If you are looking for a fun activity for the entire family to take part in this summer, why not head to the Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve & learning center! The summer is a perfect time to explore.

The Oso Preserve is a 162 acre hideaway owned and operated by the City of Corpus Christi. The goal is to teach citizens about the importance of safeguarding coastal ecosystems by giving them access and teaching appreciation for these unique habitats. Although South Texas summers are hot, there is plenty of wildlife activity in the early hours to entertain people and draw you outside.

The neat thing about the Coastal Bend is that we are almost always in some form of migration, but also a place that some species are resident or permanently present. The most colorful migrant is the Painted Bunting which nest within the mesquite shrubs of the Preserve. They are here from late April through mid-October. We also encounter an interesting South Texas resident, the Groove-billed Ani within the thornscrub of the preserve.

The viewing platforms are a great place to see nesting Black-necked Stilts and Willets. The area also get many of the wading birds, including the state-threatened Reddish Egret. The antics of these birds can be quite funny. The stilts often chase away much larger birds including raptors when they are defending nests. And the Reddish Egret often looks quite clumsy as they try to catch fish in shallow water.

Two of the species that we see each summer, the Reddish Egret and the Painted Bunting are a species of concern with the state of Texas. This means conserving habitat for them to feed, raise young, and rest is vital to their continued survival. The best part of having this preserve so close to a city is that it allows people to really see these birds, and other animals such as bobcats, armadillos, and tortoise and understand that setting aside green space really does make a difference.

There are a lot of different ways that people can explore and enjoy the preserve. There is a free guided nature walk each Tuesday morning at 8 am, and each Saturday morning at 9 am which is a time when it is still cool and animals are active. They have summer camps for kids 6-15 to get a hands-on chance to explore the wetlands and other nearby ecosystems. The trails are open dawn to dusk for those that prefer a self-guide trip. They also have a Learning Center open from 8 am- 5 pm where visitors can borrow binoculars, check out field guides, cool off, and meet our Animal Ambassadors. Additional information on our programs is available at the website www.osopreserve.com