When: April 22-27, 2014
Where: Corpus Christi, Texas
How Much: $1445
Single supplement: $400
Day pass: available starting 2014. Just 2 convention days (dates TBA) will be eligible for use of day passes.
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ABA Convention Staff: Jeff Gordon (ABA president), Tom Johnson (Birding photo quiz editor), Jen Brumfield (Tropical Birding Tours and Leica Birding), Jennie Duberstein (Editor of The Eyrie), Ted Floyd (Birding editor) George Armistead (ABA Events Coordinator), and more (see below).
Migration is at its best in April along the Gulf Coast and there’s no better spot to take it all in than Corpus Christi. Join ABA members and staff for thrilling field trips in search of migrants and Texas specialties.
Corpus Field Trip Descriptions
All the information below and more is available in the ABA/Lane Birdfinding Guide:
A Birder’s Guide to the Texas Coast by Mel Cooksey and Ron Weeks (American Birding Association, 2006).
Corpus Hotspots South
Right in town, not far from the hotel, there are a bunch of great birding spots offering one the chance to see migrant songbirds. Also along the coast there is a variety of shorebirds, herons and terns. This field trip will work between four hotspots in close proximity to one another, including Hans & Pat Suter Wildlife Park, Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens, Flour Bluff, and Laguna Shores. (See map)
Reddish Egret, Roseate Spoonbill, Mottled Duck, Neotropic Cormorant, Wilson’s Plover, Couch’s Kingbird and Painted Bunting.
Corpus Hotspots North
Like the Hotspots South itinerary this field trip hits a variety of great birding sites that can hold migrant songbirds, shorebirds, herons, and terns. Sites visited may include Blucher Park, Rose Hill Cemetery, Indian Point Pier, Fred Jones Nature Sanctuary, Sunset Lake Park.
Clapper Rail, Seaside Sparrow, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Royal Tern, Least Tern, Black Skimmer, and American Oystercatcher.
Hazel Bazemore County Park
Bustling with birds and a famous hawkwatch, this park has tallied a list of over 300 species. Keeping our eyes skyward for hawks, we’ll also search for a number of South Texas specialties. Nearby are several more excellent birding sites we’ll aim to visit, including Pollywog Pond, Hilltop Community Center, and Tule Lake.
Groove-billed Ani, Long-billed Thrasher, Olive Sparrow, Snowy Plover, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Green Jay, and Great Kiskadee.
Afternoon Migrant Check (2:45pm-5:30pm)
Often when the stars align, the weather does what we want it to, and the fabled fallouts finally occur, it isn’t until mid-day that birds really start to gather in numbers. Each afternoon we will run a couple of vans out to check-out local migrant hotspots around Corpus or on the barrier island. The exact itinerary will be decided by the guide/driver at the time of departure, once they have accounted for the day’s conditions.
Warblers, vireos, flycatchers, etc.
Mustang & Padre Islands
One of the premier birding regions in the ABA area, this pair of barrier islands at times provides an incredible show for migrant songbirds but is also great for more routine coastal species. Sites visited may include Port Aransas Jetties, Joan & Scott Holt Paradise Pond, Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center, Mustang Island State Park, Padre Island National Seashore, and Packery Channel.
Magnificent Frigatebird, Bottlenose Dolphins, prime warbler species, Least Bittern, White-tailed Hawk, Crested Caracara, Wilson’s Plover, and Reddish Egreat (white morph).
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge
Though famous for being the prime wintering site for Whooping Cranes, nearly all if not all of these stately endangered birds will have departed for their arctic breeding grounds by the time of our arrival. Still often a crane or two lingers into early May, and the refuge is rich with other bird species as well (refuge list is over 400 species). Between our visits here, and with the boat trip, we hold hope that a Whooping Crane sighting is possible, even at this relatively late date.
(This field trip will feature a packed lunch).
Inca Dove, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Painted Bunting, Bobcat (rarely seen), Brown-crested Flycatcher, Black-crested Titmouse, and possibly Swainson’s Warbler (often heard).
