One nice thing about staying on South Padre Island is this area is well known for it’s birding. I realize a lot of you aren’t birders but it offers something fun to do during the pandemic and can be done outdoors practically anywhere. A pair of good binoculars is a must.
One of our favorite birdwatching places here is the Laguna Nature Trail. It’s owned by the city and is located right behind the South Padre Island Convention Center. There are two short boardwalks taking visitors through the various habitats one would associate with this part of coastal Texas.
Our first visit we took the boardwalk to the left upon entering the Nature Trail leading us by a pond. Before the pond one of the endemic birds found in this area greeted us. The Kiskadee Flycatcher in all its glory was perched on the handrail of the boardwalk and was seemingly cheering us on.
The pond never disappoints as every time we visit we see a few common species along with something new. There are a few logs situated in the middle of the pond where various waterfowl can often be found sleeping.
The mud flats around the pond offer additional habitat providing for a few different birds to see. Just past the mud flats there additional open water harboring more secretive waterfowl. Lots of marshes in the wetlands provide cover for many species of rails. We have been fortunate to spot the very elusive Sora Rail on several occasions scurrying between and through clumps of marsh grass.
The other boardwalk takes visitors on an upland wooded section where flycatchers, warblers, thrashers and catbirds try their best to find food and hide. A long stretch of mangroves are found next where Mangrove Crabs, Kinglets and Yellow Rumped Warblers are common.
Near the end of this boardwalk is an open saltwater bay where lots of wintering waterfowl make their winter homes. Rafts of Redhead Ducks are seen nearly every time we visit as are Brown and White Pelicans, Egrets, Herons, Gulls, Terns and other species of ducks. Occasionally we are treated to sights of Roseate Spoonbills sleeping in the mangroves or soaring Black Skimmers skimming the surface of the water.
We sometimes encounter a few people on the boardwalks and most (but not all) wear masks as we pass each other on the boardwalks, Signage indicate masks are required.
What we like best about this park is we see different things every time we go out and with this trail being free if fits our budget better than the $14 it would cost the two of us to visit the adjacent South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center. It is something we both enjoy and a good way to spend a delightful couple of hours during Covid.
NOTE: We are currently in South Padre Island in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas for the winter…