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Bird-watchers to visit Aransas County despite Hurricane Harvey-related hotel shortage

Posted: 10:26 PM, Apr 16, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-16 23:28:56-04

Researchers say 2 million migratory birds will travel from Mexico and locations southward over and through the Coastal Bend between Friday and May 7. Many of them will stop for rest, water, food, and shelter in Aransas County.

“Right now we’re in spring migration which is the jewel time for birding,” Aransas Bird and Nature Club President Debra Corpora said.

The annual migration also draws bird-watchers, commonly known as ‘birders’, to the Rockport-area. Hurricane Harvey threatened to take a toll on the numbers of both birds and birders that come to visit, but the former is apparently already back to normal levels.

“Look around,” Corpora said while standing in Tule Park East, one of more than a dozen Aransas County parks that are dedicated to birding. “Unless you were here, probably you don’t know what we lost.”

Birders are also still flocking to the area, but they could run into a problem. County leaders say only 60-percent of the hotel rooms available before Harvey are still in use today. They’re optimistic that new rooms will come on line soon though.

“We’ll be up probably around 80-percent by the end of the summer of hotels available,” Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce Rural Business Developer Glenn Gomez said. “Birders, fishermen, families… they’re making their reservations for the summer. People are coming back to Rockport-Fulton.”

Joan Burg and Tom Ahern, a couple visiting from Alexandria, Virginia, are two such people. They came to Rockport Tuesday to visit family, but also to do some birding.

“The place is crawling with birds,” Ahern said. “I’d advise anyone who’s interested in birds to come on down.”