Friday, January 8, 2010
The Lobstick Pair, Riding the Skimmer 2010
The male crane stretched his neck and seemed to pose for us. We were only about fifty yards away and the pair were totally unconcerned but the two whoopers were the most photographed whooping cranes and were quite used to the adoration. Together they had reared sixteen chicks and two sets of twins. The last time we had seen them, also on the skimmer tour, they had a pair of twins but this year they had failed to raise a chick.
We had bought tickets for the birding trip on the Skimmer and again it exceeded our expectations. Jenny had expressed concern about the forty five dollar price, but I assured her that it was actually worth it,(and it was). The boat was quite full and we were layered in all the cold weather clothes we owned as the day promised to be clear and cold.
We stayed inside but still had to brave the cold air streaming threw the open door. A couple of fellow birders were so excited they stayed out front on the bow deck and I shivered as I watched them. We passed the Blackjack Peninsula, and I pointed out to Jenny how far we had canoed. It was good to see the view from the water again and I felt that I was getting an understanding of the bays.
Our first stop was at the area that had been constructed for additional habitat and we saw the usual, a reddish egret, a black bellied plover, and of course the ever present blue heron.
We could see a pair of whoopers in the distance but after teasing us for a while the tour guide said that there were two cranes up close and he sped the boat up the intercoastal. I am sure he knew all along that the Lobstick pair would be in their territory and of course they were, but they were so close!
We watched them for a while and there was another pair in the distance. The boat captain pointed out some roseattes and a little blue heron. Some mottled ducks fed busily and a couple of snowy egrets stood and watched it all.
Heading further up the intercoastal we stopped and watched a family group feed, also unconcerned with the boats passing by. Again another pair was in the distance and we had now seen eleven whoopers in all! What a day.
The return trip was through another channel, the old intercoastal, and we saw an osprey and a really huge group of blue herons. It had been another great day birding and we were glad we had Jenny along with us. No new birds, but more like old friends, who were also wintering along the Texas coastal bend. Clear skies.