Thursday, February 11, 2010

Port Aransas, TX

After Mission, I drove to Port Aransas, TX.  Port Aransas is on Mustang Island, which is just next to Corpus Christi.  I stayed at a “RV Resort” by the Gulf.  It was a short walk on the boardwalk over the dunes to the beach.  If you look really close at the horizon, you can see some oil rigs out at sea.  At first I didn’t like it, but after a while I didn’t notice them. 

They allow driving on this beach, which I don’t really like but it wasn’t too bad.  I did see a few things that I had never seen before.  When walking one morning on the beach I saw what I thought was a worm on the beach.  As I got closer I realized it was a seahorse.

He was still alive.  He would curl his tail up and a couple of times he looked at me.  I guess he really just moved his head, but it looked as though he was looking straight at me.  I found some plastic and scoped him and the sand just around him up, then I put him back in the ocean.  The next day I went to the Texas State Aquarium and while there I asked about him.  They said it is extremely unusual to find seahorses on the beach as they live in more grassy areas.
The aquarium was interesting.  They had some shows, but not SeaWorld type shows.  While we did watch the dolphins jump, they were really just showing us how the dolphins work with the trainers.  They also had turtles, birds and other animals. 

Port Aransas has several bird watching spots.  One of these is a neat park just beside the shipping channel.  It is about a mile long with much of this as boardwalks over the wetlands.  The city bird of Port Aransas is the Roseate Spoonbill.  If you have been reading my blog all along, you’ve seen several pictures of those so here’s another one.  But this one is a bit different, he is looking backwards with his bill on his back. 

The trail was interesting, at the beginning you are next to the shipping channel and on my first trip a huge ship came through and I watched the dolphins jumping in front of the ship.
Then the boardwalk began.  You could walk or bike it – I did both!
Below is an egret (I think!) having a bad hair day.
Actually it’s just extremely windy.  Here is the same bird just seconds later, but this time looking a different direction.
I believe this is a Long-Billed Curlew, I found him interesting. (edited Feb 2013 to correct name of bird!)
Something else I did that was quite different was I went to a funeral.  It was a whale funeral.  Well, maybe not a funeral but it felt like it.  A 48 foot whale washed ashore about a mile from my campground.  I rode my bike on the beach to look at it.  By the time I got there, they had already dug a trench in the sand dunes and dragged the whale into it.  So it was like looking at him in his grave.  They said that he had been dead for about 2 weeks, so it didn’t smell great, but it was interesting.  The people at the whale were not tourist, but experts who where measuring him and trying to determine what type of whale he was. They know he was a baleen whale, but while I was there they hadn’t determined what type. 

My campsite was just next to a small pond.  It was interesting to be able to watch the birds at just about any time of day from inside my RV.  Below is the view out my back window.
During my stay, the full moon in January was the biggest full moon of 2010. 
I went on a boat tour to look for the Whooping Cranes. The Whooping Crane is an endangered species.  There are only about 250 – 400 left in the wild and they winter in Aransas National Wildlife refuge.  This is North America’s tallest bird.  The best way to see them is on a boat tour.  We saw quite a few at a distance, but these 2 were a bit closer. 
My last day there I went to Padre Island National Seashore. It was a cold, windy and foggy day but I wanted to go so I did.  The beach was pretty much the same as Port Aransas, but it did have more sand dunes.  They also had more Portugese Man o’ Wars.  I had seen tiny ones before, but this one was probably about 6 – 8 inches long. 

From Mustang Island, you can take a bridge to get to Corpus Christi or you can take the ferry to Aransas Pass.  The ferry was interesting.  My first 2 times I was lucky enough to have one of the front spots.  A few times I watched dolphins as we crossed. On an extremely windy day I thought if the ride was longer I might have gotten sea sick!  The picture below was taken from the ferry I was on – watching another ferry come in.

In my previous blog, I forgot to include this funny picture.  It was an extremely cold day and I guess the birds were huddling together to stay warm.

I’m currently in Van Horn, Texas.  It’s just an overnight stop.  Tomorrow I think I will stop in Deming, NM and stay a couple of days before heading on to Tucson for a few day. 

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