Sunday, February 26, 2017

Texas Gulf Coast

Post by Henry

After spending three (3) months near San Antonio, visiting family and making a trip back to Alabama, we are rambling again.  We're down on the Texas gulf coast, staying near Rockport in an RV park nestled under a canopy of Live Oak trees.

Rambler in the Live Oaks

This area is known as the Live Oak peninsula, so there's an abundance of these beautiful, twisted trees in the area. We've only been here a few days, but we're calling the area "Florida West".

Looks Like Florida to Me!

Palm trees, salt water, warm temperatures, great birding and seafood!

We've been craving seafood and especially raw oysters.  We were craving oysters when we were in Washington, but the going rate was $24 a dozen!  Really?!?  I'm sure they were delicious, but $2 for each slurp of an oyster was out of our price range.

We found a place down the road from us here in Texas with open seating overlooking Aransas Bay that has a happy hour with oysters for $5.50 per dozen and draft beer for $2.25!  REALLY!!

Give me Oysters and Beer for Dinner
Every Day of the Year
and I'll Feel Fine
(Jimmy Buffett)

Delicious fresh shucked oysters, cold beer, and a gorgeous view.  We're gonna take advantage of this oyster heaven numerous times while we are here.

We were looking forward to birding along the Gulf Coast, and it hasn't been disappointing. We've visited a few of the Texas Birding Trail sites where we've seen some great birds, including one of Loretta's favorites - the Roseate Spoonbill.

Roseate Spoonbills Preening

We spent a full day at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

This refuge is probably known most for the whooping cranes that winter here. This is the only natural wild flock of whooping cranes in the world. They spend their winters here at Aranasas NWR and then fly 2,500 miles to Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Canada for the summer. We were lucky enough to see a few, but they were waaay in the distance.

Aransas Wood Buffalo Whooping Crane
(Pretend this is a fine art painting)

We were also lucky enough to spot two new birds for us that day. The Pyrrhuloxia is a bird we've been on the lookout for for quite some time.  It looks very similar to the female Northern Cardinal.


The Tropical Kingbird was another unexpected new bird to add to our life list.

Tropical Kingbird

We spent another day at Padre Island National Seashore. The birding here wasn't as good as Aransas NWR, but we did manage to see another new bird, the Forster's Tern.

Forster's Tern (Small bird)
Royal Tern (Larger bird)
Winter Plumage

Besides birding here, we spent several hours on the beach listening to the waves, soaking up the vitamin D and watching nearly constant lines of Pelicans soaring past.

The National Seashore stretches south for 70 miles along the Texas coast with 60 miles of it open to beach driving and primitive camping. Of course 4-wheel drive is recommended, but the park brochure claims the first 5 miles is doable with 2 wheel drive. We took the HHR down about a mile or so along that stretch. We even saw RV's set up for some boondocking!

Padre Island
Driving and Camping ON the Beach

We've been here on the Texas coast for less than a week, and so far, we're digging "Florida West"!


  1. We absolutely love Rockport! You're right, the birding is amazing. And yum, oysters! We were just talking yesterday about spending some time in Rockport on our way to Florida next winter. There are often Whooping Cranes (with good close up views) in the fields near Goose Island State Park. We saw them every day while we were biking along the bay on Lamar Beach Road. Have fun—wish we were there! :-)

    1. Yes, the birding IS amazing. We are discovering new birding sites all the time.
      Sometimes we're seeing good birds in the puddles just off the side of the road!