Padre Island is a major birding destination. The island protects a salty, shallow bay, ideal for many birds to rest and eat during their migrations between Mexico and the rest of the USA. The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center is perfectly located at a mixing of fresh water and saltwater. It is a destination for birds of every variety, and those who wish to see them.
Walking through the bird reserve was one of the best exercises of my new lens yet. The raised boardwalk and multiple bird blinds offer viewing in wetland, mudflats, saltmarsh, freshwater, saltwater tidal environments. Along with my core goal of photographing a great blue heron, I also saw roseate spoonbills, long-billed curlew, little blue heron, white ibis, common gallinule, great egret, tri-colored heron, and a red-winged blackbird.
Better yet, there were alligators. For some reason, I thought they would be larger. But they were still alligators.
From my perch on the five-story tall viewing platform at the nature center, I watched a great blue heron languidly sore across the grounds and settle on the railing of the boardwalk. Oh, what I would have done to be there on that stretch of the boardwalk!