March 2016 ​Texas Tour
Photos and Comments (mostly by JR)
"Just back from our amazing South Texas Nature Adventure with Chautauqua Backroad Adventures. We took part in and enjoyed all the activities shown in previous posts. In six days we saw 114 different varieties of birds - many of which were new to us northerners - and beautiful fields of spring wildflowers. The Welder Wildlife Preserve was a comfortable home base for the trip and provided lots of diverse habitat to see  many of the birds and flowers right on the property. The boat trip through the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge to see the Whooping Cranes was another highlight as was the trip to the Padre Island National Seashore. John, Mark, Gene, and Lynn were excellent tour guides and patiently helped us not only to see the birds and flowers but also to understand the changing ecology of the south Texas landscape and the bird migration patterns. This is a vacation we'll long remember."   

The above comment was posted on our Facebook page by Ann Heidkamp.  She and her husband, Jim, were among our guests on the March 2016 tour.

Most of the photos shown below were taken during the tour period (21-27 March 2016).  However, Bonnie and I had been at Welder for more than a month to get things ready so some shots date from that period.

Bonnie sipping her morning coffee in the Welder Guest House Great Room
Gene pointing out a Reddish Egret at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in late March, 2016.
Coral Bean captured by tour co-leader Mark Baldwin at Padre Island National Seashore 
A Mediterranean Gecko that joined us for lunch at the Welder Rotunda.
Armadillos like this one are a common site snarfling in the yard of the Welder campus.
Here we are paddling down Moody Creek at Welder searching (successfully!) for Green Kingfishers, Black-crested Titmice, and Green Jays.
Baby Caracara photographed by Rappole in nest on one of the Welder observation platforms, 25 March 2016
Bluebonnets near Big Lake on the Welder Refuge
Roadrunner on the road (to Pollito Lake, Welder)
​Cave Swallow nests under the eaves of the Welder Rotunda.  Like the Cliff Swallows at Capistrano, it was easy to document when they arrived back at Welder after their winter stay in the tropics - it was 2 March 2016.
​Mexican Free-tailed Bat on a stump outside the Welder Guest House
Left to right - Jim, Gene, Dorothy, Howard, and myself at the Rockport Cemetery - a famous wildflower site.
​Caletta Silk Moth perched on the windowsill of the Welder Guest House, April 22, 2016.
Scaled Quail in dry chaparral about 40 miles west of Welder. 
Black-necked Stilts, Roseate Spoonbills, and a Reddish Egret in a tidal marsh bordering the Nueces Bay Causeway, just north of Corpus Christi.