Whooping cranes are elusive and endangered. There are only about 600 in the wild, according to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It just so happens that a number of them winter near Rockport, Texas.
Captain Kevin Sims with Aransas Bay Birding Charters regularly takes photographers very close to the whoopers. Dad boarded the Jack Flash with high hopes early one cold, overcast morning in February.
Captain Kevin did his best, hitting all of the usual spots. But the wily birds were particularly skittish that morning and would fly away before the boat got close enough for Dad to take a photo. Several hours passed with many “near misses” and a tangle with a sandbar. Dad was getting discouraged.
Just when he was ready to give up, Captain Kevin spotted a pair of whoppers near the Intracoastal Waterway eating blue crabs in marshes. The birds spooked, but all was not lost as Dad captured this bird in take off mode.