Friday, March 19, 2010

Whooping Crane and Peregrine Falcon

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Texas, sunny and 70's, perfect for going on the Wharf Cat out of Rockport to see whooping cranes up close. My photos above were the best I could get with my camera, but they do provide a good sense of this 5 ft tall bird. For those who are not familiar with the whooping crane, this bird is the rarest breeding bird in N. America. In the early 40's there were only about 15 left, but thru conservation efforts there are now about 500, 1/2 of which winter at Aransas NWR in Texas. The cranes migrate each April up to Wood Buffalo NP in northern Canada. They return to Texas in November.

On the way back into the dock, we also had the good fortune to see a male peregrine falcon resting on a channel marker. Both the crane and falcon were new year birds, bringing the YTD total up to 394. The total bird count for week #11 came in at 102.

Last nite my wife, and our friends Craig and Renee had an excellent meal at a relatively new seafood restaurant in Austin named Perlas. We began with raw oysters from Prince Edward Island, Mass., RI, and Washington state. We drank a muscadet from France with them--one of the classic oyster/wine pairings. We then each had fish main courses--grouper with chanterelles and morelles, monkfish, loup de mer (sea bass from the mediterranean), and Texas crab louie with fried green tomatoes. We had sides of shoestring french fries, grilled asparagus with hollandaise sauce and grilled brussel sprouts. We drank a nice albarino from Spain with these dishes. Dessert was profiteroles with coffee ice cream, and a blueberry tart. My kudos to my NC friend Lex for telling me about Perlas, and to Renee for suggesting that we eat there.

Tonite is the beginning of week #12 and I am in Dallas for the evening to be ready to pick up my sister early tomorrow morning. I stopped at the Burger House which has been making burgers since 1951, and was recommended in Hamburger America. I tried the cheeseburger which has a house recipe secret seasoning on it. The burger was a very thin, pre-formed patty dressed with tomato, lettuce and mustard. This was the weakest burger I have tried so far this year. I would not recommend this place.

Tomorrow we are heading into a snow storm in Oklahoma as we begin a week of seeking prairie chickens and grouse in Oklahoma and Colorado. We are also going thru Nebraska on Sunday to see the annual gathering of 500,000 sandhill cranes along the Platte River. A rare common crane was reported today mixed in with the sandhills. Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. I learned that each whooping crane has its own characteristic whoop, as individual as your fingerprint . . . although didn't get to hear a whoop. Did get a brief look of a crane spreading his wings wide. They have pink feet . . . and have been known to kill coyotes! This is the bird they trained to follow an ultralight aircraft to get the flock to migrate to Texas. Way cool.