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Day 3, Whooping Cranes / Grus americana | by annkelliott
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Day 3, Whooping Cranes / Grus americana

Today is 15 April 2019 - such unfortunate news from Paris, France. Historic Notre Dame Cathedral has been heavily damaged by a devastating fire today. Such an icon for that country, and so beautiful.


This afternoon, I have added 10 more photos, again from Day 3 of our 13-day birding trip to South Texas, 19-31 March 2019. This was our second full day there, a day on a tiny boat, called Lady Lori, watching Whooping Cranes and other species. Having posted so many images from basically our first full day, I rather think I will have to be somewhat more 'disciplined" in my choices, or I will never finish : ) Mind you, I had a quick look through Day 3 photos last night, and discovered that a good many of them, especially of the Whooping Cranes, are very blurry - one disadvantage of taking photos from a little boat that is bobbing up and down. Thankfully, enough of them seem to be sufficiently sharp.


The previous morning, Day 2 of our holiday, 20 March 2019, after our drive to The Big Tree and then along the Lamar Beach Road area, we went to the Connie Hagar Cottage Sanctuary. This is a small, 6.25 acre nature sanctuary that exists in Rockport itself. Such a peaceful place to wander, watching for plants and butterflies as well as birds. There is a small pond, where we watched a young White Ibis, a Great Egret and a Snowy Egret all feeding together. Lovely to see their reflections in the water, too. A couple of nights ago, I was Googling and came across an article from 19 March 2019, telling about a group of students who chose to spend their Spring Break week helping to tidy the Sanctuary. Good for them!


After spending some time at this Sanctuary, we went to the Aransas First Cove Harbor Wetlands Sanctuary, followed by eventually finding the Newbury Park Hummingbird Garden. This was definitely not what we were expecting - just a small area of grass and trees with picnic tables. However, we did see a beautiful Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly and a small, purple Winecup flower. Afterwards, a repeat drive along Cape Velero Drive and area turned up some nice birds, too.


Day 3 was a very different kind of day, spent on board a small boat with just my four friends (and the captain/guide) on board. This private tour was arranged in Calgary beforehand. I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone!


Aransas Bay Birding Charters:


It was a very early start to the day, before sunrise, as we had a lot of water to cross in order to reach the area where the Whooping Cranes were. When we first arrived at the location, the Cranes were either asleep or just beginning their morning preening session, before becoming active. Too dark to get any decent shots of them in the dark, though I did post one yesterday morning. The sunset was absolutely gorgeous! I couldn't make up my mind which one or two photos to post yesterday, so I ended up adding a number of them.


After a while, the Whooping Cranes starting slowly walking and eventually took flight. A bit later in the day, we came across three of them, in the sunshine, busily feeding. This little family consisted of Mom, Dad and junior (their colt). Junior was hungry and eventually, Dad found a crab, which the colt was determined to snatch and eat. Dad was wearing a numbered leg band on one leg; on the other leg was a tracking device. A delightful family group, that was so fascinating to watch from the boat. My photos taken of these three are nicer that the ones I've just posted.


As well as seeing these amazing, endangered Cranes, Lori found all sorts of other bird species for us, including a pair of Oystercatchers (female was on a nest), Whimbrel, Long-billed Curlew, Belted Kingfisher, Pelicans, Great Blue Herons, Royal Terns, Caspian Terns, Ruddy Turnstone, Skimmers, and Cormorants, to name just some of them. One area, which was a rookery, had been badly destroyed by Hurricane Harvey, Wooden nesting platforms have been built to replace most of the original nests, and it was great to see Herons nesting on them.


Oh, and I forgot to mention that we saw a family of three Dolphins, too.

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Taken on March 21, 2019