Physical Demand: Easy - gentle walking over relatively flat surfaces of gravel, grass, sand; standing on deck of a boat
Situated on the edge of the San Antonio Bay, just north of Rockport, Texas, sits Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge has the distinct privilege of being the over-wintering destination for the majority of the endangered Whooping crane. Once decimated to only 15 individuals, the Aransas whooping crane population now numbers close to 500. With only about 800 individuals on the planet, between this population, the handful of other wild populations in North America, and those in captivity, these birds are beyond a doubt a rarity.
As the refuge covers 115,000 acres, finding these cranes can be difficult. However, on this photo adventure, I partner with Captain Kevin and Captain Lori who have several decades of combined experience in the refuge. They are familiar with the birds' behavior, territories, and have the knowledge and skill to get us in position for our shots without disturbing the birds. Approaching from the water via boat, we are able to gain access to a larger portion of the refuge and observe the whooping cranes as they forage for their favorite prey: blue crabs.
After spending the mornings on the boat, we will break for lunch before heading to a piece of private property next to the refuge where the owners have a comfortable wildlife blind for us to observe more crane action up close. Perfect for portrait shots and social behavior images.
Beyond the whooping cranes, there will be the opportunities to photograph other birds such as waterfowl, egrets, herons, roseate spoonbills, sandhill cranes, and pelicans.