Monday, Bud and I drove to Rockport and Fulton Texas area for some birding. We first went to Goose Island State Park to see the reported Whooping Cranes [as seen from last year's linked posting] that are once again arriving for their winter home. We found four cranes along with a few Sandhill Cranes in an open field across from the inlet at Capano Bay. I took several photos, but the distance, even with my zoom lens was not good for any clear photos, so once I got home those were deleted from my SD card. We'll go back sometime again for another photo try. Perhaps after a nice rainstorm...that way the cranes will be farther out in the field, closer to the road. To the back of us, this is what we see:
After waiting in hopes of the Whooping Cranes to saunter out away from the reed pond, with no luck, we drove through the park's entrance and walked a short distance, then left, as we wanted to find one other bird sanctuary that has only been opened to the public for just over a year ago....called Linda S. Castro Sanctuary. The sanctuary is a small 4 acre property that has a large pond where a couple of uncommon ducks [in our area of Texas anyway] have been reported. The Ringed Neck Duck and the Wood Duck. After finally finding the off the road and unmarked entrance, we parked, walked the path and watched the pond for the two species.
Right away we spied several Ring Necked Ducks, both male and female!!! Along with coots, redheads, mottled, and teals. But the elusive wood ducks were not to be seen. While Bud stayed on the park bench perusing with his binoculars the pond for the wood ducks, I took off again on the pathway and walked the oak motte [dense growth of oak trees] in hopes of finding some 'land birds'....which I found and photographed two. The Eastern Phoebe [far right] and the Ruby Crowned Kinglet!
Tho a very small area, it was busy with duck activity the short time we visited. It is so well hidden and new that it was a wonderful, quiet time to just sit and watch...all the time in hopes of spotting the other duck. I was hoping to see a male wood duck!! Before we left, we climbed back out of the woods to the visitor platform and took a few more minutes searching. Way off in the distance, on the far side of the pond, behind some thick bushes, through my binoculars, I spotted an unusual, crested, duck. Tho it was is heavy shade, I was sure it was the wood duck. Some other avid birders in my area told me there were SIX spotted on the pond here. I took my camera, and snapped three photos...then, moved over to the far end of the platform and raised my camera to get a few more photos...but, by the time I got in position and aimed...the duck was gone from sight!! When I got home and checked my camera card, it was indeed a wood duck!! The photos were not clear for two reasons, I didn't have my camera's tripod and too much movement, AND it was in heavy shadows from the bush. But I can still tell the species. We will return...SOON!
All in all, even tho the lighting and distance of the Whooping Cranes was NOT desirable, and the wood duck was too far a distance from me for good photos, it was a good day. I got to mark off two NEW species of ducks. The Ring Necked Ducks photos turned out really good, and I will post those photos sometime soon at I'd Rather B Birdin'...my bird photo blog.