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County
Hidalgo
Region
South Texas Plains
Nearby
Parks
Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center
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Quinta Mazatlan WBC Information:
The property and buildings were originally the estate of composer, writer, and adventurer Jason Chilton Matthews, and his wife Marcia. The first facility Matthew's built on his land was an adobe swimming pool. When the water was dirty, he drained the pool and then refilled it with clean well water by attaching a six inch pipe to an airplane engine and jetting the water fifteen feet through the air into the pool. The pool filled in less than thirty minutes. The first living quarters he built was the 3,325 Square foot cottage and upstairs hooch. The hooch was his escape place. When he wanted privacy he would shimmy up the rope ladder, pulling the ladder up behind him. The 6,739 foot main house was constructed next in 1936. His wife and children lived here for 30 years. He commissioned famous Swiss wood carver Peter Mansbendel to recreate the front doors of the San Antonio Spanish Governors Palace for use on this residence. The back hall of the home is known as Cedar Hall because the ceiling beams are made of Lebanese cedar, a gift to Mr. Matthews from the King of Lebanon in payment for his fight alongside Lawrence of Arabia in Lebanon's War of Independence from the Turks. The 1,400 square foot greenhouse is located on the east side of the estate. Matthews used it for his many agricultural experiments, including hydroponics for growing tomatoes. By the early 1960s when Jason and Marcia died, the McAllen area had already lost most of its native thornscrub and a lot of the wildlife that lived in this brushland. In 1967, Hurricane Beulah destroyed much of the mansion's roof. Frank and Marily Shultz purchased the eight acre estate in 1968, and restored and expanded the home to 10,000 square feet, added stone patios, planted exotic landscaping, and allowed the re-growth of the native thornscrub. In 1985, it was listed as a Texas Historical Landmark. The marker is located at the front entrance of Quinta Mazatlan. In 1998, the City of McAllen purchased the estate, expanded the land to 20 acres of Tamaulipan thorn forest, built nature trails, and renovated the grounds. It was opened to the public in 2006. Admission fees apply. The WBC is managed by the McAllen Parks and Recreation Department. 600 Sunset Avenue, McAllen, Texas 78505. The WBC is located across from the McAllen-Miller International Airport and adjacent to the McAllen Country Club. WBCs Brochure  @QuintaMazatlan   
 
Park Activities & Amenities Overview:
Special outdoor areas include butterfly and humming bird gardens, a cactus garden, tropical gardens, a wooded meadow, and a thorn forest and Ruby Pond. There are many activities available at the Center, including self-guided tours, guided tours, workshops, interpretive presentations, classes, festivals, scout, school and teen programs, high school and college student tours, a summer series and other nature programs and events. Rooms may be rented during business hours for meetings only; party use is prohibited. Estate packages are available for weddings and other private events taking place after business hours. Annual membership’s benefits include free access to the site, free admission to a variety of educational programs, nature walks and speakers, and invitations to special events and programs. The Art Gallery offers rotating exhibits. The Nature Store sells a large variety of artwork, children’s gifts, books and other items. Guided tours of the mansion are available October through April, Fri, 10am-11am; the price of tours is included in the general admission fee. Woodland tours are offered October through April, Sat, 10am-11am. The Garden of Eatin’ Tour focuses on the edible and medicinal aspects of the plants, trees, berries, and blossoms located on the property. These tours are held October through April, Wed, 10am-11am. Tree walks are offered to school classes by appointment. Private tours are available Wed-Thu by reservation.
 
Birding:
Over 150 birds have been documented at Quinta Mazatlan. Hummingbirds include ruby-throated, black-chinned, Rufous, and buff-bellied hummingbirds. The nature trail is dotted with water features, feeding stations and rest areas. Recent Bird Sightings  Quinta Mazatlan WBC Bird Checklist
 
Birding - Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, Lower Gulf Coast Region:
Estero Llano Grande Loop:  Donna, Weslaco, Mercedes, Progresso, Santa Maria
Las Palomas Loop:  Santa Maria, Progreso, Mercedes, La Feria, La Palomas
Los Ebanos Loop:  Sullivan City, Los Ebanos, La Joya, Penitas, to Mission
Santa Ana Loop:  La Joya to Edinburg, McAllen, Pharr, San Juan, Alamo, Hidalgo, Mission, La Blanca, just before Donna, Weslaco, Progreso
Texas Birds Checklist
Quinta Mazatlan WBC Bird Checklist
Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley WBC Bird Checklist, Mission
Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley WBC Butterfly Checklist, Mission
Santa Ana NWR Bird Checklist, Alamo
Santa Ana NWR Butterfly Checklist, Alamo
Edinburg Scenic Wetlands Bird Checklist, Edinburg
Old Hidalgo Pump House WBC Bird Checklist, Hidalgo
Estero Llano Grande WBC Bird Checklist, Weslaco
National Butterfly Center Bird Checklist, Mission
National Butterfly Center Dragonfly Checklist, Mission
National Butterfly Center Butterfly Checklist, Mission
Lower Rio Grande Valley NWR Bird Checklist
Rio Grande Valley Rare Bird Alert: (956) 584-2734.
 
Annual Great Texas Birding Classic, End of Apr-May:
This annual one week event is held April-May at birding sites located on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail including at all the World Birding Centers. The event is a competition to determine which team can identify the most species of birds. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department sponsors this event. (512) 389-4500. Contacts  Dates & Information
 
Nov 4-7, 2017
Annual Texas Butterfly Festival, October:
Activities include a reception, Community Day, field trips, a silent auction, a butterfly count, and a  photo contest. (956) 583-5400. This event is held the National Butterfly Center at 3333 Butterfly Park Drive, Mission, 78572. Email
 
Nov 8-12. 2017
Annual Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, Harlingen, Nov:
The festival features seminars and keynote speakers, classes (newbies try Birding 101), book signings, children’s activities, “The Roost” onsite café, a cruise on the Arroyo Colorado, and field trips to the King Ranch and other nearby birding sites. The Birders Bazaar has a large number of birding related products for sale. This festival is held at the Lon C. Hill (Fair) Park each November. (800) 531-7346. (956) 423-5440. 1204 Fair Park Boulevard, Harlingen 78550.  Email   Facebook