Thursday, November 29, 2007

Coyote and the Cranes

This morning we got up and went "park hopping" with Karon. There are over 30 rv parks listed in this area and we want to explore what other options are available for our next trip here. We found a couple of possibilities, but I haven't found The Park yet. As far as a good park, this one isn't too bad, but I'm just not all that impressed with how we've been treated. Anyway, we're exploring the other possibilities in the area.

One of the activities I had on my list of things I want to do while in Rockport was to take a boat tour to see the whooping cranes, which is about the only way to get a glimpse of these magnificent birds. The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge has the largest wild flock which migrates here each year from Alberta. The estimated number in this group is over 260 now. Upon the recommendation of another blogger and one of my readers, Sandra, I contacted Rockport Birding and Kayak Adventures with Capt. Tommy Moore to book a tour today.

Here's the boat we went out on.

Getting underway.
What's this! It doesn't look like a crane, oh, no - it's a coyote, heading right towards a family group of whooping cranes.

In this picture, maybe you can see that the two birds on the right have slightly reddish heads. These are juvenile twin whooping cranes. The parents are the ones on the left. This is an unusual group. Whooping cranes lay 2 eggs. What typically happens is that one chick will kill the other so there is less competition for food. But in this family, both chicks survived. The juveniles spotted the coyote and moved towards it, apparently curious, but unafraid.

It's a little hard to see in this picture, but the coyote (look closely on the left) has approached the juvenile cranes, who have wandered towards the coyote. These youngsters almost seem to be taunting the coyote. We were mesmerized by this drama for the longest time! Will the coyote attack the cranes? The crane parents were a few yards away, watching the youngsters closely.

One of the parents decided to make sure the juveniles were not in serious danger from the curious coyote

The coyote decided against taking any action against the 4 whooping cranes and moved along. Everyone on the little boat was relieved to see the coyote moving away from the cranes. The juveniles remained curious and unafraid of the coyote, though and followed along for a bit.
The juveniles, strutting their stuff

This pair took off nearly in front of our boat

The trip on the boat was mostly about whooping cranes, but we did see many, many other birds. Between the two of us, we took over 350 pictures. One of the new birds for me was this American Oyster Catcher, here he has an oyster on his beak.

What a day of adventure and drama!

No comments: