Whooping cranes flyingSharing a little love with the Whooping Cranes in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. They come down from Alberta to spend the winter.

The refuge is the most significant breeding area for the rare crane and depends on fresh water from the Guadalupe River (which runs through the town I live in) to feed the marshes. The Aransas Project is working to make sure the waters make it all the way to the mouth of the river.

We took a cruise with Captain Tommy Moore on the Skimmer. He’s an amazing bird spotter and supporter of the Whooping Cranes. The boat is outfitted perfectly for bird watching, and the combination of environmental education and entertainment is just right.

In addition to observing two pairs of whooping cranes, we also sighted two dozen other species of birds. And that’s not counting any of the ducks!

The (fairly) complete list follows. I plan to add a few more pictures when I get home. Now, I’m heading out for “birthday” brunch at Cheryl’s By The Bay in Rockport. We were planning dinner out last night but were too ready to crash to get all dressed up.


Birds Sighted Jan. 21 in Aransas National Wildlife Refuge:

Crested Caracara


Whooping Crane


Dowitcher, long-billed and short-billed

Great Egret

Reddish Egret

Peregrine Falcon


Eared Grebe

Herring Gull

Northern Harrier

White-tailed hawk

Great blue heron

Black-crowned Night Heron


American White Pelican

Brown Pelican

Plover (several kinds)

Roseate Spoonbill

Caspian Tern

Royal Tern

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck


Lesser Yellowlegs