Since we really enjoy visiting National Wildlife Refuges we decided to revisit the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. I say revisit because I have been to this refuge many, many times in my past. While living in College Station a professor friend of mine taught a graduate level Terrestrial Ecosystems Class. This class also had an optional field lab with it and my friend who taught it invited me along on the field trips so I could assist him with the naturalist part of his class.
As a result I spent many Springs along the Texas coast visiting such places as the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and sharing my outdoor knowledge and enthusiasm with budding biologists. I really enjoyed this “volunteer” work and now was simply looking forward to revisiting Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.
The refuge is about a 35-40 drive from our park. The scenery along the way is more reminiscent of my time spent in southern Illinois in the wintertime (sans snow) with all the agriculture and plowed fields as far as the eye can see. After a short drive through the soon to be plowed fields we arrived at the refuge and used our annual pass to gain entrance into the refuge.
We took several short walks on some of the trails to get a bit of exercise and also to see critters that we could see. Along the Heron Flats trail there were several large alligators out soaking up the sunshine that was prevalent that day. We even came across one on the other side of a small impoundment that was as big of a gator as I have seen.
We also walked up the observation towers and were able to see a few Whooping Cranes but they were well off in the distance as can be attested by the only photo I could get.. Next we took the driving loop around the interior of the park that takes up much of the Blackjack Peninsula. We really didn’t see a lot of wildlife on this particular day but we did see a few deer and we saw a lot of the signs of damage that the wild hogs in this area do. The down side of the day was that there were a lot of the trails and areas around the park that were closed. So we didn’t get to go on many of the trails we wanted to go on.
All in all it was a nice day at the refuge but if we come back we will do so more near dusk or dawn to hopefully see a few more critters in the wild than we did this time…