Aransas Bay Birding Charters
Captains Kevin and Lori Sims 361-790-3746
email texasbirding@msn.com








Aransas Bay Birding Charters

One of a Kind Photography Tour
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Rockport's Premier Photography Tours

Welcome to Aransas Bay Birding Charters. Rockport/Fultons premier on the water photography and bird watching eco tour company. Captain Kevin has been on the water here since 1972 when his father built a small cabin on an island in Ayers Bay. He has been watching the Whooping Cranes ever since.. At that time there were only 56 Whooping Cranes. Now in 2019, according to the 2018 winter survey there are 504 Whooping Cranes. In 2002 Captain Kevin purchased a boat, The Jack Flash, and obtained his Coast Guard license. Aransas Bay Birding Charters was born and he began to take people out on photography/nature tour adventures. The business grew and expansion was necessary. His wife Lori was the logical and best choice for an additional Captain. In 2013 Captain Lori obtained her license and built her boat, The Lady Lori
Our boats are specifically designed for photography by photographers. We specialize in bird and nature photography/watching. During the months of October through April you will be treated to fantastic opportunities to see and photograph the Majestic Whooping Crane. From the first of March until the end of May you will be treated to fantastic views of Rookery/nesting islands.
Our boats are true shallow draft. This means they float in less than a foot of water so we can get you close while providing a stable platform to photograph and view the Whooping Cranes as well as other subjects. 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. Each boat has an enclosed cabin that will keep you and your gear warm, dry and safe. Don't be fooled by fishing guides advertising their birding and photography services. They will put you in a small, open, unstable fishing boat where you and your gear will be subject to the elements and in many locations you will be unable to get a good view of the Whooping Cranes. Our boats have viewing/photography platforms above the cabins - this higher elevation allows you to photograph/view with different perspectives and above any obstructions. Sometimes if the Cranes are feeding on crabs in the ponds being on the elevated decks is the only way to get the perfect unobstructed image.

Feel free to call or text. Captain Kevin Sims 361-790-3746
Captain Lori Sims 361-790-3742
email texasbirding@msn.com
Book Online at www.aransasbayadventures.com


Lodging Options for Rockport/Fulton
Hotels: The Inn at Fulton Harbor, The Lighthouse Inn at Aransas Bay, La Quinta, Holiday Inn Express, Pelican Bay Resort, Fairfield Inn and Suites, Days Inn, Econo Lodge, Motel 6, and Economy Inn and Suits.
There are many other small non chain hotels in the area. We recommend using Trip Advisor for a more thorough idea of whats available in the are.

Restaurants. Our favorites, Paradise Key, Charlotte Plummers, Los Comales, Cheryl's, Shempy's The Boiling Pot, Glow, Steerburger Grill and Grub, as well as many others.






Captain Lori and her boat the, Lady Lori, will be doing tours of the Aransas Wildlife Refuge as well as tours to Port Aransas to photograph the Lydia Ann Lighthouse. The Lighthouse tours can be sunrise or sunset, depending on the type of photo you are looking for.

Welcome to Aransas Bay Birding Charters. We offer one of kind photography tours. Our charters are custom designed to fit your group. Our boats are uniquely designed for photographers. The Jack Flash has three different decks at separate elevations to give you the angle of your choice.The Lady Lori has two decks at different elevations. Another great feature of both boats are the enclosed cabins 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 at texasbirding@msn.com

