Monday, March 31, 2014

Whooping Crane

The fog lifted at noon on Monday, 19 February, so Erika and I set off for the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, home of most of the surviving wild Whooping Cranes. But a fellow hotel guest informed us that the refuge was closed Monday through Wednesday—presumably due to a lack of Federal funding. A quick call to the refuge confirmed this information, but assured us that refuge roads were open. Our friend told us to go to the Big Tree area of Goose Island State Park, close by, on the way to the refuge. They had seen Whooping Cranes close up there the previous day. To make a slightly longer story shorter, we found the cranes at Goose Island. But, as you can see in the first photo, our view of two distant Whooping Cranes peering from within a slough was hardly satisfying. (You may have to enlarge the photo on your screen.) Better, though still far away, was a Whooping Crane feeding along the shore of the refuge (see bottom photo).

By the end of the afternoon, we listed 11 Whooping Cranes. The total number of wild Whooping Cranes is probably slightly over 250. Seeing about 5% of them in a single day was exciting.

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