The 400 Bird Quest - Leaving Texas

Count update: 214/400

If you know me, you know I am frugal to a fault.   Since I’m traveling alone with a flexible route plan and I see no need to do the hotel thing.  I have a tent, but when there is no campground handy, sleeping in the back of my SUV is quite comfortable.  I know I will not convince you, but it does save $ and time, avoids noisy room neighbors, and puts me under the bright backcountry stars, and occasional night singing birds.     Why the confession?   Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (east Texas) is many miles from any city.  Camping out in the boonies nearby got me there at sunrise, enjoying the hiking trails and birds hours before the “city slickers” arrived.    Having the place to yourself in the early morning is glorious. I encountered many birds (56 total species) that were likely silent or hiding by mid-morning, plus deer and other non-bird critters.   This alligator's estimated length is 15' nose to tail. It would just fit corner to corner in your average kids' bedroom.  Of course your kid would certainly not be average if they had this in their room.  The Wild hog shown here is scurrying away.  Wild hogs are feral escapees from domestic farms, unlike the smaller Javelina which is truly wild.

Roseate spoonbills wade in shallow water strutting along sweeping their head side to side to strain shrimp from the water.  They also get small fish and other critters, but the shrimp in their diet gives them that rich color.

 

 Aransas NWF is the primary wintering range for endangered Whooping cranes.  The fog on this morning was too thick for distant viewing.  I heard Sandhill cranes but no Whoopers.

Aransas NWF is the primary wintering range for endangered Whooping cranes.  The fog on this morning was too thick for distant viewing.  I heard Sandhill cranes but no Whoopers.