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Hot Spots...

I'll begin my post with a bit of 'rubbish'...an old, and I believe abandoned, factory of some sort found along the "Old Brownsville Road" [not to confuse it with I-69 that is now used to get to Brownsville these days]....See the smoke stack? That's considered a hot spot, right? Even tho the heat has long been extinguished!!



Y'all know by now that I have a passion for photographing birds! And y'all know that we go often to some of the close-by areas. And y'all have seen several feathered photos I've shared here on this blog,  while a few of you  stop by to view the 'better' photos I take at I'd Rather B Birdin'. This time 'round I thought I would share some of the scenery at our favorite places to go birdin'. What we call hot spots!! ---


Hilltop Community Nature Center - this area is northwest from the city. Actually, considering, it is still within the city limits, but several miles from the downtown area and our home. Within the community there is a school for learning and also an historical one-room school house dated back to the days of Nuecestown, Texas c. 1860s - 1870s [once called this before Corpus Christi acquired the area into the city limit boundaries]. I posted about the school here, showing photos of the interior and exterior. Anyway, the community has a blacktopped trail that meanders through the heavy wooded area. Walking the entire paved surfaces, you probably walk about 3 miles...up and down hills. You can get a good work-out on a hot, very humid, summer's day, trust me. Along the trails you can find stops along the way for birding, exercising [outdoor equipment], playground equipment, ballparks, and a large picnic grounds with BBQ pits and smokers [for smoking cuts of meat] all under a covered veranda. Several covered gazebos can be spotted along the way for those who observe birds hidden in the oak, palm, and willow trees.


Oso Bay and Hans Suter Park has more picnic areas and a trail that goes in one direction through a wooded area to the bay via a boardwalk along a feeder channel that water birds love! At the end of the boardwalk there is a large observation deck that looks out into the bay where you see ducks, storks, spoonbills, egrets, herons, pelicans, cormorants and osprey. Among other birds at any given time. Going in the other direction of the trail, it covers a winding trail that ends near a residential area and children's playground. Heavily wooded. The passerines [perching birds like cardinals, woodpeckers, buntings, mockingbirds, etc.] can be found. This photo above is taken from the boardwalk area that ends at the bay's shore.


Pollywog Ponds is also northwest, along Interstate 37. There are three ponds. Well, let me rephrase that...when we first began trekking this area in hopes of finding birds, there were three ponds at one time...so to speak...but one was long dried up. This past 5 years with the extreme drought a second of the three ponds dried up completely. [But last week, when we were there, the city is filling the 2nd one with water now that the drought seems to be lifted!] So, during the last few years, only the largest of the three ponds remained filled or partially filled. Once again, this area is heavily wooded before you get to the ponds. The Nueces River flows at the edge of the largest pond just a few feet from the pond bank. Only a trail that circles around the pond separates the pond water from the river. All along the trail on the south side, there is a drainage ditch that is sometimes filled with a slow moving brook. In this area, you can see several water birds and during the two migration seasons...a whole slew of different migratory birds with the likes of kingbirds, flycatchers, kingfishers, migrating ducks, owls [if lucky!!], herons, ibis, peewees, chuck wills widows [kinda like a whippoorwill, but not!], buntings, orioles,  hawks, etc. This is one of my favorite areas because of the dark, heavily wooded area...so quiet and a road less traveled!! Oh...and this is the ONLY place so far I've seen a snake...a cottonmouth...swimming in the water.


Lakeview Park is within the city limits and only a few miles from home. It's a very family friendly park. The permanent residents here are ducks [including the muscovy ducks] and geese. But at some times during the migratory season, cormorants, egrets, warblers can be spotted. This too has been kept replenished with water from the city...the lake is formed only by fresh water and dries up easily if not for the city keeping it filled during the drought we've experienced.


Hazel Bazemore Park can be found in a little town about 25 miles [give or take a few miles] from Corpus Christi. Of course it too is north and west of the city [can only go north or west from town...otherwise if you headed south or east from the city of Corpus Christi you'd be in the Gulf!!] This park is home to the world renowned Hawk Migration path!! People from all over the world [but seriously, mostly locals] come here to watch the hawk migration. This year alone, the count from the expert counters dated Thursday October 2nd, [from Texas Birding News] - - hawks, eagles, kites, and osprey was "48,000 hawks came through on Monday between 8:30 and noon." I personally have been there during the migration counting [but not this year], and to watch high above the kettles of hawks flying overhead is phenomenal, BUT!!!---I can't fathom that any of this can really be an accurate count just for the fact that those that are counting....they click for each bird they view within their binocular range ---well, my belief is this- the whole idea of an accurate count can't be... just for the fact that these hawks and raptors are circling continually...how on earth can the count be a true total!!?!! Anyway this is the large Hawk Watch Platform. Within this area, there is a paved road that circles around with two ponds, the Nueces River, and another, smaller observation deck at ground level below the elevated hawk-watch platform. This year they also added a bird blind and hummingbird feeders galore, along with a new drip system for birds like Groove-billed Anis, mockingbirds, egrets, avocets, herons, ibis, kingfishers, warblers, osprey, caracara, anhingas, and more. Also seen here are white tailed deer if you're lucky to spot them!!