Kingsville and Bishop
The ranch lands of Kleberg and Kenedy counties provide an interesting view into a set of old ranches still in operation today. These are marked with excellent habitats for birds, and in the course of our visits to these towns we’ll visit a constellation of birding sites that could include Bishop City Park, Santa Gertrudis Creek, Kleberg Grasslands, Kaufer-Hubert Memorial Park, and Mittag’s Pond.
Groove-billed Ani, Pyrrhuloxia, Olive Sparrow, Long-billed Thrasher, Painted Bunting, Couch’s Kingbird, Harris’s Hawk, Crested Caracara, Green Jay, Tropical Parula, Common Ground-Dove, Golden-fronted & Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Black-crested Titmouse, and shorebirds.
The combination of grasslands, woodlands, and freshwater and saltwater, make this area one of the best in the region, with a great array of bird species. Various spots along the Aransas, Redfish, and Copano bays provide great birding, and we’ll visit sites that may include Holiday Beach, Goose Island State Park, Connie Hagar Wildlife Sanctuary, and Rockport Harbor among others.
Mottled Duck, Least Grebe, Roseate Spoonbill, White-tailed Kite, Wilson’s Plover, Sandwich Tern, Greater Roadrunner, and Cassin’s Sparrow.
Aransas Bay Boat Trip
The main goal of this field trip is to visit the incredible heron rookeries on the islands in Aransas Bay, but of course primary in our thoughts will be the possibility of a lingering Whooping Crane. Often all the cranes are north of Texas by late April, but in recent years a bird or two have lingered into early May, and we’ll hope that one may still be around. Regardless, there are many other birds to feast one’s eyes upon on this tour of Aransas Bay.
(This field trip will feature a packed lunch.)
Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Reddish Egret (large nesting colony), Roseate Spoonbill, White Ibis, and Gull-billed, Sandwich and Royal Terns, and possibly Magnificent Frigatebird.
One of the most legendary birding hotspots in the ABA Area, this spectacular ranch is probably best known for harboring Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls and Tropical Parulas. This is the longest field trip featured at this convention and participants should be prepared to be out the better part of the day, and for a long commute (two hours each way). Along the way we’ll bird three main areas including the Norias division of the King Ranch, the Sarita Rest Area, and El Canelo Ranch.
(This field trip will feature a packed lunch).
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Tropical Parula, Northern Beardless Tyrannulet, Black-crested Titmouse, Audubon’s Oriole, and Botteri’s Sparrow. Several of these species are difficult to see, but the odds are we’ll see some of them, and if luck is with us there is even the slim chance of seeing an interesting mammal such as badger or a cat species.
Choke Canyon State Park
One the longer field trips offered at this Convention, this field trip offers the chance to see a nice mixture of pasturelands, mesquite woodlands and thickets, and hilly caliche uplifts. We’ll have to get out early in the morning in the morning to have a chance at certain species, but while there we’ll attempt to visit the Calliham Unit, the South Shore Unit, and the the Daughtry Wildlife Management Area.
Lesser Nighthawk, Long-billed Thrasher, Crested Caracara, Audubon’s Oriole, Bell’s Vireo, Cactus Wren, Painted Bunting, Pyrrhuloxia, and Brown-crested Flycatcher.
Audio recording and videography field trips
with Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Ben Clock& Gerrit Vyn
We are extremely pleased to have a couple of accomplished staff members from CLO on hand to teach the craft of audio recording bird sounds and bird videography. These trips will feature small groups (<15 people each) and will visit areas fairly near Corpus where the time can be maximized for those wishing to learn more about these pursuits from two of the best instructors in the field.
Each afternoon from April 22nd – April 26th will feature 30-40 minute seminar sessions. Below is information on the folks who will present.
Speaker: Jennie Duberstein
Title: The ABA’s Young Birder Program: Ushering in a New Era of Birders
Jennie works in Arizona as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s education and outreach coordinator for the Sonoran Joint Venture but has been the editor of the ABA’s Young Birder Blog: The Eyrie for years now. In 2013 she was awarded the Partners In Flight Public Awareness Award. Read more about Jennie.
