Upon arrival, we took a quick turn around the field where we have seen the birds going by a famous tree known as The Big Tree, a Live Oak reputed to be over 1000 years old. It is the most famous Live Oak in Texas.
We have walked around it many times and we were really looking for the cranes. It took us a while to see some of the white birds off in a distance, but I felt the satisfaction of a sighting for our first day.
The next morning we were up early and off we went. This Cardinal was our alarm clock over the top of the van in the early dawn.
We returned to the area of the cranes and found them foraging in two places. We were able to get some pictures of the parents and a juvenile. What a thrill!
One with the orange color on the head (in the middle) is the juvenile. The parents will stay with this young one for the first winter.
Some Sandhills were with the Whoopers!
In addition to seeing the cranes, I wanted to go on a bird walk to see what other species might be seen in the area. These walks are common in parks where there is a unique population of winter birds and are led by volunteers that are very helpful and usually love to share information. This was one very relaxed and led by a couple, Len and Jane Hall.
The park has both a wooded area and a seaside pier, and this walk took us along the bay. From here I could see the bridge onto the island looking one way, and the length of the pier going another.
We were able to identify many shore birds like the Semipalmated Plover, the American Oystercatcher, the Black Skimmer and the Common Goldeneye Duck. Others included the Common Loon in winter plumage...
White Pelicans with Cormorants
And the Eared Grebe.
As soon as the walk was over, Latona and I walked the pier again and then went back to our site and had a comfortable afternoon. We had decided to go out to dinner in Fulton Beach/Rockport. After a check on the internet we decided on The Boiling Pot and we were not disappointed with our choice.
I started with six oysters with horseradish and LA hot sauce. The sweetest I have ever eaten!
Our dinner included red beans and rice, corn, red potatoes, sausage AND boiled shrimp and crawfish!
One of those meals you won't soon forget! Very special and so well prepared.
Funky atmosphere as well. The artwork has all been done by customers, usually the younger ones, and none of it has ever been removed.
It wasn't a lobster bib, but she still looks good wearing it!
On our way back to the campground, we decided on one more loop around the spot for the cranes.
All in all we had seen eight Whooping Cranes and this evening, we had another view of the family group...
And some Roseate Spoonbills...
And the roosting Great Egrets.
As you can tell most of the pictures were taken from quite distance with our little camera, so I apologize for the clarity of the pictures. Just know that you are having an amazing opportunity, seeing a species that is being brought back from the edge of extinction. It is a great privilege for me!