HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — We are on the cusp of what promises to be a fabulous fall migration. Soon, a river of birds will flow southward thru southernmost Texas, and this season extraordinarily bountiful wetlands welcome their arrival.
The largest protected area of natural habitat open to the public in the Rio Grande Valley is poised to receive those avian winter visitors as abundant summer rains have greened the refuge’s 113,000 acres and swelled wetlands to the brim.
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1946 primarily to provide habitat for waterfowl, Redhead ducks in particular, and what a perfect way to celebrate this year’s 75th anniversary with remarkable rainfall.
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge Manager Brandon Jones is excited about the prospects for a spectacular fall migration with refuge wetlands at full capacity.
“We are really super excited about this fall, the migration for waterfowl and migratory birds is going to be phenomenal,” said Jones.
Laguna has already received approximately 22 inches of rain this year, just some five inches shy of the normal annual precipitation, with most of it coming during the historically drier months of May, June, and July.
Laguna’s namesake lake is full along with surrounding wetlands. Since rains came early, waiting waters have had time to develop abundant aquatic grasses, fishes, and other important sources of nutrition for migratory birds and all wildlife.
“For those that want to see Laguna Atascosa in its true form, there is not a better year. So, we encourage folks to come out and enjoy it and see why we are here,” added Jones.
For now, a family of resident Whistling ducks has this refuge lake all to themselves, but soon they will share their watery domain with a marvelous variety of migratory birds