Rockport's Premier Photography Tours
Contact Captain Kevin Sims 361-790-3746
Welcome to Aransas Bay Birding Charters.
We offer a one of a kind photography tour. Our boat the, Jack Flash, is uniquely designed for photographers. The Flash has three different decks at separate elevations to give you the angle of your choice. Another great feature is the enclosed cabin so you can take a break and relax out of the elements. The absolute best feature is the true shallow draft capability. We are able to float at a depth of ten inches and can motor at eighteen inches. This allows you to get really close to the birds. It is not uncommon to get within 50 feet of Whooping Cranes and even closer for most Shore Birds.
Your tour will begin at the Sea Gun Marina. The Marina is located on the Lamar peninsula. Ten miles North of Rockport at the North end of the Copano Bay Bridge.
Please check out the calendar to see if the dates you want are available.
While your here on our web page check out the photo galleries to see what kind of action you can expect.
Email us with any questions or to book your trip at firstname.lastname@example.org
Spring is in the air! And, so are the migratory birds! The Spring Migration is in full swing. It is a wonderful time for birding in the Rockport/Fulton area.
The Whooping Cranes are still in Texas, preparing for their migration to Wood Buffalo Park Canada, about 2600 miles north west of here. As they prepare to leave is a great time to see them catching and eating Blue Crabs. The fat from the crabs gives them the energy they need to make the long journey home to their summer nesting ground.
There are many ways to see the Whooping Cranes and the migratory birds. One if by land; Two if by sea.
Goose Island State Park. www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/goose-island offers wonderful bird walks You may get to see a Painted Punting. Also some Whooping Cranes "hang out" there. A short drive and Ferry ride will take you to Port Aransas. The birding center there will provide you with some amazing birding opportunities. Check them out at www.portaransas.org/play/birding . A thirty minute drive north of Rockport on Highway 35 will take you to the Aransas Wildlife Refuge. They can be found at www.fws.gov/refuge/Aransas . You will see all kinds of wildlife on a tour of the refuge. Everything from Alligators to Whooping Cranes.
Take a trip on the water to tour the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) by boat,
Aransas Bay Birding Charters leaves from the Lamar peninsula. The Jack Flash you will get close enough to see the Whooping Cranes gobbling up their favorite meal, the Blue Crab. It will be mating time when they return to Canada. From the boats there is a really good chance of witnessing some courting behavior. The mating dance is spectacular as they jump high into the air, trying to impress a potential mate or their lifelong soul mate.
As you travel by water be sure to keep an eye out for the White Pelicans as they Kettle, (soaring high in to the air in large circular patterns) searching for that "magic carpet of air" that will carry them north as they begin their migration.
From the boat, The Jack Flash you also will have a chance to visit Rookery Islands. These islands are home to several species of migratory nesting birds . You will see the Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Reddish Egrets with the White Morph Reddish by their side, everyone's favorite, the Roseate Spoonbill. Night herons, Snowy Egrets, and White Ibis. On a couple of the islands you will have a chance to see Oyster Catchers with their new chicks.
The rookery trips last into early summer and give visitors an opportunity to see the entire cycle of nesting! You can see the birds now as they build nests and court their mates. Come back in a few weeks and see the new chicks soon after they hatch. Come in early summer and see them as they learn to fly and forage for themselves. You are up close and personal.
As summer approaches you will be treated to other Rookeries that have Tern, Gulls, Tri -Colored Herons and Little Blue Herons., and Brown Pelicans. Traveling by boat into ANWR is truly a magical experience that will leave you with a lifetime of memories.
For avid birders you will add to your "life list" on every trip. For photographers you will get the chance to get those "once in a lifetime" shots that you search for on every outing.
ROCKPORT BEACH PARK
The Rockport Beach Park is a delightful venue to see a nesting colony of Black Skimmers, a really unusual looking bird. Take a drive around Little Bay and view all the wading and shore birds as they forage for food in the shallow waters.
