Tours

The Best Birdwatching in Texas

Alamo Inn B&B is the optimal location for avid birdwatchers. Located in Alamo, TX, we are in the middle of the richest birding center in the country.

Join us to experience Texas’s best birding: neo-tropical migrants, tropical specialties, wintering temperate species (including Whooping Cranes), resident temperate species, and rarities, plus butterflies and other wildlife. Scheduled tours in small groups run spring (late April) and fall (late November).

Touring Itinerary

Birding Tours, Nature Tours, Photographic Tours



Birding, Nature and Photographic Tours are brought to you by the friends you know who have served you running Alamo Inn B&B, Gear & Tours since 1999.

For more information and to reserve space on our tours: Email: alamoinn@gmail.com Telephone: 956-782-9912 and ask for the Groups and Tours Co-ordinator

Summary


We outline the types of tours on offer — set tours, custom tours, and guiding. Then we provide information on the areas where we offer tours, Texas, Arizona, Costa Rica, South Africa, and Namibia. We provide details on each tour offered. Because we are a service oriented company, please let us know how we may tailor a custom tour to suit you and your friends, or your birding or photographic group. All tour itineraries are subject to change to accommodate changes in local conditions and the latest reported bird sightings.

Types of Tours

Set Birding Tours We provide popular set tours for those interested to join. Set tours typically run two weeks and follow an itinerary outlined in advance, with some variation to reflect any new conditions on the ground during the tour. See the set tour outlines below. We run small tour groups, generally three to eight people, and we use local guides who know the area and have some background in its history, culture, natural history, habitats, and conservation. We meet clients at an airport and return them to an airport. We provide everything except for the evening meal (we go out to local restaurants where each person pays for their own meal), except for tips, and except for air travel.

Custom Birding Tours

We also offer very popular custom tours to any group that wishes to travel together and prefers a customized experience. The group may be friends, a club, or a tour company. Everything is customizable. We usually start with a set tour outline and make changes to the dates, length of tour, pace, areas visited, priorities, group size, etc. as requested by our clients.

Custom Natural History Tours

For those who seek more than birds, we offer more, and these tours can be specific to for example butterflies, or they can be inclusive of all wildlife plus culture and history. These are a type of Custom Tour.

Custom Photographic Tours

Specifically for photographers, these tours are led by a photographer guide, and are tailored to the schedule and budget of the serious photographer or group of photographers for whom taking great photos is their priority. The length of these tours varies from a few days to weeks. We have access to private ranches and to public lands to provide the best surroundings for our clients.

Guiding

It is increasingly popular to hire a guide or photographer guide for one or more half days for full days, We provide personal and group guiding on request, offering great flexibility to our guides. Since there is a shortage of guides it is essential to reserve a guide well in advance (but sometimes they are available on short notice).
Reserving a guide can be done by calling us or emailing alamoinn@gmail.com with the date(s), region, target birds (or natural history, or photography), and number of persons. Then we reply with the availability and rate, and once you confirm we set up an account for you (if you don’t already have one). We book your guide and put you in direct touch with the guide. Payment is made through your Alamo Inn B&B, Gear & Tours account, by credit card after completion of the guiding. We pay the guide direct. If the guide drives his/her own vehicle there is also a charge per mile driven added to the bill (the guide provides the mileage to us).

