Woods, water, and wildlife – Goose Island State Park has it all, including one of the largest coastal live oaks that was named the Texas State Champion in 1966. It measures 11 feet across the trunk and is 1,000 years old. The lovely fence surrounding it was built in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps
The migratory route between North and South America forms an hourglass that funnels millions of birds through these parts each spring and fall, making the Rio Grande Valley and the Gulf Coast of Texas premier birding spots. While the hunt for blooming bluebonnets instigated this Texas trip, the lure of feathered friends sealed the deal.
Goose Island State Park and the neighboring Aransas National Wildlife Refuge are where the almost extinct and still endangered whooping crane makes it winter home. In 1941, the count was down to 15; today estimates vary from 300 – 500. Clearly visible through binoculars, we saw “whoopers” both in the park and at the wildlife refuge. Unfortunately they were too far away for a decent photo.
The abundant variety of birds is matched only by the abundant variety of birders, whose field markings usually include binoculars and funny hats. The following are rare breeds that displayed neither of these attributes when first spotted, but upon further inspection of one party, a revealing nest of paraphernalia was discovered.