Whooping Crane

The 18th Annual Whooping Crane Festival was held in Port Aransas, TX the last 4 days. Carol and I were privileged to hear the top crane experts in the world lecture about these magnificent creatures while attending the festival.

The Whooping Crane is the rarest and tallest of all North American birds. It is 5 feet tall and has a wingspan of 7 to 8 feet. The Whooping Crane has been slowly recovering from near extinction of only 15 birds in 1941 to about 270 migratory individuals today. The last naturally occurring population of Whooping Cranes in the world breeds at Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada and migrates more than 2,500 miles to spend the winter on the coastal wetlands near and within Aransas National Wildlife Refuge near Rockport, Texas. They arrive in Texas  in the fall and leave in March. The migration takes about 2 to 3 weeks. This population of “Whoopers” is called the Aransas-Wood Buffalo flock. The International Crane Foundation headed by Dr. George Archibald is the leading organization in working for the protection and restoration of the 15 crane species found worldwide. Dr. Archibald was one of the speakers we heard.

Whooping Crane facts: Mate for life; Only one of two species of cranes found on the North American Continent, the Sandhill Crane being the other; Average life span in the wild is 30 years; They never fly at night; The migration route from Buffalo NP to Aransas NWR is approximate 150 miles wide.

 In recognition of the Whooping Crane, I though it fitting to share a couple of my Whooping Crane photos.

Maybe this post will inspire you to learn more about the “Whooper” and its plight.

 

Click on the photo to enlarge

March 3, 2011 046-1 Whooping CraneB March 3, 2011 046-1 Whooping Cranes wading in Saint Charles Bay at the Lamar Peninsula

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch is a 65-foot (20 m) tall freestanding natural arch located in Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. It is the most widely-recognized landmark in Arches National Park and is depicted on Utah license plates and on a postage stamp commemorating Utah’s centennial anniversary of statehood in 1996. The Olympic torch relay for the 2002 Winter Olympics passed through the arch.

The day after I reached the age of 74 I hiked 1.5 miles one-way up to the arch. The elevation gain from the starting point to the arch was 480′ .  Getting up to the arch was quite a challenging  hour and half hike across slick-rock following cairns which are little piles of rocks to mark the way. I felt like Hansel and Gretel.

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T.A. Moulton Barn

The T.A. Moulton Barn is located in Jackson Hole , WY in an area known as Antelope Flats. This barn is said to be the most photographed barn in America.

Photographers from around the world gather before sunrise to capture the image just as the sunlight hits the tip of the Grand Teton Mountains. Someone shouts “There it is” meaning the sun has just appeared at the very tip of The Grand Teton and everyone starts clicking away for the next 20 or 30 minutes. This is shown in the picture.The morning I was there with 18 other photographers the temperature was a cold crisp 24 degrees.

T.A. Moulton Barn, Jackson Hole, WY