Mustang Island State Park and Packery Channel County Park

Port Aransas, Texas

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Mustang Island, the barrier island just north of Padre Island, is situated between the mainland and the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The park receives heavy visitor use, especially on weekends, so birding is best during the early morning hours. The island is named for the herds of wild horses that once thrived on the island’s coastal prairie. The 3,702-acre state park includes 5.5 miles of beach, one of the best in the state, and 10 miles of bay front. Key birds: Brown Pelican, Reddish Egret, White and White-faced Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Mottled Duck, White-tailed Hawk, and Snowy Plover are present year-round. Neotropic Cormorant; Magnificent Frigatebird; Least Bittern; Wilson’s Plover; and Gull-billed, Sandwich, and Least Terns occur in summer. Northern Gannet, American White Pelican, Osprey, Ferruginous Hawk, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Clapper and King Rails, Sandhill Crane, Piping Plover, Short-eared Owl, American and Sprague’s Pipits, Palm Warbler, Pyrrhuloxia, and LeConte’s and Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrows can usually be found in winter.

Mustang Island State Park and Packery Channel County Park Professional Review and Guide

"Mustang Island, the barrier island just north of Padre Island, is situated between the mainland and the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The park receives heavy visitor use, especially on weekends, so birding is best during the early morning hours.

The island is named for the herds of wild horses that once thrived on the island’s coastal prairie. The 3,702-acre state park includes 5.5 miles of beach, one of the best in the state, and 10 miles of bay front.

Key birds: Brown Pelican, Reddish Egret, White and White-faced Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Mottled Duck, White-tailed Hawk, and Snowy Plover are present year-round. Neotropic Cormorant; Magnificent Frigatebird; Least Bittern; Wilson’s Plover; and Gull-billed, Sandwich, and Least Terns occur in summer. Northern Gannet, American White Pelican, Osprey, Ferruginous Hawk, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Clapper and King Rails, Sandhill Crane, Piping Plover, Short-eared Owl, American and Sprague’s Pipits, Palm Warbler, Pyrrhuloxia, and LeConte’s and Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrows can usually be found in winter."

Activity Type: Birding
Nearby City: Port Aransas
Trail Type: Several options
Best Times: Best April and May for spring migrants; mid-July to October for fall migration; November to March for winter birds
Local Contacts: Mustang Island State Park;
Local Maps: Texas Atlas & Gazetteer, DeLorme
Driving Directions: Directions to Mustang Island State Park and Packery Channel County Park

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May 2018