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USA road trip - Arkansas National Wild Life Refuge
300+ miles on we arrived at the Goose Island State Park near Corpus Christy, right next to the Arkansas Wild Life Refuge, another of the Birding Hotspots according to my bird field guide. Already we were not disappointed after seeing our first Crested Caracara and a whole host of Raptors, Egrets and Herons along the way on the road between Houston and Corpus Christie, including a cloud of thousands of black birds flying over the grain fields in amazing formations. At the camp ground we arrived in time to see another great sunset while we were setting up our shelter and the prospect of a day of great birding in this beautiful part of south Texas had my heart beating strongly as I go to sleep in the comfort of Matilda. An owl hooting in the camp ground as we enjoyed our supper was a stark reminder of why I prefer to be here than in some hotel room watching the evening news or a sitcoms!
Saturday morning 6.00 and the campground is gradually coming to life. No other humans have stirred except to perhaps turn over in their sleeping bags and wish for the cup of coffee that I am sipping from. The sounds that I am listening to is the dawn chorus as the birds wake up, greet a new day, and then begin their search h for some tasty morsels. About 8-10 different bird calls can be identified, but I will have to wait for the full light of a new day to dawn before putting names to them with the help of my binoculars and the bird books that we have collected on the trip. A Heron quietly flies over on its way to some marshy area where it will soon be searching for frogs, snails, and fish in its daily quest for food. Audrey and I will soon be enjoying a bowl of homemade muesli mix with a banana cut into it and a cup of coffee.
After nearly six months the birds are becoming more familiar and putting names to them less of a mystery. Audrey is very good at seeing a new bird “we have not seen one of those before!” and then finding it in the field guide- “I think it’s a Crested Caracara?” As the sun rises behind the morning mist over Mustang Island others are beginning to move in the camp site and the loud sound of an occasional Airboat leaving for fishing trips in the warm waters of the Gulf or inter-coastal water way disturbs the quiet. We will be leaving in the less noisy Matilda to explore the nearby Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge that covers both beach and prairie.