The Edinburg Scenic Wetlands, which is one of the Texas designated World Birding Centers in the Rio Grande Valley, is very unique as it is built on reclaimed farmland, located in an urban area, has wetlands plus 3.5 acres of native plantings. It is a great place to take children who love the giant 25 foot tall Great Blue Heron (shown above) in their Visitor Center where clean restrooms and a refrigerated water fountain are located.
I have always found the staff here to be very friendly and helpful. They stock a number of binoculars that can be checked out for use on their grounds at no cost for those paying the minimal entrance fee, a great thing for folks who don’t have their own. There is a small but well stocked book and gift shop in the Visitor’s Center where I always find something to purchase. This time I bought a book, “What’s Wrong with My Plant? (And How Do I Fix It? A Visual Guide to Easy Diagnosis and Organic Remedies by Deardorff and Wadsworth (looks very useful and has good reviews). They offer a number of nature programs including weekly bird walks and butterfly walks that are great ways to get to learn the species here. And they have a nice variety of family and youth programs including one intriguing program one in which participants get to make their own feathered bird puppet.
The grounds of the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands have more than 180 species of native plants, many that attract bird and butterflies. It is handicap accessible. Watch a nice slide show of this a Texas Wildscapes Wildlife Habitat Demonstration Site.
The ponds and wetlands here attract a variety of bird species including many ducks and waterbirds such as this very cool Least Grebe, one of the South Texas specialty birds.
Shorebirds found here include the Spotted Sandpiper shown on the left. Black-crowned Night-Herons can be found perching in trees either on the large pond or in a tree over the canal just below the trail in the gardens like the one shown in the photo on the right.
One of my favorite places at the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands is this elevated boardwalk over a small pond near the Visitor Center. This is a great place for nature photography as it draws dragonflies and birds in a setting that allows close-up views and pictures. Birds I have seen in this section that are drawn by the still water include Yellow-rumped and Orange-crowned Warblers, Eastern Phoebes, Great Kiskadees, Hermit Thrush, and the Common Yellowthroat shown in the photo below. They also get some rare vagrants like the Western Tanager, a species that should be far down in Mexico at this time of year, I saw there last week.