Today’s High: 87º
I almost thought I’d gone to the wrong place. So great were the changes at the South Padre Island Birding Center when we visited here on Tuesday that I had to think real hard to take in the wonderful changes.
I first visited the birding center in 2009 on one of my photo trips and I was gobsmacked by the variety of birds and the easy access. Being lazy at heart what could be better than 3000 feet of boardwalk? But over the years the variety of birds has dwindled a little as the marsh has encroached on the shore and mangroves and cattails have filled in the open spaces.
Well, all that has come to an end — I hope forever. The birding center got together enough budget to get out there and clear the areas of encroachment so that the habitat will soon revert to something more like what it has been traditionally before the interference of men.
One of the relatively unusual features of the birding center here is it’s location. It sits on the edge of Laguna Madre which is one of only 5 hyper saline lagoons in the WORLD. With salinity rates between 1.3 and 1.5 times the saltiness of the ocean it is a unique place indeed.
Within the birding center they have managed to contain three separate ecosystems, as there is saltwater marsh and a freshwater stream as well as an area of brackish mix. I’m not a fountain of information about this place but I know what I like and I have found this little corner of South Padre Island to be a special place for me to recharge my batteries and to soak up appreciation for the amazing creation around us. Some places are just more “home” than others.
At the moment, the clearing of unwanted vegetation has made a mess of the ground, but the critters don’t care. And I’m sure that the abundance of birds and species that we’ve enjoyed in the past will return again now that the habitat is closer to what was intended when the center was built.
I wish I’d taken time to capture pictures of how overgrown it had gotten. These images of the current condition look a bit barren but in a couple months that will all change.
I’m looking forward to the next few months and the coming years with eager enthusiasm! It has been getting increasingly difficult to get good sightings of many birds because of how overgrown the refuge had gotten. It’s going to be wonderful once again.