BirdFest and Nature Quest

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

February 26, 2015

Hooded Warbler

Hooded Warbler. Photo by Chuck Lorenz.

Laguna Madre residents are in for a treat this weekend as the Bay Area Birders host their 10th annual Laguna Vista Birdfest at the South Padre Island Golf Club in Laguna Vista Saturday.

The event, which is free and open to everyone, will kick off at 7 a.m. with an early morning bird walk departing from the club house. Guided walks and various presentations will continue throughout the day.

The Valley, and in particular the Laguna Madre region, is one of the most unique places in the country for birding, according to Bay Area Birders member Marilyn Lorenz. Lorenz, who will give a presentation on spring migration during the Fest, says that’s because two migration paths cross through the area. “There are four major flyways that the migratory birds follow … Two of them run through Texas, and two of them come right through here, right at Port Isabel, Laguna Madre,” she said. “This is a very special location,” she said.

Those paths, said Lorenz, are the Central Flyway and the Mississippi Flyway, and are traveled by birds coming from Central and South America, some flying here from as far away as Brazil. “They put down for food, for fresh water, and to just sleep for a little while before they have to move on further north,” she said, describing how many birds stop in the Valley after an exhausting trek across the Gulf of Mexico.

Though spring hasn’t quite yet arrived, Lorenz said Fest-goers can expect to see a few of the earliest migratory arrivals. “It’s (the migratory season) only just barely beginning. Right now the killdeer are coming in,” she said. But there will still be much to see and do at the Fest. Aside from Lorenz’s presentation on the spring migration, presentations will also be offered on bird banding, butterflies and even a showcase of photos taken by members during a birding trip to Costa Rica.

Fest-goes will also be able to take guided bird walks of the golf course or the nature and walking trails in Laguna Vista. Vendors will be on site throughout the day selling food, jewelry, books and other items. “Everything will be bird related,” she said. Birders of all experience levels, or even no experience, are welcome to come. We’ve got a spot for everyone,” she said.

The Bay Area Birders are free to join and meet every Thursday morning at 8 a.m. at the SPI Golf Course club house.

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