedrock where you may find Black Phoebe and Marsh Wren among the reed beds that line portions of the creek. In summer, this creek provides excellent habitat for dragonflies and damselflies.
Laredo Community College/St. Peter's Historical District
Return to US 83 and go west to I-35. Get on the eastern access road and immediately turn left over I-35 on Washington St. Continue on Washington St., cross the bridge over the railroad tracks, and bear right at the first light, Prime Rd. Follow Prime Rd. to Ainsworth Rd. around the back of the campus. Go left on Sheridan and park in the large lot; the historic chapel is on the left with the Laredo Children's Museum.
A large colony of Green Parakeet roosts in the trees surrounding the old chapel. The birds generally can be found here in the morning or evening. The campus is also planted with numerous flowering plants such as firecracker plant, cenizo, orchid tree and lantana that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The cane beds are excellent habitat for White-collared Seedeater, and Verdin and Green Jay occur in the thickets.
Bravo Bend Nature Reserve
From Laredo Community College, return to the intersection of Ainsworth and Prime. Follow Ainsworth west 2 blocks and turn onto the dirt road, which is the northern end of the Border Patrol Walk. Turn left along the river. After 0.8 mile, turn left again on a dirt road that will lead to the old gravel quarry ponds.
The ponds at this site support a diversity of birds. Least Grebe, Cinnamon, Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, Wood Duck, Black-necked Stilt, Spotted Sandpiper and a variety of shorebirds can be seen during migrations. Dragonflies and damselflies that are likely to be seen include Familiar Bluet, Powdered Dancer and Rambur's Forktail.
Paseo Del Indio/Lamar Bruni Vergara Environmental Science Center
From Laredo Community College, return to the intersection of Ainsworth and Prime. Follow Ainsworth north to Taylor and take a right, the Environmental Science Center is on the left. The trailhead is to the west, immediately under the wind generators.
This 1.5-mile mulched trail follows a bluff over the Rio Grande. The first section of the trail has been planted with species that attract a variety of butterflies. Descending to the river's edge, White-collared Seedeater is found among the canebrakes. Lincoln's Sparrow and Common Yellowthroat also occur here. Visitors should stay on the main trail.
(956) 764-5701 www.laredo.edu
Father Charles McNaboe City Park
From I-35 and Loop 20, head west on Loop 20 and go 1.5 miles to Mines Rd./FM 1472. Turn left
on Mines Rd. After 0.7 mile, turn right on Rancho Viejo Rd. The park is at the end of the road after 1.2 miles.
The canebrakes along the river's edge provide habitat for White-collared Seedeater, Audubon's Oriole and Ringed and Green Kingfishers.
La Bota Ranch
From Mines Rd. and Loop 20, head north on Mines Rd. for 1.6 miles to the entrance on the left. Access to the area is controlled, so stop at the guardhouse and be prepared to show identification.
Six miles of trails along the Rio Grande floodplain remain undeveloped, prime habitat for wildlife watching. Winter can be excellent for sparrows, and local birders have reported as many as 15 species. Two ponds at the first trailhead provide ample opportunity to see Belted, Ringed and Green Kingfishers, Anhinga, a variety of waterfowl and other wading birds. Olive and Cassin's Sparrows, Audubon's Oriole, Great Kiskadee and Long-billed Thrasher also occur here. The rocky bluffs that overlook the international boundary provide habitat for White-tipped Dove, and the high vantage point is an excellent place to watch raptors as they glide on warming air currents. Couch's Kingbird can be seen at the public access boat ramp, and the canebrakes at the water's edge provide excellent habitat for White-collared Seedeater. White-tailed Deer, Red Fox, javelina, Cottontails, Jack Rabbits, Tree Squirrels and raccoons may also be seen on the property.
(956) 726-9891 www.labotaranch.com