Driving north from Padre Island on Hwy 361, you quickly reach the next barrier island, Mustang Island. On the northern tip of this island lies the colorful town of Port Aransas. There are quite a few restaurants, condos, ice cream colored beach houses, and RV parks here, so it looks like a popular area for vacationers and snowbirders. It is also a birdwatching hotspot, so naturally we had to check it out.
We visited two birding areas in town. First stop was the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center.
They say there are alligators here, but this is the only one we saw.
There's a long boardwalk leading to an observation tower and pond just filled with bird life, especially ducks. We had a blast checking them all out -- don't think we've ever seen so many ducks in one place before! Most of them were actually hunkered down along the reedy pond edges resting or preening, not swimming around in the pond. Good binoculars and a zoom camera are a must here.
Here are some of the birds we were able to identify. Barry got some great shots, don't you think?
Our next stop was the Port Aransas Nature Preserve at Charlie's Pasture. We didn't see nearly as many birds here, but we had a nice three-mile walk on the boardwalk and path to the lookout tower on tiny Salt Island. We identified Yellow-Rumped Warblers, Savannah Sparrows, Buffleheads, a Reddish Egret, and a few others too far away to ID. None of the bird photos were great, so we'll just share some general scenery images. It was a very peaceful place and only a few other folks there.
On the way back to North Padre Island, we were getting a bit peckish after a long afternoon of birding so stopped in and picked up a veggie pizza at Padre Pizza to take back to the condo for dinner. Most of the veggies were hidden under the huge amounts of cheese. It really hit the spot!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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