I was in Port Aransas the beginning of October. I wanted to take advantage of the warm gulf waters, the latter part of bird migration and attend the "Meet the Judges" event for the Coastal Bend Wildlife Photo Contest. I was fortunate to enjoy all 3. My daughter Anna and wife Karen joined me for my little excursion. We stayed on the beach and each morning I rose with the sun to take pictures. One morning, a lone Long-billed Curlew was working the sandy beach areas for crabs; the curlew used its long bill to retrieve the crabs out of their holes. The tide was generally low in the morning; unfortunately midday was the true low tide and the light was harsh. However, birdwatching was spectacular at that time because all the schools of little fish were concentrated between the sandbars making the birds go wild. Brown pelicans, terns, and seagulls were diving like crazy. If you can, plan your trip when low tide is around daybreak or sunset to take advantage of the light.
At both Paradise Pond and the Birding Center, migrating birds were flocking because a cold front with violent storms blew through . The migrants included Wilson's Warblers and Nashville Warblers which both are more common at the coast during fall migration.
On Saturday night, we went to the Welder Wildlife Refuge to meet the judges for the 2011 Coastal Bend Wildlife Photo Contest. This year's judges were Larry Ditto, Karine Aigner and Mike Sloat. I teamed up the the Cartwright / Vaughn families on the Twin Oaks Ranch. The outside event was quite nice with cool weather, great company, beer and Texas Bar-B-Que. The judges apparently worked long hours to place all the images with lots of debates occurring. We will have to wait until November 5 to see the winning images. For more info about the judges or the contest click here. I will post my contest portfolio after the awards ceremony.