Monday, January 20, 2014

Paul's Texas Trip Part 3 (Port Aransas Day 1)

It was Day 3 (see here for Day 1 and Day 2) of our "Escape from the Canadian Winter by Driving Around Texas Looking for Birds" trip, and we were headed to the Gulf Coast. First, though, we briefly stopped at The Alamo to have a look. The birding was dismal, with only House Sparrows and Rock Pigeons, but the kids had fun and learned something about U.S. history.

Who knew birding at the Alamo would be so crappy?

We left the Alamo and had a great BBQ lunch at Van's Barbecue, which is somewhere along I-37 south of San Antonio, and headed to our first stop on the Gulf Coast in Padre Island National Seashore. After driving past the strip mall heaven and refinery rich Corpus Christi, we emerged onto the nearly undeveloped Padre Island (the north one) where we almost immediately started seeing new birds. There were lots of American Kestrel on the power lines but it was the first sighting of the Crested Caracara that made us stop.

Crested Caracara
We went to the beach for a while and found Sanderlings, Willets, Ring-Billed Gulls, a Laughing Gull, and Royal Terns. We kicked around the seashore area for awhile, visiting the Visitor Center (where I bought a new bird call) and we were greeted by a loud group of Great-Tailed Grackles. After a short, yet birdless, walk through the tall grass meadows, we headed north to Port Aransas. On the way we saw more caracaras and our first White-Tailed Hawks. Along the causeway, we saw many more birds including Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Rosiette Spoonbills, a White Ibis, American White Pelicans, a Peregrine Falcon and a Bald Eagle. All of this while we were driving to our hotel! That evening we got turned around in Port Aransas and found Inca Doves.

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