Thursday, 22 January 2009

A Trip to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Today was another gorgeous day here! We're sure having better weather than we had two years ago when we were at Rockport. I'm enjoying this very much.

It was 42F (6C) this morning when I went for my walk. I walked a bit further this morning and according to my new pedometer which I got set up yesterday, I walked 1.7 miles.

We reached a high today of 75F (24C). The decision was made this morning to go to the ANWR (Aransas National Wildlife Refuge) even though Gordon hasn't heard back about his photo sale. Glad we didn't stick around as he still hasn't heard about it but has another request from someone in the U.K.

We left around 11 a.m. and took about 40 minutes to get there. First up was to stop at the Visitor Center for Gordon to get his America the beautiful senior pass. There was some question about whether he would get it since he's a permanent resident of Canada but since he had a U.S. passport with a U.S. address on it, they went ahead and gave it to him. So we can now go into any National park or National historical site for free as well has half price camping at COE (Corps of Engineers Parks). It covers Gordon, me and two other people traveling in our vehicle. So that's taken care of.

Then it was on into the refuge. We stopped first at the alligator viewing area - no alligators. Bummer! The first half of the day didn't produce many results. We walked on a couple of trails but didn't see much other than some scenery on San Antonio Bay.

Sand bar in San Antonio Bay

Driftwood along the Bay - you can see how low the water is

One of the trails we walked

I had packed us a picnic lunch which we ate looking out at the Bay from a bench on the boardwalk near the observation tower.

Cardinal near the observation tower - Mom?

From there we did the auto loop but didn't see much there either so we decided to go to the Jones Lake viewing area which is near the observation tower. We had been there before and had seen 'gators and feral hogs. Jones Lake due to lack of rain is now more like Jones Pond but we did see four feral hogs, a great blue heron catch and play with a fish before eating it and several alligators although they were quite far away. Lots of photos were taken.

Blue heron with his fish

One alligator and three turtles

Feral hogs

On our way back through the park we saw an o'possum cross in front of us and continue along a side road. Then we stopped at the alligator viewing area. This time there was a small alligator there and as well an armadillo. Lots more photos taken. Further along we saw another armadillo, more photos taken. Then on our way out we saw more for a total of seven armadillos seen today!

O'Possum taking a hike

Me in front of a really big tree

Really ugly turkey vulture!

Alligator in the viewing area

Armadillo - isn't he cute?

We consider ourselves very fortunate to have seen so much wildlife today even though we didn't see any whooping cranes! For those that don't know, ANWR is the Texas home of the whooping cranes. We saw them last time we were here but only because we took the boat cruise that takes you right to them.

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