Saturday, February 9, 2008

Our day Friday....

We drove up to Aransas Wildlife Refuge for the day. It's pretty good size and it's where the majority of the Whopping cranes winter. There is soooo much information about the Whoopers but I'll try to condense just a bit here for you.
Whooping cranes stand nearly 5 feet tall and their wing span measures about 7 1/2 feet across. They are unique to North America and became almost extinct due to their food source turning to farmland) and hunters mistaking them for other birds. In 1941 there were only 16 whoopers left that wintered in South Texas. The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1937 to protect them. Over the years there has been a steady rise in numbers to over 450 in North America today. Aransas NWR hosts the largest flock of wintering whooping cranes in North America with over 280 birds last year.
Well there you go.... the details in a condensed version. I was really excited to go see some of them.
When we first drove in there was a visitors center with several displays set up with all the animals and birds that live there. Very interesting.
Then we went back to the pickup and coming right up the road by us was this armadillo. He wasn't nervous about us at all. In fact Don was able to walk right up to him.

We drove along a few viewing spots then decided to stop for lunch. I had packed some cheese, fruit and crackers so we stopped in a designated picnic area right by the water and under lots of oaks. As we sat there eating we both noticed several other people looking and pointing to something. We walked around our truck and saw a javelina right by another table of people.
I took several pics.....

He was very used to people and sure seemed to know where food was. There was another group there that had a dog and the pig wanted to go right for the dog. The owner had to keep shooing him away.
Then we drove down to the viewing tower. I (very slowly) managed to walk up to the top. Thankfully it was a ramp and not stairs. From there we could see a long way and finally I spotted three white spots. As they started walking I could tell they were big whoopers (by the size of them). It was so far away that I didn't even try for a pic. They must have been at least 1/2 to 3/4 mile away.
Back to the pickup and we drove thru the rest of the refuge looking for alligators.
No luck. Bummer!! But we did at least see a baby gator while we were at the visitors center. A lady that worked there brought it out to show us. He was about 10 - 12 inches long.
My goal for the day was to see Wooping Cranes and I guess we did both. Even tho not exactly what I had planned for.

We came back and decided to stop for a quick bite and decided to go to the boat docking area. We found a ramshackle place called MoonDog and went in to order. It was a bar with an outside seating area and an enclosed patio area that could be opened in nice weather and then the inside bar area. We wanted to sit outside....but quickly changed our minds because it was too cold. We did sit in the enclosed patio. I had crab cakes and they were delicious!! A tad bit more expensive than hamburgers. But at least now I can say that we've dined at most of the seafood places. :)

After eating (when we came out to our truck) Don noticed one of the tires was a bit low. So this morning we found a place to go and they fixed it.
Now time for lunch and we're off to buy more groceries.
Have a great weekend all
from much much warmer and not so windy Rockport.

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