Birds aren't only to be found at the sites listed on the maps. Keep your eyes peeled as you travel and you may be rewarded with some special finds.
It's maybe a little gross, but I couldn't resist the urge to photograph the vultures feasting on a carcass. There was not yet an offending odor, so they must have made quick work of discarding fresh roadkill. Though Turkey Vultures are featured here, both species were present. I'd heard that Black Vultures were a bit more shy. I didn't realize to what extent until I studied my pictures. They were always in the background and never perched atop their meal. They did feed at the same time as the Turkey Vultures, but from the side, always ready to make a quick getaway.
I saw Sandhill Cranes by the dozens when I reached an agricultural area. After passing a 3rd field full of feeding cranes, I told myself, "If I see one more flock, it's an omen. I must stop."
According to this chart, a group of cranes is actually a herd. I did not know that until today.
Shortly before arriving at the Port Aransas NWR, I found a skein of Snow Geese. Distinguished from Ross's Geese by their black "grinning patch" they can be blue-morphs or white-morphs. Both are pictured here. There is one adult and one juvenile blue-morph in the center.
Is skein correct? They are a skein in flight, a wedge in V formation, and a gaggle on water. What are geese in a cow pasture called?
Last, but definitely not least, were the Whooping Cranes I found on day 2 of my trip to Rockport. In fact, my best view of these birds was from the side of the road - better than I had at the wildlife refuge by far.
One word of caution: Never, ever stop without first checking the rear-view mirror. There are folks who will insist on riding your bumper no matter how fast or slow you are driving regardless of whether they've had the opportunity to pass.
I'm linking to my favorite meme: Wild Bird Wednesday. Please visit to see more amazing birds from around the world.