Blucher Park is a small park just a couple of blocks from the seawall in the downtown area of Corpus Christi that is a migratory haven! Both in Spring and Autumn. The Audubon Society holds a Springtime tour for the avid birders on each Sunday during the month of April. This is a phenomenal little area for about any bird you want to see. Eventually they all show up.


Paradise Pond was a beautiful eye-opening treasure when we first moved here to Texas!! A boardwalk takes you through the pond...years ago, it was like walking on water! The pond was filled. Turtles, herons, egrets were permanent residents. A lot of nesting was going on for sometime. It's a good area for migratory woodpeckers also. But then, something happened.   The once beautiful, pristine water park dried up.  I had to ask about this, and find out why.... Only two drip systems remained. A lot of birds disappeared. But, this drying up was caused by man, not drought. Port Aransas and the Parks Department wanted to drain the water, let it dry up, and then go in and dig up, dispose of, one plant that became all too invasive to the trees and plants that are indigenous to the area. The trees and plants of south Texas were suffocating and dying out because of the pepper plant!!  Finally, after a three year dry spell, they are now slowly refilling the pond....filling it so much, then stopping the water flow until the ground is good and saturated, then opening up the water valve again.  This process will take some time...but  maybe real soon, the pond will be back to 'normal' and the migrants will return, happily.


Port Aransas Birding Center [aka Leonabelle Turnbull Nature Center] is another hot spot for the local bird enthusiasts! During migration the amount of different warblers seen is extraordinary. But, being a novice photographer, warblers can be quite a challenge to get a decent picture of them!!! Seriously, they don't sit still long enough most times to focus on them before they flit to another tree, or tree branch. But, walking toward the pond seen in this photo, you'll see all kinds of waterfowl year 'round! Some that aren't year 'round residents would be the likes of the Magnificent Frigatebird and the American Bittern along with luck you may see the elusive Least Bittern. Migratory ducks like the Cinnamon Teal, and the American Shovelers, blue winged teals, canvasback, etc. can be found in certain seasons. But the egrets, herons, stilts, coots and seagulls can be seen always.


These, above, are just the areas we frequent weekly; during the month. All within a short distance drive from home. There are some other areas that we try and get to during migration but farther driving time....Rockport Texas, Kingsville Texas, Bishop Texas, Alice Texas, Goliad Texas, Victoria Texas, Falfurrius Texas. Not to mention the entire Gulf of Mexico shore around our area, along the dunes and beaches. Oh and another favorite winter area...Goose Island near Lamar, Texas. Very infrequently some great birding along the coastal trails we travel to Brownville Texas, McAllen Texas and Edinburg Texas....and the Hill Country near Austin and Marble Falls. But the latter three are more than a day trip.

In an upcoming post, I plan to share some of the flora seen on these birding walks when the bird spotting is sparse to nil. Hopefully sometime soon.

Linking to: Rubbish Tuesday - Nature Notes - Our World Tuesday

58 comments :

  1. Watching that hawk migration would be awesome!

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    1. ...it is, but again, I don't think the count is all that accurate.

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  2. Great photos and an interesting post as always, Anni! I think I've told you that I was born and raised in Texas, so visiting your blog is like taking a trip back!! Hope you have wonderful new week!!

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    1. ...glad you enjoyed the 'trip back home' Sylvia.

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  3. It is wonderful to have so many birding hot spots nearby. I've always considered myself very fortunate to live on the Texas Gulf Coast. I grew up on Galveston Island and it was one continuous birding hot spot. We now live about 60 miles inland but still with plenty of good birding spots within an hour or so. Love those birds!

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    1. Have you been to Memorial Park in Houston? That is one of my favorite birding places in the city!!

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  4. I enjoyed seeing all your hot spots. They all look like wonderful places to explore.

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    1. ...they are!! But right now, with the days of heavy rains, the mosquitoes are out in full force....and hungry!!! Ugh.

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  5. They all look like spots I would enjoy visiting with my camera. I thought your information on Paradise Park was especially interesting.

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    1. ...the pond is getting back to normal slowly. I can't wait....it truly is like paradise.

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  6. You have so many lovely parks and wilderness areas close to you! I thought of you this week when a Great Blue Heron went crashing through our dense woods, flying over our heads and out to an open space beside the mountain ranges. I've never seen a heron in Summit County, let alone in our woods. Perhaps it was lost in migration? I whispered for it to come to you.

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    1. ...that's odd that it would be in your area...but things like that happen. Unexpected but still a bit exciting.