Where our tours go

TEXAS

Texas offers the richest terrestrial birding in United States with 642 species in an area of 269,000 square miles (696,000 square kilometers) with rainfall of 60 inches (150 cm) in the east diminishing to 0 inches (0 cm) at El Paso in the west. The richest birding in Texas is along the coast and along the Rio Grande river. The coast meets the river at the Rio Grande flood plain. This flood plain is the most biologically diverse area in united States. Its four counties have 538 species of birds, over 300 species of butterflies, and 120 species of odonates.
Join us on our two week tours of Texas, four to six days along the coast (overnighting at Best Western hotels) and eight to twelve days around the flood plain (staying in the heart of the flood plain at Alamo Inn B&B, Gear & Tours). We live in Texas so we know it very well. Texas Tours - Set Tours Itinerary We start the tour by meeting clients at the international airport in Houston. We explore the woodlands (Conroe area) and wetlands of South East Texas (Beaumont, Port Arthur, High Island), thereafter following Bolivar peninsular, taking a ferry onto the barrier island at Galveston, birding south along the island and rejoining the mainland south of Pearland (Houston). With stops at more hot spots, we continue south on the flat coastal plain with its salt grass, wetlands and local woodlands. Arriving at the Coastal Bend region, we explore wetlands and peninsulas, then rejoin the barrier island by ferry at Port Aransas, bird the beach, more wetlands, and salt grass plains, continuing south, rejoining the mainland at Corpus Christi. The woodlands now reveal inclusion of tropical species as we explore hot spots in this area and begin to see a few tropical birds, then we drive south, with stops, through huge ranches to the tropical Rio Grande flood plain. The Coastal section of the tour covers 350 miles (560 km) north to south, but of course we do not take a direct route so over these several days we cover about 550 miles (880 km). Arriving on the tropical flood plain we stop at Alamo Inn B&B, Gear & Tours, located in the heart of this rich birding area. Day trips here take us from the coast to Falcon Dam area, and many stops in-between, experiencing habitats of riparian forest, thorn scrub woodland, grassy plains, agricultural fields, palm forest, fresh and salt water wetlands, resacas (fresh water ox bow lakes), lakes, lagunas (salt water lagoons), bays, and the mangroves of South Padre Island, each with its unique bird species. The flood plain and its hinterland is about 140 miles East-West by 40 miles North-South (224 by 64 km), so starting from its center is an advantage, with daily trips varying from 10 miles one way to the longest of about 80 miles one way (16 to 128 km). We prefer birding to driving and work to minimize driving. The tour ends with clients departing from McAllen Airport, just 15 minutes from the Inn (flying back to Houston to join connecting flights). Everything is included in the tour (accommodation, entrance fees, transport, guides, breakfast, lunch) except for the evening meal (we go to good local restaurants), any tips clients wish to provide to staff, and no air flights are included. While staying at the Alamo Inn B&B, Gear & Tours light evening meals are available self serve from the food spread for those who do not wish to go out to eat.

Texas Tours, Spring Last two weeks of April, 14 days airport to airport. Starts in Houston at the international airport, finishes in McAllen at the international airport. The goal of the Spring tour is to see neotropical migrants and the birds of the coastal and flood plain region, in their breeding plumage. We typically expect to see 200 to 250 species. Temperatures can vary from 60 t0 100, expect 92 degrees Fahrenheit (16 to 38, expect 33 degrees Celcius)

Texas Tours, Late Spring First week of May, 7 days, starts and ends at McAllen airport. The goal of the Late Spring tour is to seek neotropical songbird migrants in their breeding plumage at fall outs on South Padre Island, and to seek summer breeding specialties such as Red-billed Pigeon, White-collared Seedeater, Muscovy Duck, Groove-billed Ani, Painted Bunting, and Vermillion Flycatcher, in their breeding plumage, and the elusive Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, and to hear owls calling at night. This tour by necessity involves more driving (from South Padre Island to Laredo to Kingsville) and a schedule flexible to respond to weather changes when fall out conditions occur, plus night walks when weather is suitable.

Texas Tours, Fall Last week of November & first week of December, 14 days airport to airport. Starts in Houston at the international airport, finishes in McAllen at the international airport. The goal of the Fall tour is to see late neotropical migrants, early wintering birds, and the birds of the coastal and flood plain region, in their fall plumage. We typically expect to see 200 to 250 species. Temperatures can vary from 32 to 95, expect 84 degrees Fahrenheit (0 to 34, expect 29 degrees Celsius).


