Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Day 1

The Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail
Central Texas Coast
CTC037:  Aransas NWR

I went to Aransas in search of Whooping Cranes, which I found at Heron Flats.  There is much more to see than the cranes, though.  The refuge is home to 400 different bird species, not to mention the other mammals and reptiles, including alligators.  Near dusk, I saw several deer and a family of feral hogs.     

It was a cold weekday, the constant mist and wind making it feel even colder than the 38 deg C which was the high for the day.  The only other people on the Heron Flats Trail were a couple from Philadelphia, PA who had driven down in search of warm weather and birds.  Well, at least they found birds.      

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is an extremely active, tiny bird.  I only got one shot before it was gone.  I don't know if I'll ever get a better photograph because I've never seen one sit still for more than 3 seconds.

I spent a long time trying to determine whether I'd captured Greater or Lesser Yellowlegs.  I finally decided they are both here.  The one in the back on the right is smaller and has a shorter, straighter bill than the two birds on it's left, whose bills are longer and slightly upturned.  

I love the Northern Pintail's pointy tail feather.

I think the American Avocet looks more elegant in it's black-and-white winter plumage than in the summer, when it has a cinnamon head and neck.  

Date of visit:  2/7/2014
Time of day:  Mid-afternoon to dusk
Temp:  38 F
Conditions:  Cold, misty, windy
Species identified (21):  Whooping Crane, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Roseate Spoonbill, Lesser Yellowlegs, Greater Yellowlegs, Rusty Blackbird, Least Sandpiper, Pied-billed Grebe, White Ibis, Northern Pintail, Ring-billed Gull, American Avocet, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Reddish Egret, Long-billed Curlew, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Northern Mockingbird  

I'm linking up with Wild Bird Wednesday.  Visit to view amazing birds from around the world.


  1. Outstanding photos - I've been trying to get photos of shorebirds lately and not finding many - have to find another place to look I guess.

  2. Nice shots, I particularly like the Avocets.
    All the best Gordon.

  3. awesome sightings and great photos! love those elegant pintails. and those kinglets make me crazy with their tiny flitting. :)

  4. Thanks for sharing your wonderful day. Lovely captures of your finds!

  5. Good to see both yellowlegs close together like that and be able to compare. Sounds like a great place if you can see 400 species year round. I think I'd never be away from there if i lived close.

  6. Port Aransas and Arnasas Pass were i wonderful birding places ... we spent several winter/springs there and I loved it. Didn't have a decent camera back then...wish we could go back. Thanks for your pix and for the memories.

  7. Super photos of the birds and one sweet little deer.

  8. Great variety of birds. I love the Avocets and the Yellowlegs. Great shots!

  9. The deer made me catch my breath ~ so pretty!

  10. I do like the way digital photography has helped in the "out of the field" identification stakes! Cup of coffee, lots of books and the web!

    Nice pictures.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  11. Beautiful photos, I like those birds in their natural environment!

  12. Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs are often difficult to distinguish from each other. It really helps when both are in the same spot. (Or is a veteran birder is there to help.)

  13. remarkable photos showing a beauty of a pure nature... really amazing...

  14. Those avocets are really beautiful! Love all your photos. :)

  15. My favorite in this bunch is the Northern Pintail. Looking forward to your next batch.
    And, the Wild Bird Wednesday is a great link up! I clicked to one of the sites and enjoyed what I saw.

  16. We loved this place. Thanks for all the great memories. We stayed twice on port Aransas and once in FULTON fort the winter and spring seasons...loved it.