Texas Coastal Birds

Went out with Tommy last Thursday (8/5) with 3 other friends to check out the Rockport "Little Bay" rookery island. Tommy is excited to learn about the wealth of birds this area is known for. First, He has a beautiful bay boat that should be able to accommodate 3 to 4 birders / photographers with tripods. Tommy's knowledge of the area is encyclopedic since he grew up here and has been fishing the area for many years. Second, the equipment he uses for fishing is also applicable to birding. The 2 Power Poles can hold the boat perfectly still for viewing through bino's or camera/long lens. The trolling motor is almost totally quiet and allows him to maneuver slowly and with great precision. It was the first time I could actually use binoculars on a moving boat. Tommy was always concerned about our comfort and getting us into the best viewing positions without disturbing the birds. He has the interest of the birds at heart, maintaining enough distance and speed so as to not spook the birds. I look forward to more outings with Tommy Hanover

Diane N

I really enjoyed our day at the end of July with Tommy Hanover on his Shoal Water Cat.  It was a perfect day for birding in Rockport and observing a new crop of juvenile Reddish Egrets, Tricolored Herons, Roseate Spoonbills, Black Skimmers, Laughing Gulls (so many), and more.  I enjoyed watching and photographing the chaos of juveniles demanding food and chasing their parents.  I didn’t bring my larger lens, but it was a perfect boat to bring both the big tripod and a big lens.  The boat was really stable and Tommy's piloting skills made it even better.  He can maneuver in really shallow water allowing us close views without being too close to disturb the chicks. I hope I am able to book another trip with CoastalBirds and explore the Aransas Wildlife Refuge when the Whooping and Sand Hill cranes come back this fall.  Don’t pass this up! Tommy is a great guide and he has a great boat. If you are new to the area, you will appreciate his knowledge and love of the Rockport and Aransas area.  He is as enthusiastic about the birds as you will be.

Marcy S 

20210916_130113jpgOn Thursday September 16 Tom and I along with Hank and Nancy Arnold rode on Tommy Hanover’s boat to birding islands near Lydia Ann Lighthouse and to Emilie Payne Island. We had a wonderful morning viewing birds and watching the dolphin pods play in the surrounding waters. We saw 3 Frigate Birds which is amazing for the area along with close views of night herons which Tommy was able to negotiate easily with his boat. The boat and his skills are well suited to quietly approaching the birds. Tommy was very accommodating and made us feel like royalty on his very comfortable boat. We look forward to future trips with Tommy.

Sincerely, Tom and Dr Lorraine Stehn

We were very lucky to find Captain Tommy at the last minute after being told that 4 other tours were full.  

Captain Tommy Hanover met the two of us at his boat in dense fog last week and assured us that the wind would shift and the fog would be blown out - and that he had the whole day for us.

And what a day it was! The sun came out and we were treated to a tour that included sightings of dozens of whooping cranes, some with their juveniles with them.

Captain Tommy made sure we saw all the shorebirds, and made a special effort to find the oyster catchers! He is very knowledgeable about the area and the birds, as well as the Texas wildlife and the ecosystem.  He is passionate about taking care of this fragile spot.

Five Star rating for this tour. We will definitely look up Tommy Hanover when we are back in the area!  

MaryBeth and Molly

March, 2022

My wife and I had a wonderful day with Tommy as our Captain on his boat. I really enjoyed spending time with him and he was so interesting to talk to. He has a terrific knowledge of boating, fishing, bird watching and spending time in nature. He is a very competent Captain and he takes great pride in being safe and in providing an enjoyable trip. We were fortunate to have his friend Brian accompany us on the boat. Brian shared his amazing knowledge of birds, local wildlife, and life on the water and in the marshes.

We had so much fun. Oh, did I mention we saw Whoopers!

Joe J.

Austin, TX

Feb 14th, 2023

We adventured with Tommy Hanover on Valentine’s Day, 2023 on his Shoal Water cat into the waters of the Aransas Wildlife National Refuge. It was a great day in spite of the North winds. We saw a variety of water fowl including numerous whooping cranes and their colts. A special feature Tommy was able to share with us was a pair of adult whoopers with their 2 colts. We are sure it was a once in a lifetime experience! Due to the very shallow waters, Tommy was not able to get the boat into areas he otherwise would have been able to maneuver but the shore birding was still great. We also saw dolphins and a coyote on an island. We strongly recommend this great Captain for an educational experience. Jolene and Rob Knaus, Casper, WY

Feb 23rd, 2023

Our daughter and her Texas-raised husband arranged for the trip of a lifetime for her delighted parents as we completed our south Texas vacation. They found Tommy Hanover's enticing website and contacted him about picking up a couple of stragglers from Nebraska and showing them God's creation, Coastal-Texas style. And what a grand trip it was indeed! We are not experienced birders, but after this trip we are all about it. If we had a list to check off the different species, we would have gotten several pages worth:) We are familiar with Sandhills Cranes, but the Whooping Cranes are spectacular. We also got to see some "twins" as the colt pairs are referred to, and up close and personal. Hank Arnold made our adventure even more spectacular with his ultra-long lens, close-up photography of the birds and to my wife's delight, of the dolphin pod that gathered in the still fog of the early morning to greet Captain Tommy like an old friend dropping by.


She also spotted some wild hogs on the edge of one of the islands after having heard stories of them just minutes earlier. When you book your ride with Captain Tommy, hopefully Hank will be along for the ride...and if he is, ask him about what prayer can do for a guy's wallet, and cell phone, and car keys...it's a great tale of the Texas Coast! Don't let this opportunity pass you by when you get down this way...I know we'll be back, God willing. Thanks for the unforgettable ride boys!       j. & d.