SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (ValleyCentral) — They sail in by the hundreds and gather in the thousands, and if you want to see this spectacular assemblage of waterfowl then the South Padre Island Birding Nature Center and Alligator Sanctuary is the place to go.

Javi Gonzales, Naturalist and Educator with the Center, encourages folks to visit this time of year.

“The winter months are incredible. Great time to visit the Birding Center, The bird diversity doubles.”

This time of year resident birds like Brown pelicans and spectacular spoonbills are joined by a variety of wintering songbirds and waterfowl.

The 50-acre site is a South Padre Island treasure and world-class destination with extensive boardwalks that offer close-up views of wildlife and attract visitors from all over the nation like Elliot Weiskopf from Illinois.

“Coming out here sometimes is a nice little break from the walk around town where you see all the glitz and glamour, lights and stuff…just nice to get a little break and see stuff from the natural perspective, especially with all the stuff they provide out here…all the alligators and all the things they do with the birds and nature walks and all the information they give about the island,” said Weiskopf.

“If you love nature, definitely come here. There are all sorts of things to do. You can go up the three stories to the very top of the tower, that’s pretty fun,” said visitor Emma Hart.

Folks from throughout the Rio Grande Valley flock to the Center such as Lisa Lopez and her family from Harlingen.

“Yes, we try and come as much as we can. My daughter even has a wildlife book that she likes to compare all the animals that are here and the animals in the book,” said Lopez.

Visitor Debra Hill added, “It is a great place to come. Perfect for kids, seniors, everybody. Everybody would love it.”