      Made a wrong turn at Albuquerque. LOL

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  7. Interesting info. here and nice pictures.

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  8. It was fun to get to see where y'all go! I will now be able to picture you in my mind's eye as I read your blog and hear about your adventures with the birds!!

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  9. Those parks look like awesome places to go hunting for good bird photography!

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    1. ...they are...and some are great for just walking on a cool winter day.

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  10. Wow, I don't have ANY places like these to go for birds! You are so lucky!!

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  11. It is nice to see so many parks and habitats for the birds.. They all look wonderful.. Have a happy week!

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    1. ...thanks Eileen. Hope you have a 'happy week' too.

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  12. I would pic Polywog Pond and Bazemore from just looking at the photos. all of these are true HOT spots as is that really true hot spot at the beginning... even shut down it might still be hot

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    1. Pollywog Ponds is my favorite...then Blucher.

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  13. Oh how I love seeing some of the places where you watch for birds! Your hawk watch area is way bigger than the one I go to, a photo of which I am posting on Thursday. But 48,000 is a LOT of hawks!

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    1. Ya, I think it's a very exaggerated total in my opinion.

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  14. Everywhere I look I see old abandoned stuff! Tom The Backroads Traveller

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    1. ...our old part of town has a lot of abandoned buildings with so much potential...it's sad.

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  15. Neat places, all right! Pelicans! I have fallen in love with them since I saw "Pelican Dreams" this weekend. Of course, I love all birds, but who knew how cool these guys are? :-)

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    1. ...they're so unique in their own way.

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  16. How great that you can get around to all of these places and see many interesting birds, buildings and much more. Keep 'em comin'!

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  17. I'm not a bird watcher, but do enjoy those habitats where birds tend to congregate. I'll have to keep this list of places to go when we make a trip your way. Thanks for the rundown!

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    1. You don't have to be a birder to enjoy these places. Seriously.

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  18. Anni live in the perfect spot for birding and we ALWAYS enjoy your photos.
    Mom loves the old smoke stacks we have a few around here. Just recently on HGTV House Hunters mom saw some condos in Texas (forgot the city) but the condos were surrounded by smoke stacks from former industrial bldgs they were called The Stacks.
    hugs madi and mom

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    1. ....couldn't have been Pasadena? Near Houston? I call it stinky-dena.

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  19. What amazing birding spots, all so close to you! I agree about that "count"...that just looks too much like a lot of overlapping! That little Paradise Pond is such a sad loss! Love the older version of Corpus, with its little schoolhouse, etc. History is a huge draw for me! :-) Great post!

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    1. We were lucky enough when we were there, that the lady who operates the 'modern' school was there with the key to let us in.

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  20. Not many factories here any more. They used to be quite a few saw mill. I believe we have one main sawmill. A cedar mill and an energy log place.
    Coffee is on

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    1. ...oh we still have 'factories' all over...oil refineries. lol

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  21. Wow! You have such a wide variety of places to go! I wish we had even half as many. I had always wondered how they counted the birds...I agree with you that it cannot be that accurate. But I sure would like to witness it.

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    1. ...it is something worth seeing.

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  22. Lovely post and photos of the beautiful parks for OWT!

    artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

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  23. you have some gorgeous "hot bird spots" in your neck of the woods.

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  24. What a choice of bird watching areas you have and all with a little something special to offer. I never thought of Texas as being that green. Just shows what I know - nothing!

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    1. I live right on the Gulf Coast...it's usually green year 'round [unless a drought like hte last several years]

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  25. You certainly have a great selection to choose your birding adventures Anni. they all look so inviting and as you suggest, they all have the capacity to turn up the regular birds as well as the one offs.

    I hope your Paradise Pond returns to normal soon and becomes once again a paradise for you and the birds.

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    1. ...Paradise Pond is one of my favorites...even when it was dried up...there is something about the hidden alcove.

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  26. I wonder what they made in that old factory. Another testament to our outsourcing our jobs to foreign countries.

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    1. ...in some aspect, yes...but then, I keep thinking of the jobs of work that ARE available here in our country and no one wants to work....it's far more feasible to draw welfare and unemployment. I have a friend who had a business that closed...and on welfare now. She told me point blank that she makes more money drawing welfare checks than working a job. How wrong is that?!!!

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  27. This was a really fun post. Thanks for sharing these places. Bill was in your area recently. He saw some birds that I have never seen!

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    1. ...what birds did he see? Curious.

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  28. Oh, that hawk migration spot is awesome.

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  29. You are so generous giving away your birding spots.

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  30. That's a nice old factory and smoke stack. You have SO MANY birding spots. Lucky girl!

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  31. I would love to visit those parks. Have I told you we have one of the world's largest covered bird parks (Kuala Lumpur Bird Park)? Hope you will be able to visit some day. Would love to show you our hornbills.

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