Los Fresnos: Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge
Photo by Valerie D. Bates
Established in 1946, the 97,007 acre refuge is home to more documented species of birds than any other National Wildlife Refuge in the United States. A dense entanglement of thorns, home to the endangered ocelot, eases its way into an open prairie landscape where white-tailed deer can be found browsing. A look above often produces a silhouette of an aplomado falcon on the hunt. In the fall, a million redhead ducks can be seen replenishing themselves on the fresh waters of the Laguna Atascosa, for which the Refuge was named. Across the mainland, over the Laguna Madre and onto South Padre Island, the Laguna Atascosa NWR provides important habitat for nesting sea turtles, clapper rails, blue crab, and many other species. The refuge is open for wildlife watching, education and interpretation, hunting, fishing and nature photography.