You can whoop it up at the Port Aransas Nature Preserve at Charlie’s Pasture this spring.
Two endangered whooping cranes spent the winter at the preserve, and they were likely to remain there for the first few months of 2022. The whoopers tend to leave by the end of March each year.
You can see lots of other bird species at the preserve, especially during spring migration. Mid-April to the first week of May is the best time to visit for that.
Species of interest include Baltimore orioles, indigo and painted buntings, scarlet and summer tanagers and rose-breasted grosbeak.
The 1,217-acre preserve lies between the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, Port Aransas Community Park, State Highway 361 and Piper Channel.
Not all of the preserve’s boardwalks have been replaced after damage by Hurricane Harvey, which struck in 2017, but the acreage still sports two gazebos and a large pavilion for wildlife viewing and hike/bike trails.
In order to keep the preserve a safe habitat for all, the City of Port Aransas has several ordinances in place. Motorized vehicles and watercraft are not allowed. Walking off trails is prohibited. Camping, fishing and shooting are illegal. Feeding of wildlife is prohibited.
No dogs are allowed past certain marked points, and all pets must remain on leashes.
Many birds nest on the ground during the spring.That means it’s especially important for people to stay on trails and keep their dogs out of most parts of the preserve.
Guided two-hour hikes start at 8 a.m. Saturdays at the Community Park. Binoculars are available for loan at the beginning of the tour. Registration is required at porta.recdesk.com.
Folks visiting on a weekday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. can drop by the Nature Preserve Headquarters at 106 Cut-off Road to borrow binoculars and pick up a Family Guide full of activities for all ages.
Free yoga sessions are held at the large pavilion at the foot of Port Street at 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays.
The City of Port Aransas holds periodic volunteer work days at the city’s wildland properties, and that includes the Charlie’s Pasture preserve. Anyone who’d like to get involved should call Rae Mooney, preserve manager, at (361) 749-0081 or email her at email@example.com. She’ll put you on an email list to notify you of upcoming events.