Sunday, July 27, 2014

Texas Days 5/6/7: Laguna, Aransas, Rockport

Day 5

We decided to try Laguna A again as it wasn’t too far off our route up to Rockport. It wasn’t as special as on Tuesday, but we got great views of the Yellow-Billed Cuckoo’s Yellow Bill and or Nighthawks. And I caught up with Leo’s Bobwhite sighting.

We were excited to hear that the girl at the desk, who has been living here since May, saw her first Ocelot by the side of the road just the previous evening.

So after a couple of hours we hit the long straight road and kept going till we reached Corpus Christi and the Texas State Aquarium, which sits in the shadow of the USS Lexington – a huge Aircraft Carrier museum. It was a real culture shock to spend $40 on a pretty average aquarium, in amongst crowds and have a dreadful snack bar lunch, after getting used to paying $3 to have a whole nature reserve to ourselves.

We made good our escape and headed on to Rockport, a delightful community right on the sea with a nice shabby hippy feel to the old town as well as some stunning homes. The beach here is apparently Texas’ only official clean beach, so we cooled off there – watching Pelicans, Least Terns and – exciting – Skimmers overhead.

Harris Hawk
Crested Caracara
Yellow Billed Cuckoo
Brown Crested Flycatcher
Olive Sparrow
Turkey Vulture
Northern Bobwhite
Black Vulture
GT Grackle
LB Thrasher

B Cowbird
Common Nighthawk


Black Skimmer l t
Red Tailed Hawk
Laughing Gull
Least Tern

Day 6

The big expedition to Aransas.

As we approached the reserve we saw a family of Wild Turkeys and, though it was hard to appreciate against the light, a Painted Bunting. We got a bit mossy-bitten there but that was just a taste of what was to come. On the next 2 short walks we were bitten to death by mossys. Hardcore nature this – sweating away in 100+. surrounded by mossys, chiggers climbing the long grasses and poison ivy to avoid too (with us not sure what chiggers or posion ivy actually look like!).

There weren’t actually many birds around, though we did get a much better view of a Painted Bunting.

The greatest excitement was of a reptilian nature. We were walking long a path and saw a gator floating in a pond by the path. We stopped to photograph and after about a minute Leo spotted that its mate – 7 feet long – had emerged from the undergrowth in front of us. It lay down in the path and looked at us. Leo was confident that lactic acid build-up would prevent it charging us, but it was tense nonetheless. After a period, it stood up and walked muscularly into the pond.
Leo spotted something 

American Alligator

Painted Bunting

Red Tailed Hawk

Wild Turkey


American Alligator
White Tailed Deer

Wild Turkey l t
Painted Bunting l t
Red Tailed Hawk t
Black Skimmer
Scissor Tailed Flycatcher
Caspian Tern
Lesser Yellowlegs
Great Tailed Grackle
Northern Cardinal
Laughing Gulls
Great Blue Heron
Tricoloured Heron
Great White Egret

Day 7

The lady in the local bird –friend shop had given us a map showing local birding sights so we decided to try a few of them before heading off to the airport.

Cape Velero was rewarding – good views of a Swainson’s Hawk and a forensic identification of a Semi-Palmated Sandpiper. 

SemiPalmated Sandpiper

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