Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge

Port Isabel, Texas

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1 Review
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This 45,000-acre national wildlife refuge (NWR) is a mustvisit for birders in South Texas; more than 400 species have been reported, representing the highest number in the NWR system. Laguna Atascosa, the 3,100-acre shallow brackish lake, is part of the greater Laguna Madre of Texas and Mexico, which supports 80 percent of North America’s wintering Redhead. Key birds: Least Grebe, Neotropic Cormorant, Reddish Egret, White and White-faced Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Mottled Duck, Harris’s Hawk, White-tailed Hawk, Crested Caracara, Aplomado Falcon (reintroduced), Plain Chachalaca, Gull-billed Tern, White-tipped Dove, Greater Roadrunner, Pauraque, Ringed Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Great Kiskadee, Couch’s Kingbird, Green Jay, Cactus Wren, Long-billed Thrasher, and Olive Sparrow are present year-round. Magnificent Frigatebird, Least Bittern, Wood Stork, Purple Gallinule, Groove-billed Ani, Lesser and Common Nighthawks, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Brown-crested and Scissortailed Flycatchers, Chihuahuan Raven, Tropical Parula, Varied and Painted Buntings, Dickcissel, Botteri’s and Cassin’s Sparrows, and Hooded Oriole occur in summer. Osprey, Peregrine and Prairie Falcons, Sandhill Crane, Burrowing and Short-eared Owls, Vermilion Flycatcher, Sage Thrasher, Green-tailed Towhee, Clay-colored and LeConte’s Sparrows, and Altamira Oriole can usually be found in winter.

Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge Professional Review and Guide

"This 45,000-acre national wildlife refuge (NWR) is a mustvisit for birders in South Texas; more than 400 species have been reported, representing the highest number in the NWR system. Laguna Atascosa, the 3,100-acre shallow brackish lake, is part of the greater Laguna Madre of Texas and Mexico, which supports 80 percent of North America’s wintering Redhead.

Key birds: Least Grebe, Neotropic Cormorant, Reddish Egret, White and White-faced Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Mottled Duck, Harris’s Hawk, White-tailed Hawk, Crested Caracara, Aplomado Falcon (reintroduced), Plain Chachalaca, Gull-billed Tern, White-tipped Dove, Greater Roadrunner, Pauraque, Ringed Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Great Kiskadee, Couch’s Kingbird, Green Jay, Cactus Wren, Long-billed Thrasher, and Olive Sparrow are present year-round. Magnificent Frigatebird, Least Bittern, Wood Stork, Purple Gallinule, Groove-billed Ani, Lesser and Common Nighthawks, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Brown-crested and Scissortailed Flycatchers, Chihuahuan Raven, Tropical Parula, Varied and Painted Buntings, Dickcissel, Botteri’s and Cassin’s Sparrows, and Hooded Oriole occur in summer. Osprey, Peregrine and Prairie Falcons, Sandhill Crane, Burrowing and Short-eared Owls, Vermilion Flycatcher, Sage Thrasher, Green-tailed Towhee, Clay-colored and LeConte’s Sparrows, and Altamira Oriole can usually be found in winter."

Activity Type: Birding
Nearby City: Port Isabel
Trail Type: Several options
Best Times: Best April and May for spring migrants and breeding activities; November to March for winter birds
Local Contacts: Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge
Local Maps: Texas Atlas & Gazetteer, DeLorme
Driving Directions: Directions to Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge

Recent Trail Reviews

5/18/2006
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This coastal wildlife refuge is one of the top birdwatching destinations in the nation. Over 400 bird species have been sighted on the refuge, including the migratory waterfowl that winter in the area. Eighty percent of the North American population of redhead ducks winter on or near Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. Prime habitat for two endangered cat species, the ocelot and the jaguarundi, is found throughout the refuge. Butterfly gardens, a joint effort between volunteers and staff, attract over half of all butterfly species found in the United States, including rare sightings of Mexican species.



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May 2018