Written by: Paige White
Did you know the Texas Coastal Bend is truly a paradise for birders? Hundreds of species call the area home year-round, and many more migratory birds can be seen here from October through March. The Rockport area includes a number of sites that are on the La Bahia Loop and the Aransas Loop of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail including the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, home to the famous whooping cranes.
Here at Camp Aranzazu, our campers and visitors can see quite a variety of bird species in their natural habitat. The White Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Louisiana Heron are commonly seen at the kayaking pond hunting for small fish to eat. Some may catch glimpse of a Red-tailed Hawk, Cardinal, Great Kiskadee, or Roadrunner while traversing some of our camp pathways. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is such a treat to see, arriving in the springtime and departing for a warmer climate in the fall. Heading over the bridge that connects to beautiful Copano Bay, one can look down over the wetlands where Roseate Spoonbills and a variety of egrets hang out in the marsh searching for their next meal. White and brown pelicans glide along with the wind currents over the bay, rising and falling with an echo of the waves. At nighttime, after the campfire is out, the Great Horned Owl signals with a hoot that it is time to hunt for food. Occasionally, flocks of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks make their way from feeding fields to roosting sites nearby, announcing themselves with a high-pitched whistling sound like no other. And the list goes on!
Recently, the Fulton Learning Center’s birding team, along with their teacher, Mrs. McLeod, went on a birding field trip to Goose Island State Park, Lamar’s Big Tree, and rounded out their tour at Camp Aranzazu. The FLC’s birding team trip was featured in the Rockport Pilot on Saturday, March 13, 2021.
Environmental education is one of our areas of focus at Camp Aranzazu and teaching campers about some of these unique species is much more fun than it is work! Every day at camp is a good day, but it’s even more special getting to see campers turned into birding enthusiasts and we can’t wait for that opportunity this summer!