Today started with a trip to Aransas NWR. On the way, I noticed that the gas tank was a bit low (presumably from all the idling in traffic yesterday) but figured we were still fine. The road to Aransas is pretty long and there’s absolutely nothing on the way, but we got there quickly.
Entering the refuge, there were a lot of vultures on the side of the road (photo by my mother).
After checking in, we headed straight for the tower. I missed the entrance and ended up walking out the boardwalk first. It was rather cold, but I quickly got a distant view of 2 Whooping Cranes, so mission accomplished. We continued to the end of the boardwalk, where a large number of herons and spoonbills were foraging.
Finding the correct spot to climb, we headed up. Surprisingly, the wind was almost better at the top and I was able to vaguely digiscope the cranes. In addition, there was a White-tailed Hawk way out, and on the new overlook that had yet to pass inspection, a Turkey Vulture.
Back at the car, we thought about the auto loop, but given the conditions and the fact that the car was very close to running out of gas, we decided to just head out and go elsewhere. That proved to be a smart decision as the gas light came on just before we got to a station.
After filling up, we drove to a few of the spots on the birding trail loop without finding much. We then hit the grocery store and bought some roast beef for lunch, which we ended up eating back at the hotel. After eating, we headed back out and drove along the coast a bit before working our way to Goose Island State Park.
At Goose Island, we drove around a bit before stopping on the beach, where there were many skimmers and Laughing Gulls, along with a few turnstones. We watched those for a little while before driving around the rest of the park (and deciding that the trails were too wet to walk). We returned to the beach, where we found a few loons on the water (and I found a couple Eared Grebes way, way out). The gulls took a big interest in us when I attempted to peel an orange outside the car, to the point that I decided not to bother.
After Goose Island, we headed back to the hotel. For dinner, we went to Captain Benny’s. It was very good, although a bit of a dive. Benny looked shockingly like a certain Massachusetts birder, although he sure didn’t run the restaurant with the same precision.
Tomorrow (which will not take another month and a half to publish): Beeville and Choke Canyon