Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Days Birding In Port Aransas

We hadn’t yet been birding on Mustang Island and so when Renita mentioned this we packed a lunch, loaded up everything we needed, and made the drive to Port Aransas. Upon our arrival at the first birding area, Charley’s Pasture, we realized we had forgotten our binoculars, (note to self-bring binoculars when birding).
Still we had our cameras and telephoto lenses so we could still view the birds, just not as easily. As we started to walk the trail at Charley’s Pasture it was immediately apparent that the lack of rain had turned the area into a giant muddy salt flat. Still we walked the Salt Island Overlook Trail but the birding left much to be desired.
Our next stop was at Paradise Pond which is a small marsh/waterhole in a hidden tree protected bird sanctuary. It’s usually a good spot to pick up some warblers, night herons, and even a bittern. Much to our surprise we saw that most of the trees had been removed!
Instead of roosting night herons we saw bulldozers, tractors and trucks. Instead of trees we saw graded piles of sand. The curse of the coast, developers, has descended on the area and with the cities blessing. We did read the signs that replanting would take place. So perhaps I am being harsh but birds also need a place to call home.
Our last stop was at the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding area near the water treatment plant. The parking lot was overflowing as it was President’s Day, but the place saved our day of birding. As soon as we walked out on the boardwalk we were treated to a green heron poised ready to strike at the first sign of the marsh’s buffet lunch!
Two alligators, did I say large, lay in the mud pretending to be sleeping but Renita caught one opening its eyes. Perhaps it was waiting for a handout or perhaps manna from heaven, (a birder from above)? Continuing along the boardwalk roseate spoonbills displayed, (it’s soon to be breeding season), American white pelican’s rested, and common gallinueles walked atop the marsh plants.
Black necked stilts, sandpipers and plovers all entertained us, oblivious to the clicking cameras and soft whispers. Northern shovelers, green winged teal, and mottled ducks all added to the raucous bird frenzy. The days birding was saved!
Returning to the truck we talked about how unique the area is and how we look forward to next month’s migrating spring arrivals, in all their gaudy breeding plumage. Spring time is arriving here and the birding is always special as it’s also the time for migration fallouts. A friend in Corpus Christi told us the hummingbirds have already started to arrive.

Oh and one last thing, save places for the birds! Clear skies

1 comment:

  1. Nice post and bird pics. What a shame they are developing more of the coast.