Rio Bravo Loop
- Rio Grande City Economic Development Corporation, (956) 487-3476, www.rgcedc.org
- Rio Grande Valley Partnership Chamber of Commerce, (956) 968-3141, www.valleychamber.com
- Carrizo Springs COC, (830) 876-5205, www.dimmitcountychamber.org
- Eagle Pass COC, (888) 355-3224, www.eaglepasstexas.com
- Del Rio COC, (830) 775-3551, www.drchamber.com
USFWS La Puerta Tract
From the intersection of FM 886 and US 83 travel northwest on US 83 through the FM 1430 intersection, continuing 2.5 miles to the entrance to the USFWS La Puerta Tract. The tract extends to the north of US 83, look for the trail sign that marks the entrance and the USFWS public information map. La Puerta was purchased to conserve several endangered plant species, so it is critical to remain on the trails to protect the plants. Birds you will see in this habitat are the Black-throated Sparrow and those seen at the Yturria Tract (LTC 072).
Fort Ringgold / the Chachalaca Nature Trail
Continue northwest on US 83 to Rio Grande City and Fort Ringgold. The Chachalaca Nature Trail is located at the western edge of Fort Ringgold, adjacent to the fire station. Although there are few improvements to this site at this time, future plans include a developed trail and water feature to attract birds.
Continue northwest on US 83 into town as it forks and becomes E. 2nd Street, a one-way road. After several blocks, turn north (right) on FM 755 (also called North Flores St.). Proceed north 8.0 miles to La Sagundada Rd. Turn west (left) on La Sagundada, which quickly becomes a graded caliche and gravel road. Continue through open country 5.4 mi. to the 'T' intersection, turn south (left) and go barely more than 0.1 mile. Turn west (right) and continue 0.7 mile to a gate marked _Welcome to Rancho Lomitas Nature Preserve.' Enter, and quickly turn left to the main house. Groups must call ahead to arrange activities. Drop-in birders or butterfly watchers (March to May and September to November are best) should call ahead so that the gate will be unlocked.
Bird, butterfly and plant enthusiasts will enjoy visiting Rancho Lomitas, and, if you have a camper, you can stay at any of the five full-service trailer spaces. Bed-and-breakfast accommodations are also available. A variety of tours with an emphasis on birding, native plant study, history, and culture are offered. Depending on the temperature, the property may be traversed by foot or in a hayride-style wagon with a sunshade. Rates vary with tour activities and number of participants. There are reduced fees for students and bird or butterfly watchers not requiring an organized tour.
(956) 486-2576 www.rancholomitas.com
Roma Bluffs / the Roma Historic District
Return to US 83 in Rio Grande City, and continue west on US 83 to Roma. Go south (left) on Lincoln Ave., then turn east (left) on Portscheller and continue south to Convent. Roma Bluffs WBC, the westernmost unit in the WBC complex, is located on the southeast corner of Portscheller and Convent.
Roma is among the most historic cities in Texas and is being restored to reflect its glory days as a port on the Rio Grande. From Roma Bluffs (the sandstone bluffs that jut out toward the Rio Grande), there are few grander views of the Rio Grande. Watch for Muscovy Duck, Red-billed Pigeon (early morning and late evening) (both rare), and all three kingfishers. In recent years Clay-colored Thrush and Audubon's Oriole have been seen here along the river, Lesser Goldfinches are fairly common in the grassy fields. Audubon Orioles, Buff-bellied Hummingbirds, Altamira Orioles, Clay-colored Thrush, and a variety of butterflies can be viewed at the visitor center courtyard.
(956) 849-4930 www.theworldbirdingcenter.com/Roma.html
From Roma, continue west on US 83 to FM 650. Go south on FM 650 to Fronton. The Rio Grande may be accessed by going west on Plaza for 0.1 mile to River Road, then south on River Road 0.5 mile to the river. The stretch of the Rio Grande between Falcon Dam and Rio Grande City contains some of the best remaining riparian woodlands along this river. At Fronton, look for all three kingfishers, Audubon's Oriole, wintering waterfowl, and Red-billed Pigeon (returning to roost). Osprey commonly feed over the river from here to Falcon Dam.