Attempting to find sea turtles… In March

What I didn’t tell you last week was that I really wanted to see some Texas reptiles. Preferably nonvenomous ones. As excited as I was to see wild alligators for the first time, I was even more jazzed by the potential for a sea turtle sighting.

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Ok, so maybe we were a little (read: a full month and a half) early for the egg-laying season, but some of the inhabitants of the south Texas region, like green sea turtles, are known to hang out in the area year-round. Unfortunately, the weather was working against us. It had recently been unseasonably cold, even snowy, in the southeastern region of the state.  Temperatures continued to be in the low 50s, and rain was creeping up the coast of the barrier islands. Suffice it to say, there were no turtles to be had. I had to convince the Other Half with a resounding argument that we would see something cool just for him to want to make the trek 45 minutes out of our way to get to the northern end of Mustang Island and the town of Port Aransas. Just kidding, all I had to do was mention dolphins, his favorite animal. Corpus Christi Bay is a home for numerous wintering Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, and they are easily seen from the point of Roberts Point Park, even in the unwelcoming weather we were faced with.

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We decided to hang out at the state park until near sunset before finishing the drive up to Port Aransas. I had this vision in my head of beautiful sunsets with the silhouettes of leaping dolphins and a firelit dinner. Or something like that.

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Instead, we had a wind-whipped snack of raisins while speaking to a retired barber from northern Ohio who offered to catch us a fish. The poor guy was so invested in our conversation that his bait was stolen at least three times by his intended prey. Meanwhile, a half-dozen dolphins were cavorting around in the wakes of passing ships as well as coming within a few feet of our shoes where they rested on the moss-covered rocks. After the wind picked up, we decided it would be in our best interests to find somewhere a bit warmer.

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Once we had taken leave of the fisherman, not ten seconds had passed before a hungry blue heron swooped in to our seat, slowly making his way over the man’s shoulders to see if he would share.

Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure he didn’t get nearly as much of a treat as this cormorant got. He dived down in front of us as we were leaving and came back up with an impaled hardhead catfish on his beak. And you know, nothing served as a better reminder of dinnertime than that, so we took our leave of the park to go find warmer reaches to rest up for our continuing southward migration.

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