Saturday, January 12, 2013

South Padre Island Nature and Birding Center…

Roseate Spoonbill

South Padre Birding Center 106Here at the Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort there are organized bird watching tours every Thursday morning and this past Thursday the destination was the South Padre Island Nature and Birding Center. Basically anyone intersted in the tour signs up at the guest services office for the (free) trip and then caravans in their own transportation to the destination. From our park it is about a one hour and fifteen minute drive over to South Padre Island.

We all met at the front of the park and left by 7:30 a.m. (yes, that is extremely early for Sharon) and got to the facility just before it opened at 9:00 a.m. We rode with our friends Brett and Darla whom we met here at the park. The entry fee was $4.00 each for seniors. After paying there is access to their observation tower, the exhibits as well as the extensive boardwalks and trails.

South Padre Birding Center Coot

Gulf FritillaryThe South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center is at the southern tip of South Padre Island, which by the way is the world’s longest barrier island. South Padre Island is a rather thin and long island between the shallow Laguna Madre and the expansive Gulf of Mexico. The Center is near the convention center and encompasses about 50 acres of varied habitats from dune meadows, salt marshes,intertidal flats and even a fresh water habitat.

We spent several hours walking along the boardwalks observing the birds up very close and personal. There were even a couple of American Alligators and schools of mullet in the brackish and fresh water ponds.The birds in this park seem to be so at ease with people that they Mullet in tidal poolare not very skittish at all. They seemed to be carrying on with life as if we weren’t even there. This made it much easier to locate some of the more secretive birds as we were even able to see Clapper Rails and the American Bittern. I was even able to photograph both birds however, the Clapper Rail photo was only of its lower torso…

Great Blue HeronBlue Winged TealAmerican AlligatorCommon MoorhenAmerican Bittern

Sharon Bret and Darla

We enjoyed strolling along the 4800 feet of boardwalks as people shared their sightings while we shared ours thereby giving us the chance to see and identify most of the listed varieties of birds and butterflies. As we finished up our walk we went up the five story observation tower that offered some nice panoramic views of the Laguna Madre as well as the beaches and dunes of South Padre Island and the Gulf of Mexico. After our birding expedition we made our way back south on the island and stopped for a late lunch at Parrot Eye’s. They have a great lunch special there of delicious grilled jumbo shrimp for only $6.95. Some inexpensive draft beer selections along with some great conversation with Brett and Darla made our last trip to South Padre a really fun day…


  1. What a great day you two had. Awesome photos.

  2. That is such a beautiful area thanks for the tour.

  3. Sounds like a grand bird day ... definitely something to do when we get there.

  4. Loved reading about your visit... and the beautiful photos! It's been a year or so since we've been there... I'd love to go back sometime and enjoy seeing those birds!

  5. The pink wings on that Spoonbill are incredible! I have only seen a few and none that pink or up that close. Beautiful.

  6. The spoonbill photo is my favorite. Very nice!

  7. Love the photos. Gotta get there one of these days.

  8. We love S Padre Island, and never knew this existed ... thanks !!

    On one of your next visits, remember to try the shrimp from Dirty Al's

    Please tell Sharon that Teresa and I would also struggle to make a 7:30 AM deadline ... lol.

    Take care ... TnT

  9. Love that Spoonbill photo. The boardwalk there looks like a great place to visit.

  10. Organized bird watching tours - that is SO my kind of place! What great pictures. Love the butterfly. That spoonbill is fantastic. Sounds like a great day.

  11. Love to hear about people enjoying the nature South Padre Island has to offer. The Birding Center is near the Whaling Wall (South Padre Island Convention Centre) and the Laguna Madre Nature Trail, along with Sea Turtle, Inc. which give visitors an array of beauty to enjoy while visiting! Especially nice to hear there are people that have never been and have something very special to enjoy on their next trip!