You can find all kinds of amazing birds in Aransas County and throughout the Coastal Bend. From November to March, the world’s only flock of over 265 Whooping Cranes go to their migratory home in the Aransas Wildlife Refuge, and there are a number of scheduled boat trips running through this area. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Rockport-Fulton enjoys some exceptional weather that’s great for birding. Early in the season, there are plenty of wolfberries and blue crabs for the whooping cranes to eat.
The Rockport-Fulton area has always had an abundance of birds. Some of them include, but may not be limited to:
- Mottled Duck
- Common Goldeneye
- Brown Pelican
- American White Pelican
- Double-Crested Cormorant
- Neotropic Cormorant
- American Bittern
- Great Egret
- Great Blue Heron
- Snowy Egret
- Little Blue Heron
- Tricolored Heron
- Reddish Egret
- Green Heron
- Black-Crowned Night Heron
- Yellow-Crowned Night Heron
- White Ibis
- Roseate Spoonbill
When you visit this area, you can not only enjoy the birds, but can also discover a friendly and vibrant community. Aside from the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (which is a 70,00-acre sanctuary on Blackjack Peninsula), another well-known birding location is Goose Island State Park (which is located 12 miles north of Rockport). Running along the shores of Aransas and St. Charles Bay, this outdoor treasure is great for a camping and birding adventure. When you arrive, you’ll have the opportunity to see all kinds of waterfowl, shorebirds, and passerines.
Birding Seasons of the Coastal Bend
No matter what time of year you decide to visit, you can enjoy birding in Rockport, Texas. There are several notable places that are worth mentioning. There’s even a 19-stop walking trail that highlights all the different birds, plants, and subjects related to the wonders of nature. It’s eight-tenths of a mile long and starts at the Demo Bird Garden. Then, it loops back to the cemetery and ends at Fulton Beach Road.
Here is a breakdown of all the birding during all four seasons of the Coastal Bend:
- Spring — With over 200 migratory species coming to this area per day, this is one of the best times for birding in Rockport, Texas. The different habitats in this area are attractive to many birds, especially during migration.
- Summer — During this time, there are approximately 100 nesting species in the Coastal Bend. Almost all of the barrier islands host a variety of colonial nesting birds, which can be seen from the birding tour boats operating in this area.
- Fall — This is a great time of year to see spectacular raptor flights. Shorebirds fill up the marshes, hummingbirds hit the feeders during mid-September, and there can be 200 birds in a single backyard.
- Winter — With over 100 winter residents, lingering migrants, southern vagrants, and permanent residents, this time of year makes for some spectacular birding.
Aside from all the areas along the Gulf Coast, there are also some great places for inland birding. The Connie Hagar Cottage Sanctuary was purchased 1994 for the purpose of establishing a bird sanctuary and historical site. This wooded area has over six acres of trails and is a great place for inland birding.
Birding Festivals of the Coastal Bend
If you visit Rockport at the right time, you can participate in one of the Coastal Bend’s birding events. This includes the Whooping Crane Festival (which has been held in Port Aransas every year since 1996). It celebrates the annual return of the Whooping Cranes to their wintering habitat at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. In fact, the Coastal Bend is the only place where you can see the last of the naturally occurring population of Whooping Cranes in the world.
In the end of April, the City of Corpus Christi hosts the Birdiest Festival in America where you can book full-day and half-day trips, as well as a variety of bird walks. You can also attend a number of presentations, workshops, and raptor project shows. You will even get a southern welcome with some Texas barbecue. Whether it’s on foot, by car, or in a boat, there’s a lot to see at this incredible festival.
If you like hummingbirds, then you’ll love Rockport’s annual HummerBird Celebration (which will be held September 15-18 this year). Richard Crossley (who is an internationally acclaimed birder, author, and photographer) will be the keynote speaker. He is a public speaker who is known for his thought-provoking and entertaining style, which is why he is sought after by many people.
If you want to book your next birding adventure and are looking for a condo in Rockport, be sure to get in touch with Bayfront Kontiki.