The Land: Water is the magic ingredient for attracting wildlife, and Estero Llano Grande State Park offers something special as the largest wetlands environment in the World Birding Center network. A shallow lake, fringed with marsh cane, is actually part of the Arroyo Colorado. Classic Rio Grande woodlands add variety to the park. As part of extensive restoration plans, a former agricultural field has been transformed into wetlands, with an island just right for a secure nesting site.
The Birds: Estero Llano Grande has a well-deserved reputation as a can’t-miss birding destination. In late summer, when water is at a premium, hundreds of waders and shorebirds flock here, including the endangered Wood Stork, along with colorful coastal species like the Roseate Spoonbill and Ibis. Migrating waterfowl also make a beeline for the park’s narrow, shallow lake. Elsewhere, woodland and thorn scrub harbor all the must-see Valley specialties such as the Groove-billed Ani and Altamira Oriole. Adding spice to this mix, visitors may even spot rare Red-crowned Parrots and Green Parakeets.