USA Road Trip-Corpus Christy and San Antonio
Saturday was an exciting birding day as we travelled from Goose Island to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge with possibly the major tick on our trip bird list being the Whooping Cranes that we saw from the lookout tower. This is one of the two Crane species found in the U.S.A. and is on the critically endangered list, with only about 100 pairs existing! In 1934 only 19 remained in the wild and the flock that was re-established a few years ago in Florida and highlighted in the documentary where they flew south with the micro-light plane was unfortunately wiped out by the big hurricane, Katrina.
On the way we also saw more Raptors than we saw anywhere else on the trip including a couple of Caracaras and a truly amazing cloud over the south Texas farming area. The high light of the day, from a photographic view was in the mid afternoon back at Goose Island as the fishing boats started to arrive in a spray of water and huge noise from their hydrofoil motors. As they cleaned their fish a flock of White and Brown Pelicans gathered to feed on the scraps of fish supplied by the fishermen who delighted in throwing them to the birds and so we both got some great photos!
The sunset and sunrise from the fishing pier at Goose Island were two of the best we had experienced and we left for Corpus Christy with mixed feelings. Our first ferry crossing of the trip placed us on Mustang Island and with the prospect of heavy rain on Monday we changed our plans to camp at the state park there and settled for a walk on the beach and then moving on to San Antonio.
As we travelled into Corpus Christy on our way north we were delighted to spot a Long-billed Curlew and some Oyster-catchers that we stopped to photograph(and got attacked by a horde of jiggers).As we then started on the highway to drive through and out of Corpus Christy and as I was saying to Audrey, ‘it’s finally goodbye to the Gulf-coast’ we both saw a Roseate Spoonbill flying across the highway. A quick decision lead to an equally quick exit, with the rather optimistic hope that we could retrace our steps and somehow find these beautiful birds in one of the intercostals waterways that we had just crossed. A re-entry onto the highway and another exit resulted in us finding two of these beautiful birds feeding along with some other good birds on either side of the highway! Audrey managed to get some really good photos to add to our growing collection.
What started out as my choice of the best 10 Places, Birds, Sunsets, Views and Flowers, then became my best 35 and is now my 50 of each.
One more highlight for the day was a long line of birds flying across the highway in perfect formation to be followed by several huge groups of more of the same birds. We estimated that there had to be several thousand and because they were quite high and we could not stop we are not certain what they were, but their size pointed to Pelicans or Ibises. Audrey snapped a few photos through the window as we were travelling at 60 miles an hour and we will take a look at them later.
San Antonio, with its beautiful river walk, historical background and fascinating market proved to be worthy of the two nights we spent in the comfort of the hotel that is justly named Comfort Suites with two TV’s so that we could each watch our favorite programs.