Nature

Aransas County is a Birdwatchers Paradise Along the Beautiful Coast

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Aransas County is a Mecca for over 400 species of birds, which makes it paradise for birdwatchers from all over the world. You can spot migrating birds and birds in residence in the coastal county, a prime spot on the Great Coastal Birding Trail. Aransas County is perfectly positioned on the Central flyway migratory path.

It’s Whooping Crane season in Aransas County now. The largest, most accessible wild flock of the endangered species in North America is featured. Whooping Cranes make the area their home from November to April, migrating over 2,500 miles from Western Canada. And people travel from around the globe to view the Whoopers in Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

An angered bird stands five feet tall, with a seven-foot wingspan. The Whooping Cranes can be seen in Lamar, near Goose Island. However, they’re best viewed from boat excursions, out of Rockport, Fulton, and Lamar Harbors. These special excursions allow a closer look at the birds in their nesting grounds at the wildlife refuge.

#1 Birding Spot: Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Aransas County is a Birdwatchers Paradise Along the Beautiful Coast
Photo: Deb Strothman

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge was voted the No. 1 birding spot and No. 5 National Wildlife Refuge in the nation for USA TODAY Readers’ Choice. Watch more than 400 species of birds, including Warblers, Vireos, flycatchers, thrushes, grosbeaks, Couch’s Kingbird, and American white Pelican as well as Whooping Cranes in the winter season. Other wildlife, like turtles, blue crab, and butterflies, can be seen as well. A magnificent Bald Eagle was recently spotted nesting in the refuge.

Goose Island State Park has diverse habitats that include hiking trails, paved roads, bird feeding stations, birdbaths, shoreline, and pier. It’s a good place to observe water birds, waterfowl, shorebirds, and passerines. There’s a fee to visit the park, but their free checklist of birds shows which species to see in which season.

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