Beauty at Work!

Still from the first day on the boat, as the day progressed and we made our way farther into the refuge (Aransas NWR), we had whooping cranes very close to our boat. We typically moved the boat to get a clear shot, then parked it along the bank and let the cranes move around and come to us. This technique worked pretty well, and I can honestly say that none of the cranes we photographed over the two days were frightened away by our boat, only by other birds. Here are a few images I captured:

Whooping Crane

Standing up to 5-feet tall, these adult Whooping Cranes were quite a sight to see! So majestic!

Whooping Crane

And finally we had a whooper that started finding and pulling up blue crabs right in front of us! This is the first of many images captured as the cranes foraged for the blue crabs:

Whooping Crane with a blue crab

As it ended up, this whooper, identified as #30 by his GPS radio, was quite a crabber! We were able to watch and photograph him finding and consuming many crabs. In another post, I’ll feature some of the interesting behaviors of the whoopers and the crabs that we witnessed during the crab dinners.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 500mm, f/4 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC convertor (resulting in focal length of 700 mm)
  • Bogen 3221 tripod with Wimberly gimbal head
  • ISO 800 (top image), ISO 400 (middle image), ISO 1250 (bottom image)
  • Aperture f/5.6 (all images)
  • Shutter 1/800 sec. (top image), 1/600 sec. (middle image), 1/800 sec. (bottom image)

 

 

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Posted in 2017, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography
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  • Pam Bates

    Beautiful photos! A little info on #30, in case you are interested. #30’s ID is 2012-30 and was banded at Wood Buffalo National Park in 2012. I’m happy that #30 is still looking as beautiful as every. Thank you for sharing your photo.
    Pam Bates-FOTWW

  • Thank you, Pam, and thanks for the wonderful information. I was wondering if there was an easy way to track the band back to find out more about the bird. I appreciate you taking the time to let me know! :o)

  • Pam Bates

    You’re welcome, Jim! In 2009 researchers began placing satellite transmitters on the AWBP Whooping Cranes. In total, 68 Whoopers were tracked and followed to find out the exact spot a Whooping Crane spent the night and where it foraged while on migration. This data will be used to determine what habitat is being used and how we can preserve. #2012-30 was one of these whoopers in the study.

    FOTWW has a Stopover project in progress with military bases and Indian reservations. If you’re interested, you can read about what we’re doing on our website http://friendsofthewildwhoopers.org/

    Pam
    FOTWW

  • Thanks so much for all this “extra” information, Pam! Knowing all the details really helps to paint the picture of how/why tags & transmitters are used. As a photographer, I certainly prefer to photograph “natural” animals without these devices, but they are a very useful tool to monitor and learn more about the subjects. And in the long run, they will benefit the endangered animals. Appreciate the additional info and I hope those viewing my blog will read these educational notes! And thanks for the website link, I will check it out. :o)