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WINGS Birding Tours – Information

Texas: The Upper Coast

Tour Information

Note: The information presented below has been extracted from our formal General Information for this tour.  It covers topics we feel potential registrants may wish to consider before booking space.    The complete General Information for this tour will be sent to all tour registrants and of course supplemental information, if needed, is available from the WINGS office.

ENTERING THE UNITED STATES:  Non-U.S. citizens will need a valid passport and may need a tourist visa.  Consult your nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate for details. 

PACE OF THE TOUR: Days will be full, with departures usually around 5:30 to 6 AM and returning to the hotel usually by 8:00 p.m. after a group dinner.  Although we spend much time on foot, our walks are at a leisurely pace and on flat terrain, so not at all strenuous. The one possible exception is the walk for Yellow Rails conducted by staff or associates of Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.  This walk is strenuous, walking through up to knee-high grass over irregilar and sometimes wet terrain. Some choose to watch from the sidelines and often get identifiable views of Yellow Rail in flight. However, this walk has been discontinued as of 2017.  The WINGS office will pass along news if the walk has been revived.

HEALTH:  East Texas presents no real hazards to the visiting birdwatcher. 

Insects:  East Texas has mosquitoes, ticks, and chiggers, though the latter two are infrequently encountered.  We recommend using insect repellents with a high concentration of DEET.   

Fire ants are widely distributed and noxious. The leaders will identify the ants at first encounter and remind you frequently to watch where you stand. 

Zika:  This virus is expanding northward from tropical South America into the northern Caribbean and southern United States and health authorities are still trying to gage its full impact.  Couples who expect/hope to become pregnant should consult their physician. The virus is transmitted by mosquitos of the genus Aedes, a day-flying mosquito typically found near people in crowded urban environments that have only a minimum of public services like sanitation, window screens, and drainage; in other words locations that aren’t on most tour itineraries.

Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc.  While in the field or traveling, use of a smokeless alternative such as nicotine gum is requested. Please do not smoke at short stops while traveling. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group and leave ample time between smoking and getting back into the vehicle. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If any lodge, accommodation or location where the group is staying or is gathered has a more restrictive smoking policy than WINGS’ policy, the more restrictive policy will prevail. The leader reserves the right to modify this policy if the situation warrants it.

Miscellaneous:  In April the sun can be intense.  A broad-brimmed hat, proper clothing and strong sun screen lotion are essential. 

As it may be difficult to replenish supplies of personal medications, please anticipate your needs and bring an adequate supply. 

CLIMATE:  April is variable in East Texas.  It is often humid and temperatures may rise into the high 80s (F) or drop into the high 40s (F) after passage of a cold front.  Rain occurs periodically with the passage of fronts but in some years it remains dry. 

ACCOMMODATIONS:  We stay in standard, comfortable hotels.  Wireless Internet is available throughout. 

FOOD: Food on the tour is U.S. standard with some good seafood options. Most lunches will be picnics. WINGS tours are all-inclusive and no refunds are available for missed meals. 

Food Allergies / Requirements: We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary requirements should bring appropriate foods with them for those times when their needs cannot be met. Announced meal times are always approximate depending on how the day unfolds. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact the WINGS office if you have any questions. 

TRANSPORTATION: We will be traveling by 15- (or 12) passenger window van or minivan, depending on the group size. When using 15-passenger window vans, we take a maximum of seven passengers plus the leader. Participants should be able to ride in any seat in tour vehicles.

Updated: 03 May 2019