FULTON BEACH ROAD
Fulton Beach Road offers fine dining at a number of delicious restaurants - day and night! It also allows you to watch the pelicans as they skim the tops of the waves. They make it look like fun. Stop by the boat ramps and watch as the fisherman clean their catch. The pelicans will be there to devour all that is offered to them. This makes for some fantastic photography. And, a migratory group of white pelicans may be in temporary residence at "Pelican Point" by the Fulton Beach Convention Center, otherwise known as "Paws and Taws".
DOWNTOWN ROCKPORT "BIRDING"
A birding trip to Rockport would not be complete without a trip to S. Austin Street which is located in the 450 acre Heritage District. Downtown has been undergoing revitalization and is a great walkable and bikeable community.
For birding enthusiasts, there are three stops that are mandatory! You can visit the Studios of Diane Loyd, Salt Flats Photography, www.saltflatsphotography.com Diane is an amazing photographer and accomplished scuba diver with fantastic images taken on land as well as under the water. Diane and her mother, Dovie, co own the shop, 4 The Birds. Rockport's best source for ALL your birding information. Dovie paints amazingly beautiful birds (and fish) on hats, T-Shirts, jackets! It's called "Wearable Art by Dovie". At 86, she's still going strong. In addition, there are loads of books on birding, plus ornaments, kites, flags. You want birds? Well, here they are.
Next, stop by John Martell's studio at 302 S. Austin Street at "Merchants Square". John is a local award winning photographer. He is expanding his space into a Gallery of his images. Plan to walk through slowly. He is usually there and will be glad to share his stories. If you are interested in adding to photography skills, John also holds workshops to help you get the most from your camera gear. www.johnmartellphotography.com .
Finally, Ruben Aiken's Sazon Gallery and Studio at 114 S. Austin Street is an experience.. www.sazonandthewhoopingcranes.com Ruben offers one of a kind jewelry he hand crafts himself. He is particularly noted for his "soul mate" rings which feature gemstones and engraved whooping cranes. Ruben is a Whooping Crane enthusiast, or as we local Whooping Crane lovers are called, a Craniac.
(Author's note: Each of these three studio/galleries has been profiled in issues of Texas NOW a "Coastal Bend magazine" offering a "unity of communities"; as has The Jack Flash charter boat. Go to www.texasnowmag and see the issues on these studios and charter).
When you need a rest from all this "walkable birding activity", Rockport, like Fulton, offers superb cafes and restaurants. Stop in at Crazy Rusty's Tropical Bar and Grill for excellent soups, salads, burgers and sandwiches. Or Cindy's Sweet Tabu, where "Asian Cajun Fusion" takes first place: fried oysters that melt in your mouth, Mongolian spare ribs that fall off the bone and much more. Or The Daily Grind, the local "coffee house" next to John Martell's studio in Merchants Square.
A birding trip to Rockport should be on every birders bucket list. Rockport has everything you need for a memorable birding journey. We have lodging available for every budget. The Restaurants cater to every taste. Bring your families. There is something here for everyone. Our beach is perfect for small children. There is the Maritime Museum www.texasmaritimemuseum.org Go by the Aquarium www.rockportaquarium.com And don't forget to visit the Rockport Center for the Arts. http://www.rockportartcenter.com
The Bay Education Center's exhibits and shows showcase the water and estuaries in the area; it is right next to the Blue Wave Beach. It opens at 1pm and has shows at 2pm and 3pm (Tuesdays through Saturday) which focus on "SOS" Science on a Sphere. A must see for all families.
There are several choices for lodging in the area. Here is a link to the Rockport Fulton Chamber of Commerce's places to stay. http://www.rockport-fulton.org/index.php/accommodations.html
The Aransas Wildlife Refuge is close by. Only about a half hour drive North on 35. Check it out at, http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/texas/aransas
Please visit The Friends of Aransas web site. This Orginization does gret work enhancing the enviroment for the Whooping Cranes. They are improving fresh water sources for the Cranes. They are drilling new Solar powered water wells and reworking existing wells. This will give the Whoopers a much better chance of surviving the drought. www.friendsofaransas.org