Speaker: Tom Johnson
Title: Seabirds of the Mid-Atlantic
A Pennsylvania native, when not running around unearthing rarities, Tom serves as the editor of Birding Magazine’s Photo Quiz column. He has also worked on various offshore research excursions, censusing seabirds, and adding to cumulative knowledge of one of our last birding frontiers.
Speaker: Benjamin Clock
Title: Recording Bird Sounds and Bird Videography
Ben is assistant curator of visual media collections at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library. His work includes editing and archiving video footage of birds. He began birding at the age of 12 in the foothills of the Berkshires in northwestern Connecticut. He is also an accomplished artist. His birds-of-paradise artwork graced the cover of the October 2006 issue of The Auk. He will present seminars on how to record bird sounds and also on bird videography.
Birder’s: The Central Park Effect
Keynote speaker Jeffrey Kimball’s landmark film about birders in Central Park, New York, helped teach us (and especially non-birders too) a lot about ourselves. This hour-long HBO movie will be aired on a couple of afternoons so that folks can prepare for Jeff’s evening talk about the production of this film and what inspired him to make it.
See below for information on prices, etc.
Gerrit Vyn is a multimedia producer and staff photographer at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Recent work has found him documenting the last remaining Spoon-billed Sandpipers in the Russian Far-East, as well as wildlife poaching in China and the breeding behavior of birds on Alaska’s Yukon Delta. Gerrit’s images appear regularly in books, magazines, websites and multimedia productions. He was the primary image provider for the 2009 and 2011 State of the Birds reports that were delivered to the Obama administration and congress by a coalition of leading environmental organizations. He has produced two CD compilations, Voices of North American Owls and Bird Songs of the Pacific Northwest, and is an affiliate of the International League of Conservation Photographers. Gerrit will present a talk on his expedition to secure the first ever high quality media of the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper in Chukotka, Russia.
Brian Sullivan is project leader for eBird and photographic editor for the Birds of North America Online at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. An expert lecturer on hawks, he is a co-author of The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors and the forthcoming Princeton Guide to North American Birds. Brian is also co-authoring a book with George Armistead to be published by Princeton titled Essential Birding. He served as photographic editor for the ABA’s journal North American Birds from 2005 to 2013. As part of Team Sapsucker, Brian was on the record-setting Big Day on April 25th, 2013 that racked up an amazing 294 species in one day in Texas.
Jeffrey Kimball has made a career in film as a music supervisor/executive on films including A Bronx Tale and Good Will Hunting. In 2012 he debuted a documentary on HBO, Birder’s: The Central Park Effect, which he wrote, directed and produced. Jeff will air this film and discuss how and why he made this insightful movie about birders.
The 2014 ABA Convention in Corpus Christi, Texas will be based at:
The Omni Corpus Christi Hotel
900 North Shoreline Blvd.
Corpus Christi, Texas 78401
Phone: (361) 887-1600
Your registration fee includes:
(Day passes, available Jan. 20, are different. Day pass does not include lodging, etc.)
- lodging for the nights of April 22 through April 26 (check-out 27th, includles breakfast on 27th)
- guiding, transportation, fuel, and entry fees during field trips
- access to all convention activities (including keynote speakers, seminars & exhibits)
- all meals from dinner on April 22 thru to breakfast on April 27 (except dinner on April 25)
Excluded from the registration fee are:
- travel to/from Corpus Christi and associated costs
- tipping of shuttle drivers, maid service, etc.
- travel/trip cancellation insurance (recommended)
- drinks with alcohol
The single supplement is $400. If you would like help finding a roommate, please indicate that on your registration form, and we will try to help find you someone to share a room with.
Cancellation policy: Full refund, less $150.00 per person administration fee, until March 1st, 2014. No refunds after March 1st, 2014.
Extra Nights at the Omni: If you are interested in booking extra nights at the Omni Hotel, outside of the convention dates, please contact the Omni Hotel directly to secure rates/reservations for those nights. Mention that you are part of the ABA group and you may be able to receive the ABA-rate (given availability/dates).