Today we are in Aransas Pass to have new awning fabric put on the awnings over the living and bedroom areas. This is necessary because when traveling from Riviera to Corpus Christi the wind was blowing 40 to 50 mph (gusts over 60 mph), we were traveling about 55-60 mph, and the wind was too much for the clamps. The awnings didn’t come all the way out, the wind loosened the fabric from the clamps and so it was flapping like small flag squeezing out of the end of the awning rolls. The result was damaged awnings. Lesson learned consider if we really need to move the RV in high winds.
We went to visit the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, which is not in Aransas Pass but north of Rockport. The refuge is over 110,000 acres that includes land from 4 counties. There are marsh fields, brackish waters, sea shore, and wooded thickets that provide homes to many kinds of animals including javelina, deer, and over 400 species of birds. The different types of water within in the park provides homes for many kinds of fish, crabs, and reptiles.
The most famous visitors to the refuge are whooping cranes. They migrate here every year. There are 329 cranes there this year. A big increase from 1941 when there were only 15 cranes.
Near the visitor center is a place you can observe alligators. We saw one that was over ten feet long. In one of the nearby small ponds, we saw what appeared to be trails in the water through the moss of where alligators might have swam.
There are several places where you can view the wildlife, especially the birds. There is a tower that is about 50 feet tall that provides a good place to see over the coastal oak trees. There is a telescope set up so you can see the whooping cranes and other wildlife. We could see 6 whooping cranes from this vantage point. In the past, we took a boat tour to see the cranes. It is very cool to be able to see these birds. From the boat, we were able to get close enough to take some photos of the birds and the naturalists onboard provided information about the cranes and the importance of the refuge.