ARIZONA

Arizona, like Texas, lies in the U.S. Southwest, and is a colorful, rich state offering great experiences to visitors. We live close to Arizona and we love traveling there. Arizona has 553 bird species in an area of 114,000 square miles (182,000 square kilometers). Arizona is know for its sahuaro cacti, flat and hot deserts, cool mountains, red sandstone cliffs and canyons, and in particular the Grand Canyon. Its southern border is with Mexico, and it is between New Mexico in the east and California in the west. Its birds are western and it is known for its hummingbirds, desert birds, and Mexican summer breeding birds.

South East Arizona, Desert Springb> The spring months of April through June here are hot and dry. This region receives half its annual rainfall in the summer from July through September, courtesy of Pacific ocean fronts. While it is known locally as the monsoon season, the total rainfall averages only six inches (15 cm) over the three months. In response to the rainfall desert plants bloom and birds launch their breeding season. This is an exciting time to visit the flowering warm desert plains morning and evening, and cooler elevated valleys and mountains during the middle of the day. In addition to resident western bird species, we also expect some Mexican species breeding at or close to their northern limit. Tour runs first two weeks of August, 14 days from and returning to Tucson Airport.
The goal of Desert Spring tour is to see Western bird species and Mexican migrants in breeding plumage, while enjoying the desert plants blooming and wildlife activity. Temperatures typically 99 day 75 night Fahrenheit (37 day 24 night Celsius) at the desert floor, but 10 or more degrees (5 degrees Celsius) lower at elevation.

Northern Arizona, Sedona & Grand Canyon Late Spring Birding in and around Sedona offers the most dramatic and beautiful setting imaginable, with its towering red sandstone cliffs surrounding green valleys carved by babbling creeks. Amongst the birds we seek is the Common Black Hawk that often nests in the area. This tour starts in early May and runs one week, from and returning to Phoenix airport.


COSTA RICA

Costa Rica has 921 bird species in a country of just 51,100 square kilometers, making Costa Rica bird species the most dense in the Americas. This is good news for birders, who can see more species for less travel than elsewhere in the Americas. Costa Rica is a narrow country squeezed between the Caribbean and Pacific oceans with a ridge of mountains running through it from the north to south, like a spine, and with San Jose airport conveniently at its center. There are five geographic regions each with unique birdlife, Northern Lowlands, Pacific Lowlands, Highlands, Caribbean Foothills, and Caribbean Lowlands. The most important eco systems in Costa Rica include: Cloud Forest, Tropical Humid Forest, Rain Forest, Dry Forest, Wetlands, Rivers, Volcanoes. Over 25% of its land is protected for wildlife. Costa Rica has more protected natural areas as a percentage of its total area than any other country. It is amongst the top twenty most diverse countries on earth, which is amazing considering its small area. It has, for example, 1,252 butterfly species and over 8,000 moth species.
Our guide Mary Beth has visited Costa Rica many times and she loves it. Her love for it is infectious so now we all love it.

Costa Rica in July, the quiet season We love Costa Rica in July when it is not crowded. The goal is to see resident birds after breeding season, and to do so on a relaxing tour. We offer two itineraries: Both tours start in San Jose, meeting clients at the international airport and spending the first and last nights of the tour in a hotel not far from the airport.
1. The first two weeks of July, this tour spends 4 nights at each of three hotels, one in the Highlands, one in the Caribbean foothills, and one in the Caribbean lowlands. The objective is to see more of Costa Rica by exploring three eco regions. 2. The second two weeks of July, this tour spends 6 nights at each of two hotels, one in the Highlands, and one in the Caribbean foothills. The goal is to explore in more depth two eco regions.

Where would you like to go next ?

Let us know if you want us to design a new tour. It may become our next tour destination.

Contact us today at 956-782-9912 for pricing and for custom tours. And be sure to check out our blog for more information on birding!