Sunday, February 23, 2014

Aransas NWR Day 2

I didn't know I would find the Whooping Cranes so quickly, and planned to spend an entire three-day weekend searching if necessary.  It wasn't, but since I was too tired to drive several hours back home, I drove 35 miles to Rockport and got a room at the Econolodge.  I was already there, so I might as well go back the next morning and see what else I could find.  I was in no rush because it was still 38 degrees outside, and I was tired of birdwatching in the cold.  I killed time eating a late breakfast and sorting through the previous day's photos until 11 am, when it had warmed to a balmy 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  I'm not sure if I would have gotten the second look at the cranes if I hadn't.  Who knows if they were in that roadside field earlier in the day?             

I probably would have missed the armadillo, too.  Looks like the 9-banded to me.  I have reptile, insect, and bird books, but no mammalian field guides.  I should probably order one, because I've been seeing some interesting critters in addition to birds.  I would like to be able to positively identify them instead of guessing.

This cutie was hanging out beside the observation platform at Heron Flats.  He completely ignored us, busily foraging for ants.  

I wandered along the Rail Trail, which I hadn't visited the previous day.  I saw a pair of Northern Cardinals, a second armadillo, grebes, ibis, and other birds, but no rails.  

I did find a King Rail at the head of the Heron Flats Trail.  Actually, another birder pointed it out.  I stared in the direction she was pointing for five minutes and didn't see it.  She told me exactly where it was.  "Look at the clump of grass in the middle, all the way to the right..."

He blends in well with his environment and does not move, so I still couldn't see him until...            

...the Sora wandered directly in front of him.

I'm wondering if there were other rails along the Rail Trail and I just couldn't see them.  It's a pain bringing both binoculars and a camera, but I guess I need both so I can scan each and every clump of grass for hidden feathered creatures.

I found the Reddish Egret not far from the picnic area overlooking San Antonio Bay.  That pink base of his bill and larger size differentiates him from the Little Blue Heron.  He's also a much more active feeder, lurching and dashing about while the Little Blue is usually motionless.    

Date of visit:  Feb. 8, 2014
Time of Day:  Noon - 3:30 PM
Temp:  50 F
Conditions:  Overcast, Calm
Species Identified (14):  Eastern Phoebe, Northern Mockingbird, Northern Cardinal, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Sora, King Rail, Reddish Egret, Whooping Crane, Killdeer, White Ibis, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Brown Pelican, Northern Pintail

I'm linking up with Saturday's Critters.  Visit to see more fabulous wildlife photos.    


  1. Wow, great birds. I would love to see both the King Rail and the Reddish Egret. Awesome sightings. Thank you for linking up to my critter party. Have a happy week!

  2. Wonderful birds and I enjoyed seeing your armadillo picture also. I have never seen one in real life. That must have been a real nice birding trip. Thanks for stopping by, and I can highly recommend the cauliflower mixed in with the potato. I never thought of how healthier it would be but that is certainly true. Just tasted delicious :) Have a great week!

  3. Wonderful photos, I like those animals in their natural environment! I like the armadillo!

  4. Whoa, you got some really special birds! Beautiful photos. :)

  5. I'm amazed at the wonderful birds you saw and photographed on this trail!

  6. You did well to see both King Rail and Sora Rail, such skulkers. And the Armadillo is just magic - we don't have anything like that in the UK. Re your question about bird ringing/banding see the attached web site of British Trust for Ornithology, the oraganisation which manages bird ringing in the UK.

  7. really awesome sightings, again! so many i've never seen.

  8. I've never seen a Sora. Quite a handsomely patterned bird.
    Looks like you had a wonderful birding/armadillo day!

  9. I'm curious about how you became a birder. I know you hike and camp, too. You should write a post to tell your story and how you acquired the knowledge.

    The pictures and details are engrossing.

  10. We spent three winters in this area of Texas and the birding was the best ever. Keeps getting better as spring migration begins. Hope you get to stay for it.

  11. The birds are lovely but the armadillo is so interesting! I saw three robins a few weeks ago up here in the frozen north they seemed to have arrived way too early.. Laura

  12. Your pic of the Sora I and its reflection s amazing! Thanks for visiting my blog earlier!