Christmas break presented an opportunity to spend time with my favorite non-birders for a vacation in Texas. To win them over to wing-watching, I planned to go big. Really big, like the endangered Whooping Crane, Grus americana. At nearly five foot tall, they are an impressive sight and easily the tallest of all North American birds.
|Aransus National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast of Texas.|
You can keep your outlet mall shopping, this is my idea of a good time!
|Three adult and one juvenile (sandy colored bird) at Goose Island.|
Whooping Cranes came close to joining the Dodos in extinction land. This Texas population (currently about 250 birds) is the last native Whooping Cranes in the U.S. There are some newly established Whoopers in Louisiana and a population is being encouraged in Florida. Some very dedicated people are working hard to help this species remain genetically viable and provide wintering grounds. Go to www.operation migration to learn more.
|The thousand year old "Big Tree" of Goose Island.|
If a visit to Aransus is in you future, allow time to visit this monumental tree. It was one of my fondest highlights on the trip to Texas.
|Shelly and Mark Goodman lend a little size perspective to the giant.|
Texas' South shores tour- next stop: Mustang and Padre Island.