It is a beautiful day, with sunny skies and a light breeze, and we are late getting away, so decide to stick close to home in our explorations.
Goose Island State Park fits the bill. Just north of where we are staying, the park lies on the coast between the waters of Aransas and St Charles bays. It offers camping facilities, beaches, hiking, fishing and birding. In fact, like the Aransas Wildlife Refuge, nearby, the website claims the endangered Whooping Cranes can been seen here.
We head to the beach area first. This day, there are few other visitors to the site and an equally scarce number of birds. Hurricane damage means some of the beach area is closed, but we can see that is a well set-up facility. At the end of the beach is a boardwalk that spans marshland. According to the signage, this is where the cranes can be seen. Today, we notice a few Ibis, a Great Blue Heron and some smaller shore birds, but nothing that might be a crane.
We circle back to the boat launch we’d passed before. Pelicans – brown and white – swim close to the dock. The water sparkles in the late afternoon sun. The peacefulness here is contagious.
Inland, the road winds through a forest of live oaks – twisty trees, whose curves and bends add a whimsical aura to the place. We pull in at a trail head and discover a bird viewing area, fenced off from the footpath. Here, bird feeders have been set up, and water fountains to attract songbirds.
Following the advice of posted signs, I take a seat and wait quietly. Within minutes birds arrive, and I curse the timing – as the bright sun blots my vision. I manage to capture a few beauties with my lens and make Ric promise that we’ll come back at a better time.
Leaving the park, we see a sign for a Big Tree. Neighbours have said something about a 1,000 year-old tree. This must be it, I mention to Ric.
“Next time,” he says.