South Padre Island is full of hotels, restaurants, condos, fishermen, and tourists. Since my husband and I were accompanied by some older, non-birding friends, we weren’t able to arrive until midday, definitely not the best time to go birding. Then, when I discovered that the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center now charges admission, I almost turned back. I’m glad I didn’t.
It had been years since our last visit, and things have changed. There is now a large nature center housing some excellent interpretive displays plus the usual nature-related souvenirs. You now have to go through the building (and pay your $5, less for children) to reach the boardwalks that extend out over the bay.
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The sun was already low in the sky when my husband and I arrived at Boca Chica beach, just north of Brownsville, Texas. We had spent most of the day at Laguna Atascosa NWR, and wanted to make the best of the few hours of daylight that remained.
Although it’s legal to drive on the packed sand, we opted to park at the entrance. Peeling off our shoes and socks, we rolled up our jeans and strolled down the packed sand. It was late December, but the temperature had reached the upper 70s that day, and the humidity retained the heat. The water was cool and refreshing, and two little girls were splashing in the surf. I had to try it out as well, but only ankle deep.
This was sure a lot more comfortable than birding in Colorado this time of year!
Continue reading “Birder Heaven: Birding the Beach”