When driving south along Mustang Island, cut back to the beach whenever possible to look for gulls, terns, and shorebirds. A Lesser Black-backed Gull returned each winter for over a decade to the beach near Port Aransas, and Glaucous Gulls are seen here with some consistency in early spring. At high-tide, check along the beach for small flocks of Piping and Snowy plovers, as well as Red Knots. Mustang Island State Park is located on SH 361, approximately 14 miles south of Port Aransas.
The state park includes an entire barrier island ecosystem, encompassing dunes, coastal grasslands, marshes, and bayside tidal flats and sloughs. The beach may be particularly rewarding in winter for gulls, terns, and shorebirds (scan the Gulf for seabirds), and a walk in the coastal grasslands should uncover Sedge Wren and perhaps LeConte’s Sparrow. Look for nesting Wilson’s Plover along the beach and on the tidal flats in summer and Horned Lark among the dunes themselves. Campsites with hookups are provided in the park.