Becoming an “Aransaneian” in Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

On the Road: filming for Texas Wild

or those of you who may not know, we have been spending the past month filming in Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Aransas is a place Ray has been visitingfor the past 21 years. Needless to say, this refuge holds quite a lot of meaning as well as plentiful wildlife.

The refuge is truly two different places, during the daylight the refuge is a place for viewing pairs of whooping cranes feeding in the salt marshes, family pinics under the live oaks and fishing from the docks. The trails that visitors walk during the day while birding and viewing alligators become wildlife highways; paths cut by feral pigs, raccoons and deer. The visitor center entrance becomes the local hangout for a posse of deer which find their way to the grass at night in numbers upwards of 15 or more.  They make themselves comfortable, lying in the dark, resting just outside the boundaries that the office lights projects across the grasses. A green treefrog perches nightly on the window panes of the center, which has become it’s regular hunting grounds.

Alligators float slightly visible on the swamp top water, the only clue to their presence being the yellow hue of their eye shine in our headlamps. We would like to believe that somewhere in the far reaches of the refuge, in the spaces visitors aren’t allowed to intrude on, stalks the occasional bobcat and further beyond that, a handful of javalina that have not been completed displaced by feral pigs.

I myself have been coming to the refuge for the past 3 years and the ground we once used to stride over in quick fashion while keeping pace with an opposum has now become uneven, up rutted and misshapened by the presence of pigs.

It seems that our trip has just begun despite being 3 weeks into our stay.  Unfortunately the winter break is fleeting and I find that my reasons for returning back are eroding rapidly, minus the missing of family.  I cannot help but feel as though my trip is just beginning and the demands of the university life and work have not left me with complete peace in my unquiet mind. If I only had more time- many months and a few more weeks I could truly find myself free of the daily work stresses that dictate my happiness.

In our month here we have coveted much great photography, video and observed rare behaviors of animals we least expected to see let alone exhibit such acts. We are overjoyed to be compiling videos to give everyone a brief look into what we’ve experience here as we explore and come to know the refuge more intimately   We hope you enjoy what is to come.

– Jessie Story