We began the day not wanting to do anything on our “want to do” list. We became restless by midmorning, and opted to drive to Rockport to the aquarium and for bird watching. Enroute, we saw the sign for Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), and one of us, probably Kay, suggested we drive there to check it out. Aransas NWR is among our nations oldest wildlife refuges, and provides wintering habitat for the whooping crane, as well as other birds, reptiles, and other animals and plants.
The refuge was about an hour north of Aransas Pass, near Tivoli, Texas. Volunteers, RVers who work for their RV site, were manning the headquarters and were quite friendly and helpful in assisting us with planning a driving tour to include photo-taking opportunities.
Our first stop was just across the road from the refuge headquarters, and featured a slough containing alligators. At the fence separating us from the slough, we looked hard but did not see any alligators; however, at the end of the fence, a 6-foot alligator was sunning him/herself. We took several photos, daring not to get too close; one must let a sleeping alligator lie.
Our next stop was close to the water, and we saw whooping cranes off in the distance. A more detailed look revealed whooping cranes near the shoreline, but too far for a good photograph. Further along the refuge road, a 0.7 mile trail circled through large trees, not too far from the shoreline. Among those trees was one about 400 years old, covered in vines. We were somewhat surprised to discover mosquitoes in the area!
Departing the shoreline road, we drove and interior road through the refuge’s grasslands. Along the road we saw a family of whooping cranes. Note the banding on one of the cranes legs. Further along the road two deer were lying the burned over grassland.
Another interesting site was the myriad of gopher holes. We have seen these through much of South Texas but didn’t know what they were, assuming they were ant hills. Needing to get back to redfish Bay RV resort in time to prepare food for a potluck, we finished the to the refuge, drove back towards the RV resort, stopping at HE be for you groceries. The potluck was not well attended, but we did meet some “neighbors” and talked about flyfishing in Arkansas and Colorado.
An hour or two of television finished the evening.