Whooping Crane Photography

Aransas Bay Adventures is Rockport Fulton's only true on the water photography tour. We started taking photography tours in 2003. Captain Kevin is a photographer and shoots with a Nikon D7200 with a Tamron 150-600 lens. Captain Lori has recently begun shooting with a Canon 60D with a Sigma 150-500 lens. Our knowledge of photography helps us to put you in the right spot at the right times. We are also knowledgeable about your gear and how to hold it, pass it from person to person and store it so it is best protected.
Our Photography tours leave the dock a half hour before sunrise, giving you a short 15 minute run to where the Whooping Cranes reside. By leaving this early we are on site when the sun rises. We will have about 15 minutes to get everyone and their gear set up - then if the Sun and Clouds cooperate you will be treated to a magnificent sunrise. After getting a few sunrise shots we will be in position as the Cranes wake up and begin to forage. By being on site at sunrise you will have the most time with the best light. We hope to capture images of the Whooping Cranes in the magical light that happens just after dawn.
Our tours are designed to fit your needs, so we are on your schedule not you on ours - we will stay with each subject as long as you like, then cruise along at a slow pace to find the next picturesque opportunity, stopping the boat for any shot you desire. On our Whooping Crane photography tours you will have the opportunity to photograph many other species of birds as well as other wildlife. Photography tours take a minimum of four hours - we will stay as long as you like. Most people have had enough and are ready to come in at the six hour mark. At some point the light will become harsh and the Whooping Cranes fly inland to feed and for fresh water.
We do offer afternoon tours - these are more of a Sunset and Silhouette shoot for those photographers who appreciate a different venue, as the boat will have to face west into the sun to photograph the area where the Whooping Cranes reside.
Our boats the Jack Flash and the Lady Lori are custom designed for photography. Each boat has an enclosed cabin to protect you and your gear from the elements. There is plenty of room in each boat for tripods and camera cases, feel free to bring those tripods and long lenses. Many people wish to set up a tripod and then have a hand held rig for flight shots. Each boat has an upper and lower deck. The upper decks are excellent for shooting above the grass and brush to photograph the Whooping Cranes as they feed on Blue Crabs, Wolfberries and the occasional snake. The lower decks are the place to be if you wish to have a more eye level perspective. Some people like to lie down on the lower decks to photograph the Whooping Cranes as well as the many other birds we encounter on each tour.


The Jack Flash can accommodate three tripods each on its upper and lower deck. The Jack Flash has a third lower rear deck that is sometime used, if conditions are right, for an even lower perspective. The Jack Flash has a draft of only six inches. This means we can get you in close and to areas not accessible to other tour boats. The flat bottom makes for as stable a platform as possible. We like to position the boat so it is resting in the mud or on the shore so that there is very little movement.
The Lady Lori can accommodate two tripods on her upper deck and four tripods on her lower deck. The Lady Lori's rear deck is the same level as the lower deck. There is room for a couple of hand held photographers on this deck. The rear deck is used mostly for Dolphin Photography. The Lady Lori has a draft of 18 inches, still much shallower than any other tour boat in the area. She will also rest in the mud and on the shore to provide a stable platform for photography.
There are larger group boats in the area that offer excellent birding opportunities. They do all they can to accommodate photographers. Just realize they are large boats and limited to areas they can go. You will also be on their schedule. They have programmed tours leaving the dock once or twice a day. These tours leave at a specific time and return at a set time.
Don't be fooled by some of the advertisements for photography tours. There are a few fishing guides in the area that try to pick up extra money in the winter by saying they are a photography guide. Their boats are open, fiberglass hull boats. They are great for fishing but much too unstable for photography. Your gear will be exposed to the elements in an open boat as well as having no protection from the sun, rain or cold for yourself.
At Aransas Bay Adventures we strive to provide you with the best photographic experience in our area, on boats designed for you, the photographer. Each tour is unique, as you never know what wildlife will spring forth or which bird will pose to have their picture taken on the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, or in the surrounding waters and islands of the Texas Inland Coast.
Don't miss your shot
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A birding trip to Rockport would not be complete without a trip to Austin Street. 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, For The Birds. For the Birds is Rockport's best source for all your birding information. Stop by John Martell's studio at 302 Austin street. John is a local award winning photographer. 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 . Be sure to stop by Ruben Aiken's Sazon at 114 Austin Street. www.sazonandthewhoopingcranes.com Ruben offers one of a kind jewelry he hand crafts himself. Ruben is a Whooping Crane enthusiast , or as we local Whooping Crane lovers are called, a Craniac.
Be sure to check out Goose Island state park. www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/goose-island Take one of the bird walks. You may get to see a Painted Punting. 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.
A birding trip to Rockport should be on every birders bucket list. Rockport as 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

Goose Island State Park. www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/goose-island offers wonderful bird walks You may get to see a Painted Bunting. 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. BY SEA 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. 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 The Daily Grind, the local "coffee house" next to John Martell's studio in Merchants Square. MEMORABLE BIRDING 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 great 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