Aransas Whooper LbNA # 354
|Placed Date||Jan 2 2003|
*** Part of my TX Birding Trail Series ***
Terrain Difficulty: Easy (flat, 500 yards RT)
Status: reported missing (03/02/08)
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is part of the La Bahia Loop described on the Central Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail map. It is known among birders for its exceptional variety of resident and transient birds, but is best known as the winter home of the Whooping Crane. Slowly coming back from a low of 15 birds in 1941, the Whooper is still one of the rarest animal species in North America. The cranes arrive from late October to mid-April and can sometimes be seen from the Observation Tower. Other wildlife found in the park include: deer, javelina, coyote, bobcat, and raccoon. There is a $2.00 per adult fee to enter the park and it is open from sunrise to sunset. It makes a great winter weekend getaway!
From Houston take Hwy. 59 Southwest to Victoria. Turn left (south) on Hwy. 77 to FM 239. Turn left (east) on FM 239 and go about 10 miles to Tivoli. Turn right (south) on Hwy. 35 and go about 10 miles, then turn left (east) on FM 774 for about 5 miles, then turn right (south) on FM 2040 for about 5 miles to refuge entrance. From the visitor center, drive about 5 miles to the Observation Tower parking area.
You should take the walkway up to the tower first to see what birds are around. When you are ready to look for the box, take the boardwalk trail to the left of the Observation Tower walkway and go about 100 yards to its end. Go northwest on a dirt trail for about 25 yards to a bench under some trees. This is the Big Tree loop trail. You will now go to the right (north) and walk about 10 yards to a sign about wildlife foods. Continue on the trail for about 150 yards to a gnarly tree with a large trunk on your left. Go behind the tree counter-clockwise and look under some dead branches and leaves at the base of the trunk for the box. Please re-cover when done. You can retrace your steps or continue on the Big Tree trail to the trail head, which is about 50 yards down the road from the Observation Tower parking area. You can also start at the Big Tree trail head and walk to the Big Tree. Then, from the tree, continue on the trail for 60 steps to the gnarly tree that will now be on your right.