Heading over Harbor Bridge to our first stop on the itinerary...which is Indian Point. Altho, for the 2nd time this winter, a brown booby [it's a bird - I know, I know...odd name for a bird, but what the hey?] was reported at this area, we saw none. I really wasn't expecting to find it...they are more or less 'stay on the water' birds...rarely coming ashore. But, we got some walking in, along all the fresh water ponds and the bay's shoreline. Our next stop would be Ingleside and the Aransas Pass area. Both, small towns along the coast. Not much there but it was a nice drive. Eventually, heading toward PORT Aransas [not the same as Aransas Pass, Texas]. And in order to get from Aransas Pass to Port Aransas, you must board the Ferry Boats and cross the massive ship channel. I happened to be driving on this day instead of Bud. And I will say right now...I don't like the idea of crossing water. Deep water...I have a strong phobia. The digital display signage about a mile outside the area informed us drivers that there is a 15 minute wait to board. So, we arrived in line...something like the fourth vehicle from the front we were. I watched in fear the semi-truck loading on a special ferry boat. Thinking of the weight of the truck, and nothing but a 'sinking' feeling crossed my mind. No it didn't sink. But I just couldn't help myself. Finally, we were directed to drive aboard and park, and wait in the car for other vehicles to load...wait, wait, wait. Thing is, by the time I drove aboard...our car ended up being in the FRONT on the 2nd row of cars/trucks. In the front mind you...a scary thought. I really hadn't planned on taking photos, but since we were in the lead and the view on the other side was without any other interference of vehicles ahead of me on the ferry, I asked Bud to hand me the camera from the back seat. Now, we've utilized this ferry service many-a-times, but the frequency never makes it easier on my nerves..
Quiet inside our car as we waited some more while the guides directed others to drive aboard. They primed our car to steady it once the ferry began to cross....then, after what seemed an eternity, the ferry started to move. Another dreaded feeling came over me...but I persevered....hung tough. And snapped a few photos:
[take note of the heart shaped cutout on the metal barricade]
...we moved slowly over the channel, coming in closer and closer to the other side. Finally, all secured and the gate came down. Thank goodness, the patrolling guide pointed at ME and I WAS THE FIRST VEHICLE OFF that nasty contraption!!! Phew...what a ride. Literally.
We stopped to have lunch at a Mexican Restaurant and walked afterward to the first spot to check out the bird activities. Not much, several yellow rumped warblers and one bird that I've only seen ONCE before in our area of Texas. And that was the American Robin. I first heard it before I finally found it. Robins, according to the habitat maps of such birds are only a non-breeding resident...scarce they are. But, its song was a welcome sound! Spring is coming...or probably to some, has arrived!! The very first one I saw, about a decade ago, I didn't have a camera. This time I did!! After walking through this part of Port A, we drove to another of our favorite areas...Leonabelle Turnbull's Refuge. Soras, pelicans, shovelers, and ducks. Now, I've seen Green Teals many times here and other places around Corpus Christi, but one was marked very differently. The colors were rare. You see, Green Teals most often look like this seen here at this link. What I saw on the pond there was this. The Teal had PURPLE instead of the green. I was wondering if it was the light, or perhaps something to do with mating. I did some searching; lo and behold, in the description on ducks dot org, I read that sometimes they do have purple marking/colors!! This I did not know.
Spending maybe about 1 hour there, we turned to leave the observation area, and in amongst the dying reed I spotted this family:
The Coypu, aka River Rat or Nutria.
Their fur continues to be highly sought. But, in most cases, they are destructive and most often, if found, relocated.
I spotted in the dying reed also...far off the path, in the distance, I noticed this.
Anni: "What do you suppose that is Bud? An alligator nest?"
Bud: "It's probably a coon nest."
Anni: "I bet it's alligator."
There ARE alligators here. Warning signs at the entrance proves it. Bud and I have seen a few now and then. Oh, and searching to compare...yes, I utilized Google again. The nests of alligators I viewed online are similar to what I found!! By the way...did you know that alligators do not hibernate. Some bloggers mentioned a photo I had a few weeks ago with an alligator on the grass....mentioned that it's too cold/too early for them to be out...not so!! They actually brummate. They have been known to be out in winter, and can withstand water temperatures of 40 degrees. If there is warm sun and protection of cold winds, they do come out and soak up the warmth on some of the colder days. Read more...