Port Aransas Field Trips
Joan and Scott Holt
This is the iconic neotropical migrant stop-over site on the Island. A freshwater pond with (still) numerous Black Willows and other trees to attract lots of birds. We would expect to see numerous species of warblers, vireos, tanagers, and flycatchers as well as a few waterbirds using the now relatively open pond.
The Birding Center features a large freshwater marsh created from the outfall of the local wastewater treatment plant surrounded by extensive saltwater marsh. Most of
the larger wading birds and numerous ducks will be found here with a scattering of shorebirds as well. The new boardwalk into the marsh may be partially accessible but good views into the marsh will be had from the entrance area as well. The entrance area also provides good chances for many neotropical migrants. On some days the Birding Center rivals Paradise Pond for migrant passerine numbers.
This site along the side of Highway 361 on the southern edge of the heart of Port A provides an excellent view of an extensive mudflat. While some situations (essentially no water during dry spells or too much water during rains) produce few if any birds here, this site can arguably be one of the best sites in the world for observing shorebirds when conditions are right.
The infrastructure for accessing the interior of the Preserve will not likely be in place for the 2020 Festival but we can access the edge of the Preserve via a short walk on a cement walkway. This short walk should also provide views of migrant passerines that make use of open grassland habitats.
This site is not part of the Port Aransas Nature Preserve system but a visit to the beachfront near the South Jetty provides excellent views of numerous gull and tern species as well as some shorebirds, such as Sanderlings and Ruddy Turnstones, that may be difficult to see elsewhere.