Coastal Bend Nature Challenge: Port Aransas Jetties

*Joey and William will be guests here on the blog as they document our Nature Challenge journey for 2016.

The Challenge: Exploring and identifying different species and their habitats found at the Port Aransas South Jetty

J:  After the UTMSI, we went to the South Jetty in Port Aransas.  It’s the tip of Mustang Island.  Mostly we saw birds and fish.  The first thing we saw were a group of Laughing Gulls.  Then I pointed out that crabs could live in the nooks and crannies of the jetties but I didn’t see any.  october-2016-053_1_1 october-2016-054_2_1 october-2016-055_3_1 october-2016-056_4_1 october-2016-057_5_1

W:  There was a man fishing and he caught a stingray.  We got to go over and see it.  We saw the bottom of it which looked kind of reddish-pink.

J:  We saw a man carrying a fish.  We asked him about it.  He said he pulled it out from under a rock but it was already dead.  Then we saw a man with a net.  He was trying to catch mullet.  He caught a net full and put them in a bucket but they kept jumping out so he put us in charge of standing guard.  october-2016-058_6_1 october-2016-059_7_1 october-2016-074_3_1 october-2016-075_4_1 october-2016-076_5_1 october-2016-077_6_1 october-2016-079_7_1 october-2016-080_8_1 october-2016-081_9_1 october-2016-082_10_1 october-2016-084_11_1 october-2016-085_12_1

W:  Every time the mullet jumped out of the bucket we had to catch them to put back in.  But they kept squirming out of our hands!  It took us awhile to catch just one.  But we did catch them all and made sure no more got out.

J:  We saw a pelican sitting on a rock waiting to catch a fish.  We sat very quietly and very patiently and watched him.  He didn’t catch any fish.october-2016-064_10_1 october-2016-065_11_1 october-2016-067_12_1 october-2016-069_13_1 october-2016-071_14_1 october-2016-073_2_1

W:  As we passed by the fisherman who had caught the stingray, we stopped to talk to him.  He asked us, “Have you ever seen live shrimp before?”  We responded, “No, but we have seen crawdads.”  He pulled out a live shrimp that he was using for bait to show us.  We got to hold them.  Daddy says live shrimp will catch all kinds of things from stingrays and catfish to redfish and trout.  october-2016-086_13_1 october-2016-088_14_1 october-2016-089_15_1 october-2016-090_16_1 october-2016-091_17_1

J:  The fisherman’s name with the shrimp was Chris.  We met a lot of fishermen there!  The jetties were very busy while we were there.

W:  See you next time!  Bye-bye!

J: See you later alligator!

W:  After a while crocodile!

J:  Not too soon you big baboon!

W:  See you soon racoon!



Coastal Bend Nature Challenge: UT Marine Science Institute

*Joey and William will be guests here on the blog as they document our Nature Challenge journey for 2016.

The Challenge:  Check out an Explorer Kit to become a scientist at the Reserve.

W: We went to the UT Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas.  We checked out an Explorer Kit.october-2016-004_3_1 october-2016-005_4_1 october-2016-008_5_1 october-2016-010_6_1

J:  We followed the map and went to different stops along the way.october-2016-012_7_1 october-2016-013_8_1 october-2016-014_9_1 october-2016-016_10_1

W:  At each stop, we stopped and made observations.october-2016-017_11_1 october-2016-020_12_1 october-2016-021_1_1 october-2016-023_2_1

J: Auntie Jessica read the cards from the kit to us which asked us questions.  We had to be scientists to answer the questions.  For example, we used the microscope to look at leaves and the refractometer to measure the salinity of the water.  october-2016-024_3_1 october-2016-025_4_1 october-2016-027_5_1 october-2016-028_6_1

W:  I learned that an estuary is where freshwater mixes with salt water and the salinity changes rapidly.  I also learned that animals use the sand dunes as protection.  october-2016-030_7_1 october-2016-031_8_1 october-2016-032_9_1 october-2016-034_10_1

J:  I learned that the sand dunes block the wind and provide shelter for the animals who live at the estuary.  I already knew what an estuary was since we visited Ms. Pringle last year.  october-2016-035_11_1 october-2016-038_13_1 october-2016-039_1_1 october-2016-040_2_1

W:  We learned about barrier islands, too.  I really liked going down on the dock.  I saw a few brown pelicans there.october-2016-041_3_1 october-2016-042_4_1 october-2016-043_5_1 october-2016-044_6_1

J:  After the trail we headed into the Explorarium.  I went fishing and I put the fish where I thought they belonged.  There were lots of fun things to do there.  october-2016-046_7_1 october-2016-048_8_1 october-2016-049_9_1

W:  See you next time!