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Birding

Discover the bonanza of the migratory flyway of Rockport-Fulton!

Bird Habitat Heaven...Land and Water

 

Whooping CraneBrown PelicanSpoonbillRed Egret

Photos by Dave Taylor

 

From the Gulf of Mexico to beaches, bays and estuaries and inland woods, prairies and fields, one will find extraordinary birding throughout Aransas County. We have 10 birding sites on the Great Texas Birding Trail.

From November to March, the world's only migrating flock of over 265 Whooping Cranes calls the Aransas Wildlife Refuge home. Nowhere else can you view these magnificent birds so closely.

Scheduled boat trips to the Aransas Wildlife Refuge run throughout the Whooping Cranes' migratory stay. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas Rockport-Fulton enjoys glorious weather, excellent birding, and small crowds. Early in the season there are plenty of wolfberries and blue crabs for the whoopers to eat. Things get exciting because all of the families are sparring to sort out their territories as the rest of the flock arrives. The juveniles have a lot of color and are fun to watch as they still rely heavily on their parents to feed them.

Rockport-Fulton area always has an abundance of birds…the list below is compiled from coastal excursions, not including inland birding: Central Coast, Texas Birdwatching Tour Information

 

Blue Heron - Photo by Bryan Tumlinson

 

 
Mottled Duck
Redhead
Common Goldeneye
 
 
Brown Pelican
American White Pelican
Double Crested Cormorant
 
 
Neotropic Cormorant
American Bittern
Great Egret
 
 
Great Blue Heron
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
 
 
Tricolored Heron
Reddish Egret
Green Heron
 
 
Black Crowned Night- Heron
Yellow Crowned Night -Heron
White Ibis
 
 
White-Faced Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
White-tailed Hawk
 
 
Osprey
Crested Caracara
Sora
 
 
Clapper Rail
Purple Gallinule
Sandhill Crane
 
 
Whooping Crane
Black-bellied Plover
American Golden-Plover
 
 
Piping Plover
American Oystercatcher
Black-necked Stilt
 
 
Spotted Sandpiper
Marbled Godwit
Long-billed Curlew
 
 
Ruddy Turnstone
Whimbrel
Least Sandpiper
 
 
Laughing Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Caspian Tern
 
 
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern
 
 

 

 

The Fennessey Ranch, representing over 4,000 acres of the extremely diverse habitat that make up the Texas Coastal Bend, offers tours to take you on half day and full day tours. The ranch is located on geographic borders that act as “traps” for various species. The combination of a coastal trip and one or more inland trips will allow you to experience the full potential of our area in the shortest amount of time.

 

You too, can share in this birding legacy and not only enjoy the birds, but discover a friendly and interesting community...

 

Pelicans - Photo by Bryan TumlinsonSeagulls - Photo by Diane LoydSpoonbill Flock - Photo by Larry Bozka

 

Aransas Pathways Birding Sites: Castro Premier Birding Site, Ivy Lane, Tule Creek East & West, Holiday Beach Pond and so much more can be found by clicking on this link. 

Seasons...

Spring: Spectacular! 200 species a day. The varied habitats in the area attract many birds, particularly during migration.

Summer: 100 nesting species in the Texas Coastal Bend. Nearby coastal barrier islands host colonial nesting birds which may be viewed from birding tour boats in the area.

Fall: Spectacular raptor flights -- Merlins Swainson's, Broadwings, and Peregrines to name a few. Shorebirds flood the marshes and estuaries; hummingbirds buzz the feeders during mid-September. Sometimes 200 birds in one backyard.

Winter: Over 100 species might be seen on a winter's day. Winter residents, lingering migrants, southern vagrants and permanent residents make exciting birding!


Nature Trail: A 19-stop walking trail highlighting birds, plants, and various subjects dealing with nature. Great for school groups. Eight-tenths of a mile long. Starts at Demo Bird Garden and loops around back to the cemetery and then to the end at Fulton Beach Road.

Whooping Crane Family - Photo by Dave Taylor White Pelican - Photo by Dave Taylor

More Birding Sites...
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge: 70,000 acre sanctuary on Blackjack Peninsula, winter home of the Whooping Cranes, but also over 374 species during the year. Home to over 1,000 species of plants. (361) 286-3559.

Goose Island State Park: Located just 12 miles north of Rockport on the shores of Aransas and St. Charles Bay, this State Park is great for an outdoor camping and birding adventure. See waterfowl, shorebirds, and passerines. (361) 729-2858.

Fennessey Ranch: The Fennessey Ranch is part of a legendary 750,000 acre Texas land empire that has remained in the same family for 171 years. The ranch consists of 4,000 acres of abundant wetlands, meadows, natural lakes, riparian woods and brush land and bordered on three sides by the Mission River. The Fennessey is located in the heart of the Central Flyway along a region of the Texas coastline known as the "Coastal Bend." World Class Birding, Field Trips, Customized Tours, and more are available at 361-529-6600.

Connie Hagar Cottage Sanctuary: As a memorial to Connie Hagar, the Friends of Connie Hagar, Inc., purchased the Hagar property in December of 1994 to establish a bird sanctuary and historical site. Wooded inland birding site. 6.25 acres of trails.

Rockport Beach Park: Bird Sanctuary on West side of beach area. Islands host Rosette Spoonbills, Blue Herons, Egrets and more.

Demo Bird Garden and Wetland's Pond: Texas Department of Transportation Rest Area. A garden and pond demonstrating native plants that attract birds, waterfowl, and wildlife.