Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Texas - Day 4

The day of the boat trip, we were firstly welcomed by a cold temperature but with the skies clear we hoped it would warm up quickly. Our guide and captain of the boat was Kevin Sims, probably one of the most well known whooping crane boat captains. We set off at 7am in time to see the sunrise and to get into position ready for the cranes once the light appeared on the horizon.

 Sunrise from boat

Within 10 minutes of setting off Kevin had spotted 2 Whooping Cranes not far from the shore, so the cameras were grabbed and we all set-up on the front and top of the boat. As we got closer, instead of the cranes flying away they seemed to ignore us and even move closer to the boat, allowing us all to capture some amazing images with the cranes filling the frames. While we were there we saw the cranes catch 2 crabs and take them into the reed to eat.

Whooping Crane - Grus americana

After the success of the cranes in such a short amount of time we were wondering what we were going to do for the rest of the tour, but Kevin took us slowly down the Intracoastal Waterway, going past the large tug boats transporting oil and gas up and down the coast. As we all scanned looking for birds we almost missed a small pod of 3 dolphins swimming up behind us.

Bottlenose Dolphin - Tursiops

Again after the amazement of seeing the cranes then the dolphins we were all looking forward to what could come next, we all knew it was going to be a good day! After another 5-10 minutes on the boat, we arrived at a small island in the middle of the waterway, but this wasn't just any island this one was covered in Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Reddish Egrets and Roseate Spoonbills!! This was the highlight of the day for me, being so close to all these beautiful birds, especially the spoonbills which are so colorful and standing out.

Reddish Egret - Egretta rufescens

Reddish Egret - Egretta rufescens

Great Blue Heron - Ardea herodias

Great Egret - Ardea alba

Roseate Spoonbill - Ajaja ajaja

After about an hour at the island and managing to fill a card with 600 images! We moved, making our way slowly back to the dock, on the way seeing more cranes, Sanderings, Turnstones, Common Loons and many more. As we pulled into the dock area we spotted a pair of loons swimming around out of the current. This allowed us to get up close to them and even capture them flapping their wings out of the water.

Common Loon - Gavia imme

After the boat trip we made out way to the Rio Grande, and our next hotel, the Alamo Inn. Here we were warmly greeted by a member of staff, and then Keith the owner of the Inn came to speak to us about where to go and see/photograph the local wildlife, which we found interesting to see how it compared to information we had found online. After unpacking the car and a short break we headed off to one of the local reserves, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuse. Here we took one of the shorter trials as the light was going by the second. As we made our way along the path we spotted a number of different bird species including Great Kiskadee, Chachalaca and over 100 Turkey Vultures who were migrating through the area.

Chachalaca - Ortalis

Turkey Vulture - Cathartes aura

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuse

1 comment:

  1. Great picture of the whooping crane, glad you were able to get a nice picture of one of our endangered species.