Bud and I went hawk hunting the other day....driving the back roads in the area known as Chapman's Ranch, then, we decided to cross the causeway bridge and drive into Padre Island National Seashore [a federal, national, park].
Chapman Ranch, at one time, was a small community, now incorporated into the Corpus Christi City Limits. Chapman Ranch is on Farm Road 70 in southeastern Nueces County. It is so named for a family that purchased 34,000 acres of the King Ranch [King Ranch has 825,000 acres] in 1919. Today the shell of the town, Chapman's Ranch, no longer exists, but a few abandoned buildings remain. Oil wells, cotton farms, small farm homes - large ranch houses, and a few cattle dot the landscape. On this particular day, the cotton fields were partially harvested and seen were the yellow cotton bales scattered here and there. A couple of operating cotton gins are seen driving from the intersection of County Road 70 to Interstate 69/State Hwy 77. Many many farm to market roads and county roads can be driven on...and yes, on any given day during the entire year, there are other birders out there with their scopes and binoculars....hunting for hawks and falcons [among other bird species].
The birds we sighted were, White Tailed Hawks, Swainson's Hawks, Starlings, Doves, Sparrows, Crested Cara Caras, Sea Gulls, Purple Martins, Grackles, To show you some in photos...
White Tailed Hawk - Swainson's Hawk in Flight - Purple Martin
Read More on the History of the Chapman Ranch/King Ranch Secrets [Texas Monthly Online]
Elevation of the ranch area is shown to be 26 feet above sea level....Corpus Christi is about 7 feet elevation...while, of course, the park [PINS] is sea level!!!
This 'leg' [the ranch area] of the hawk hunt was about a 50 mile round trip. Once back into the city we headed south and eventually paying the fee to enter through the gates of Padre Island National Seashore National Park. Here, we saw only ONE hawk both coming and going, but we pulled off onto the beach at the end of the road [as far as a two wheeled drive vehicle can go], and enjoyed a bit of the surf. After an hour or so there, walking along the shore, we left and pulled off toward Laguna Madre before leaving the park boundaries. This trip added about 50-60 more miles on the odometer....I'll share some more photos in my upcoming post!!