20919
Port Aransas
Spring Coastal Migration
For birders there’s nowhere better than South Texas for the spring migration. Join us and see endangered Whooping Cranes, Pygmy Owls, shorebirds and many more on this birding adventure.
Program No. 20919RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,285
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6 days
5 nights
15 meals
5 B 1BR 4 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome
Port Aransas, TX
D
Best Western Port Aransas

Afternoon: 4:30 pm Welcome reception in the hotel meeting room. Pickup registration folders, introductions, overview of schedule.

Dinner: Dinner at Jay's Seafood and Spaghetti Works - menu selections

Evening: Free evening after a days travel.

DAY
2
Birding in Port Aransas
Port Aransas, TX
B,L,D
Best Western Port Aransas

Activity note: Our day will be filled birding in different habitats and terrain, from boardwalks to sandy beach. Walking up to 1.5 miles at stop/start intervals throughout the day. Standing for periods of time up to 1 hour. A variety of terrain includes, boardwalks, dirt paths, beach, uneven surface etc.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room our daily breakfast buffet offers a rotating variety of choices such as an egg dish, breakfast meat, waffles, hot/cold cereals, fruit, yogurt, muffins, bagels, toast, milk, juices, coffee (regular and decaf), hot tea, water.

Morning: Our day begins with a short 5 minute drive to the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center and Paradise Pond, both very productive birding sites year-round. Both of these sites attracts birds and birders alike. The boardwalk at the birding center stretches a quarter of a mile over shallow, brackish water and allows for close observation of many birds. From the elevated observation platform look for waterfowl - Black-bellied Whistling ducks, Grebes (including Least), Herons and Egrets, Cormorants, Shorebirds (such as Black-necked Stilts) and flaming pink Roseate Spoonbills. Our next stop will be at Paradise Pond - set on two acres surrounded by Black Willows and native prairie, Paradise Pond is an unique wooded freshwater wetland on Mustang Island. A 'secret hot spot' that fills with colorful songbirds each spring and fall. Early migrants to watch for include Northern Water thrush, Orange-Crowned warbler, Common Yellow, Wilson's warbler, Gray Catbird and so on.

Lunch: Pizza, soup and salad style buffet lunch

Afternoon: Continue birding along the beach and bays of Port Aransas. Looking for shorebirds, gulls and terns

Dinner: Dinner at Virginia's on the Bay - menu selections

Evening: At leisure

DAY
3
Bay Rookery Cruise
Port Aransas, TX
B,L,D
Best Western Port Aransas

Activity note: Wear closed toe shoes and appropriate clothes for a boat trip. Boat has Catamaran hull, Covered indoor seating on lower deck. Upper deck is open.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room our daily breakfast buffet offers a rotating variety of choices such as an egg dish, breakfast meat, waffles, hot/cold cereals, fruit, yogurt, muffins, bagels, toast, milk, juices, coffee (regular and decaf), hot tea, water.

Morning: Take a 3 hour cruise on Aransas Bay on the M/V Skimmer, a twin-hull catamaran. We will sail around some of the most productive rookeries in the area and you can expect to see an abundance of birds including Roseate Spoonbills, Snowy Egrets and many more. All in their spectacular breeding plumage. A wonderful photo opportunity. You will also see Bottle-nosed Dolphins up close and personal.

Lunch: Picnic style lunch overlooking the beach

Afternoon: Birding continues at the Goose Island State Park feeder station and Lamar Peninsula. Looking for migratory warblers and other birds.

Dinner: Dinner at Moby Dicks - menu selections

Evening: DVD on the history of the King Ranch. 30 minutes.

DAY
4
King Ranch Guided Birding Field Trip
Port Aransas, TX
B,L,D
Best Western Port Aransas

Activity note: Early start. Drive 1.5 hours to the King Ranch for a 4 hour driving/walking guided birding trip with expert instructor,Tom Langschied of the King Ranch. Expect to see Green Jay, Kiskadee, Vermilion Flycatcher and lots more.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room our daily breakfast buffet offers a rotating variety of choices such as an egg dish, breakfast meat, waffles, hot/cold cereals, fruit, yogurt, muffins, bagels, toast, milk, juices, coffee (regular and decaf), hot tea, water.

Morning: Early start. Drive 1.5 hours to the King Ranch for a 4 hour driving/walking guided birding trip with expert instructor on the Santa Gertrudis division. Expect to see Green Jay, Kiskadee, Vermilion Flycatcher, Olive Sparrow and lots more. As early at 1947, famed conservationist Aldo Leopold called the King Ranch "one of the best jobs of wildlife restoration on the continent". Today, the ranch is a vital part of an incredible diverse landscape in South Texas dubbed "The Last Great Habitat".

Lunch: Sandwich or salad picnic lunch at the ranch while observing birds nearby

Afternoon: Continue birding en-route to hotel. Stop at Hazel Bazemore Park - a famous migratory hawk fly-over site. Possible sightings of Green Kingfisher, Kiskadee and various shorebirds and hawks.

Dinner: Catered meal in the hotel dining room. Set menu

Evening: At leisure. Your group leader will be glad to assist you with information on local attractions.

DAY
5
Mustang Island Beach and Port Aransas Nature Preserve.
Port Aransas, TX
B,L,D
Best Western Port Aransas

Activity note: This day will be used to visit a variety of sites to try and pick up any species that may have eluded us during the week. Similar terrain as previous days. Walking up to 1.5 miles at stop/start intervals throughout the day. Standing for periods of time up to 1 hour.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room our daily breakfast buffet offers a rotating variety of choices such as an egg dish, breakfast meat, waffles, hot/cold cereals, fruit, yogurt, muffins, bagels, toast, milk, juices, coffee (regular and decaf), hot tea, water.

Morning: Depart for a short 5 minute drive to the Port Aransas Nature Preserve. The natural area's extensive tidal flats provide feeding areas and important habitat for shorebirds and endangered and threatened species such as the Piping Plover. The preserve includes over three miles of hike and bike trails, a pavilion, boardwalks over algae flats, crushed granite trails on the uplands, covered seating sites and two towers overlooking wetland areas around Salt Island.

Lunch: Lunch at the university campus cafeteria overlooking the ship channel

Afternoon: Birding continues around the Port Aransas area

Dinner: Farewell Dinner and social at Ms. K's Bistro and enjoy a local favorite, Shrimp Boil

Evening: Tally bird count

DAY
6
Last chance birding
Port Aransas, TX
B,BR

Activity note: We will conclude birding by 9:30 am and take a final bird tally back at the hotel.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room our daily breakfast buffet offers a rotating variety of choices such as an egg dish, breakfast meat, waffles, hot/cold cereals, fruit, yogurt, muffins, bagels, toast, milk, juices, coffee (regular and decaf), hot tea, water.

Morning: Port Aransas Birding sites. Paradise Pond or Birding Center to pick up some last migratory birds.

Brunch: Program ends at 10 am. Take snack-box with you.