Memories of the Laguna Vista Nature Trail

Nestled at the southwest corner of Laguna Madre, that body of water that lies between the barrier island of South Padre in south Texas and the terra firma of the Texas mainland, is the community of Laguna Vista. This community has grown steadily from a population of 1160 in 1990 to over 5000 today. An increasing population results in a decrease in native spaces, and so has been the case of Laguna Vista. Sometimes, though, our better angels plan to preserve and protect some of our native spaces. Such is the example of the Laguna Vista Nature Trail.

Surrounded on three sides by developed subdivisions, are 15 acres with three photo blinds and a half mile of trails that remind us of what preceded our crushing will to dominate nature. We call this place the Laguna Vista Nature Trail, and it is another lovely birding destination in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Local birders love this place, because aside from the local endemics, rare and unusual birds are often found here, especially during migrations.

There are two gates into the trail system, both are near the northeast corner of the property, but accessed from different streets. Near the Palm Avenue gate is a dirt parking area, at the south end of Palo Blanco Drive is a gate and a paved parking area. If coming from Brownsville, take TX-48 east and turn left onto TX-100 (Ocean Blvd) and head north for 4.0 miles. Turn right onto Santa Isabel Blvd (at the Stripes store) and continue for 1.2 miles. Turn left onto Broadway Blvd and head west for 479 feet, then turn left onto Palo Blanco Drive. In 0.4 miles, you will arrive at the paved parking area.

This region is part of the low-lying flood-plain of the ancient Rio Grande delta, and after a good rain, the trails can flood. Such was the case when I first visited here. I wasn’t able to tour the trails, but I returned a few weeks later on a drive to Laguna Atascosa NWR (further north) and spent a couple of hours before continuing on to the National Wildlife Reserve. I saw enough on my brief tour to recognise the possibilities for productive encounters here.

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