I’ve had the chance to visit three really beautiful locations where wildlife is plentiful. By wildlife I mean birds – waterfowl mostly. I’m fascinated by ducks, geese, cranes, egrets, herons, gulls – so many varieties and color combinations. The east Texas Gulf coast is a migratory haven. I am not a birder. I usually don’t even know what bird I’m looking at. I’m simply fascinated by their colors, their calls, and their ability to fly – just leap up and take off. I’ve always wanted that superpower.
I visited the Padre Island National Seashore, Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, and Goose Island State Park (TX). All are within a 90 minute drive of my great central location here in Rockport. A fourth location is here in Rockport – a big stand of live oak trees is off limits to people and hosts great blue birds. Across the street on the bay are white pelicans and loads of ducks.
The claim to fame of this region is the whooping crane. There are only about a 100 in the Wildlife Refuge and I’m sure there are more in nearby locations. This is not a huge species with only about 500 known to exist. It’s the tallest bird in North America. And I saw two of them for sure and possibly three.
In the last photo is a bird with yellow beak and black feet. Someone told me it is an egret, but I disagree. It’s neck and body shape suggest it is a Great Blue Heron (white adult). There are other types of Great Blue Herons and I think that may be what I see in Rockport rather than Great Blue Cranes.
The Aransas preserve is part of the National Park Service and is an amazing habitat. I climbed to the top of the boardwalk viewing tower to see what I think is another Whooping Crane – but might be a sandhill crane, egret, or heron. They are all similar and quite majestic.
I also saw an eagles nest but it was too far away to actually see the birds. I really should get binoculars or better, a zoom lens camera 🙂 The nest is huge as you can imagine. I did find one other species of note.
The Gator Nation is everywhere!
I have photos from the National Seashore in a previous post. I would love to camp there and here is my other next great camping must-do. Goose Island State Park is on Campano Bay and was ravaged by Hurricane Harvey in 2016. They are nearly finished refurbishing the final section of BEACHFRONT camping!! It is expected to open this fall. I’m going to do my best to get a reservation!
Stay tuned in the coming weeks as I make my way through Texas – south to north and then west. I’m hitting Hondo, Austin, Fredericksburg for the Whiskey Trail, Dallas Area in an Airstream Park, and then to Amarillo to catch Route 66. I’m sure I will get to see some wildflower blooms too.