RVery Best Nest

Come join Joe, Mallery & I, as we travel around the USA in our RVery Best Nest. God's Favor has been chasing us down, and we are enjoying all of His blessing's, that He has created for all to enjoy!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

                                Wednesday 2/13/2013

On our last day in the Fulton/Rockport area, we decided to go back north on the road we came in to Fulton. Fulton sits just south of the on Copano Bay. The first bridge crossing the bay was constructed and finish in 1931. The present bridge was constructed in 1966, and the old  bridge was turned into a fishing pier. Under construction at present is another bridge to make the it 4 lanes.

After about 13 miles north on the other side of the Copano Causeway, we saw a sign that directed us east on Hwy 774 to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

The drive seemed like a long drive through the flat lands of Texas farmland.

We started to wonder if we had missed our turn, when we finally saw another sign for the refuge.

The next turn was on Hwy 2040 East.

The total drive seemed like around 30 miles from our park to the refuge.

After stopping at the Visitor Center for maps and information, ( we got in free with our National Parks Pass), we stopped at the Heron Flats Trail. At the beginning of the trail is a lookout platform looking across the marshes of the refuge. As we left the platform, another visitor told us that if we took the trail to be careful as there was an alligator just off the trail at marker #10. We  walked slowly, scanning from side to side, the 6 foot wide trail that had tall grasses edging it.

Joe spotted two alligators across a pond sunning on the shore.

These guys were at least 6 feet long if not longer.

The other one to the left of the previous one. At this point we were at marker #5 and decided these guys were too big! We didn't want to continue down the trail and find ourselves just feet from one of these monsters, so we went back to the car.

Our next stop was at Bay Overlook which was a 0,1 mile walk to 

a huge tree and 

San Antonio Bay.

We got back to our car and stopped next at another 0.1 mile walk out to another platform overlooking the Jones Lake. Looking south of the lake, Joe spotted what looked like wild pigs, which we found out later were Javelinas

As we walked onto the platform we were meet with an unusual smell. From research I found out that they mark their territory with this musky smell from rubbing their dorsal scent glands on shrubbery.

Looking toward the marsh, we saw some birds off in the distance. I got this picture with my zoom and then enlarging this picture. There were a lot of these birds at the lake that day. I think this might be a Stilt Sandpiper, but with the picture being unclear it is really hard to make sure when you are new at ID-ing birds.

Across Jones Lake Joe spotted another alligator. I could not see it with my bare eyes ( I need new glasses) but with the camera I could see it with the zoom. 

 I then had to enlarge this picture to see it better.
Then we saw another Javelina with her 3 babies.

Javelinas breed year round, but usually in the spring with the babies being born in the summer.

Usually Javelinas have 2-3 babies. This one had 4.

We drove a bit further to Big Tree Trail. This one was a little longer, so we finally get a little exercise. The trail takes you to a boardwalk that normally connects to an observation tower. When we got to the boardwalk we saw that it was closed to the observation tower. There was not a single wildlife to be seen at that boardwalk, so we continued the loop trail back to the car.

This was the larges Live Oak along the trail. After seeing the giant trees in Kings Canyon, we were not impressed. This tree is about 473 years old.

Next we drove to the observation tower.

It is a bit of a climb to get to the top,

over the trees.

At the top we could see the boardwalk below that was closed.

Looking to the south from the tower.

We were told by other people that there were two Whooping Cranes out in the distance. You can see two white spots across the water that are the cranes.

I got my zoom lens and then enlarge the picture, but they are still  a blurry,

so I took a picture of a picture of a Whooping Crane. Whooping Cranes are the rarest bird in North America. Adult Whooping Cranes get to be nearly 5 feet tale, making them the tallest bird in North America. Their wing span reach 71/2 feet. They were almost extinct at 15,  in 1941. Today there are around 500 of them. The largest number of Whooping Cranes winter in the Aransas NWR.

On the way out of the refuge we saw 4 deer.

When we got back to Fulton, I had Joe drive back to the marsh area on Fulton Beach Road. There we saw a Snowy Egret I believe.

A Great Egret

I came back to see the Roseate Spoonbill. I got to watch it search for dinner. It swings it's spoonbill from right to left or back and forth as it walks in the water.

I think these are Black Skimmers. The lighting was not good, so I am not for sure.

I walked down a driveway trying to get a closer look at the Roseate Spoonbill, but it took off, 

only to return in a few minutes.

We headed home again past the Windswept Oaks on Fulton Beach Road.

Joe had bought fresh Blue Crabs for dinner before we went to the refuge and had put them on ice while we were gone.

He pick up this one to throw into the boiling pot of water.

It grabbed the tongs with it's claw trying to get away. I could not watch. Joe tried to put too many of them in the pot, and one grabbed the tong again trying to get out. I got mad at Joe for trying to boil to many of them making the poor crabs suffer. I did not enjoy them because they were too much work to get so little meat. I ate one and that was it. I left the rest for Joe and found something else to eat.

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