Thursday, April 5, 2012

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and Goose Island State Park

February 27, 2012 was a fateful day, most best forgotten, but I will always want to remember the endangered Whooping Cranes that spend the winter at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

Birdie and I started at the Visitor Center where wild turkeys were the official greeters.

Birdie carrying her spotting scope to the viewing platforms.
We were hoping to catch a glimpse of the whooping cranes.
It was a beautiful morning.
Birdie set up the scope to look for the whooping cranes.
And she found them, but very far out, and with all the heat shimmer the best pictures were a blur.
 Finally a few of them moved in closer for somewhat better pics.

 Then we followed this trail...I forget exactly where.
But we found a Spoonbill 
Who kindly showed me his bill for a second. 
Huge alligator on the bank. 
The one on the left is an Oystercatcher; don't remember the other. 
I remember a discussion about all the different gulls...I still can't tell them apart. 
 Some sort of Sandpiper, I think. I really shouldn't let so much time go by before labeling my pics, but I had a good excuse this time.
This unfortunate gull had a fish hook and line caught in his bill. 
 And then there was Stinky Beach.
 Sign explaining the stink.
 Birdie was excited to see this Goldeneye...
So I spent quite a bit of time trying to get a good picture of it as it bobbed in the waves and dove under. 
Most of my pictures looked like this. 
 But a few times I got lucky.
 Striking fellow.
Maybe this is a Willet...or maybe not, haha. 
 But then on the way to Goose Island State park to see the Big Tree, we came across another bunch of Whooping Cranes...much closer this time.
And we were able to get some great pics of these magnificent birds.

Other people were trying to get a good look too. 

 Not a very good video, but you can see their movement and hear their call.

On to the Big Tree 
Actually there are a lot of big trees here....Live Oaks. 
 But this one is the Big Tree.
Ode to the Big Tree. 
 Simba and I circled the tree several times, but alas he couldn't pee on it.
As we were leaving the Big Tree we saw the Whooping Cranes fly over. By the time I got my camera set, they had landed again, and this is the last photo on my camera from that day. This is the part of the day I choose to remember. 


  1. Ah, yes, those were some great birds. Definitely best to forget the rest of the day if we can.

  2. Just when I was wishing I could hear your cranes you inserted the video. I always feel as if I were right there with you.

  3. This part of the day was very, very good!