Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center
A Birder’s Paradise
Located in the central flyway, Port Aransas and Mustang Island boast hundreds of permanent residents and thousands of migrants that consider this the perfect rest stop. At the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center, which is a stop on the Great Texas Birding Trail, you’ll find a close-up look at life in a wetland, panoramic views of the marsh, and a birder’s idea of paradise.
Where to Find It
The Birding Center can be found on the South end of Ross Ave. down the street from the Community Park. Pollinator gardens, a large mural, bird drips, and educational signage flank the entrance to the site.
What to Expect
A 700-foot boardwalk with shaded observation tower provides visitors with expansive views of the freshwater marsh fed by the Nueces County Water District treatment plant and all of the diverse wildlife it attracts. A newly opened trail extends the path of the boardwalk along the shoreline toward the southern portion of the Nature Preserve at Charlie’s Pasture. Future boardwalks will connect these sites as the Preserve is working on creating a system of interconnected nature areas.
What to Look For
Visitors often see a large American alligator nicknamed “Boots” at this location, along with ducks, pelicans, wading birds, and songbirds. From the observation platform look for waterfowl (Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Cinnamon Teal), grebes (Least included), heron and egrets, cormorants, shorebirds (such as Black-necked Stilt), and flaming pink Roseate Spoonbills, the Port Aransas city bird. The parking area and land along the boardwalk are planted in native species, so be alert for hummingbirds, warblers, and other songbirds during migration.
Birding on the Boardwalk is a free guided program on Wednesdays at 9 a.m. The walk offers great vistas for watching a variety of Port Aransas’ wonderful birds. All experience levels are welcome on this tour, and binoculars are available for loan.