|Alligator at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Austwell, Texas|
We saw a lot of people surf fishing on Mustang Island. Most were catching whiting and hardhead catfish.
There are a lot of beach homes and condos near Port Aransas and it's a popular vacation spot, especially during spring break and summer.
Floating oil rigs parked near the ferry which goes from Port Aransas to Aransas Pass.
We drove through Rockport, across Capano Bay, heading to Austwell, Texas and the refuge (about 25 miles from Rockport).The original refuge headquarters is closed due to damage from Hurricane Harvey in August, 2017. Their current headquarters is in a mobile home. The refuge manager told us that the cement building had major roof and mold damage that it will need to be demolished and completely rebuilt at a later date. Garry had hunted in the area and had been to the refuge 15 years ago and at that time saw many displays in the headquarters, which were destroyed with the hurricane.
I followed directions for a change and didn't try to feed any animals.
There are nice boardwalks across the wetland areas.
Some of the wetland areas have observation platforms. I stayed on the platform!
The majority of the wild whooping crane population comes from Wood Bison Park in Canada to spend the winter at the Aransas Refuge. We saw on the local news that the Twenty-Third Annual Whooping Crane Festival was taking place in Port Aransas during our stay, so we stopped in at the Community Center for the birder's show, which was very interesting.
We spotted a pair of whooping cranes in the distance while on an observation platform.
|Mustang Lake Observation Platform - Notice the many vultures roosting in the trees.|
We saw many whitetail deer on the refuge. Garry saw many javalina on previous trips, and I really wanted to see one, but we didn't see any this time.
|Jones Lake Observation Platform|
We saw this 9 ft gator near Jones Lake. We took the photos from the car!
|It's nice when you can zoom in to get a closeup!|
We drove the auto-tour loop through the refuge and this deer posed for us.
Many deer came out to feed close to sunset.
Many yards in the area have damage from the burrows of pocket gophers.
Back at the condo, Garry had company while cleaning some Whiting he caught.
Pelicans, Egrets and Herons are always ready for fish handouts.
I made some fish tacos with the Whiting for a tasty dinner on the deck.
|Little Blue Heron near the condo|
Another beautiful sunset from the deck!
|Black-crowned Night Heron|
Every night Black-crowned Night Herons came to feed on our dock. It was entertaining to watch them catch many fish!