Sunday, March 18, 2012

Whooping Cranes, plus LensCoat RainCoat

- _DSC4423 March 11, 2012 NIKON D7000
Fearless Leader and Capt Tommy behing the Glash
The morning of the last full day in Texas, we traveled aboard the "SKIMMER" captained by Capt. Tommy to travel across Aransas Bay and into the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge to locate and photograph the rare Whooping Cranes.  We set our tripods on the top deck and utilizing Velcro straps attached them to the railing so that they would not fall or move
- _DSC4338 March 10, 2012 NIKON D7000- _DSC4331 March 10, 2012 NIKON D7000- _DSC4281 March 10, 2012 NIKON D7000.
The one item that I was extremely grateful for was my LensCoat® RainCoat Pro <®-raincoat-p-1506.html>.  RainCoat-Large-uncinchedBesides a constant drizzle, we had periods of a soaking rain and my LensCoat Raincoat kept my camera and lens dry.  What I like about the LensCoat Raincoat Pro are first, it needs no dedicated eyepiece, it is easy to put on the camera and lens, the Velcro straps help adjust the size of the cover and helps keep it from flapping in the wind and finally, it has been integrated foldout arm sleeve to access the camera controls.  Yes, it costs more than some other types of protection for your camera and lens including plastic bags, but the advantages that I listed above make it worthwhile.  The LensCoat Raincoat comes in 2 sizes, depending on the size of the lens that you want attach to.  I do have both sizes and have found that has been a worthwhile investment.
- _ROT1665 March 11, 2012 NIKON D3S
We did locate the Whooping Cranes and spent time observing them in their activities of feeding, flying and moving about.  One of the pairs of cranes lifted their heads and whooped for us. - _ROT1839 March 11, 2012 NIKON D3S In total, we probably observed about 2.5% of the total population of Whooping Cranes.
Whooping Cranes are in endangered species and have a population around 500 birds at the present time.  In 1941, there were only 16 living birds and thanks to management efforts involving numerous United States and Canadian government agencies, nonprofit organizations, volunteers and others, the Whooping Cranes are slowly making a comeback.  Whooping Cranes are the tallest North American bird and with the sandhill cranes are the only 2 cranes that are regular inhabitants of North America.  The population in Texas are migratory and there is a small nonmigratory population in Florida.  The cranes feed in shallow water or and feels and love blue crabs, but will eat plant and other small animals.Whooping Cranes- _ROT1660 March 11, 2012 NIKON D3S
We also visited a Great Blue Heron rookery- _DSC4477 March 11, 2012 NIKON D7000- _DSC4469 March 11, 2012 NIKON D7000- _DSC4442 March 11, 2012 NIKON D7000 and had a Atlantic bottlenose dolphin swim in our wake.
- _DSC4428 March 11, 2012 NIKON D7000
Dolphin - then left our wake and since I had just gotten my smaller lens< I missed out on getting photos of it jumping

- _ROT1721 March 11, 2012 NIKON D3S
White Ibis - at a distance the black wing tips and look like a crane's wing tips
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
- _ROT1525 March 11, 2012 NIKON D3S
American Oystercatcher