(Port Aransas, TX) Registration is open for the annual Whooping Crane Festival scheduled for February 19th – 22nd. As the festival has grown over the years, so has the variety of nature related activities and experiences, and this year is no exception. Sponsored by Cheniere, Eagle Optics, HEB, Port Corpus Christi and Swarovski Opitx and many local partners, this one of a kind festival will get you up close and personal to the wonderful nature that surrounds us in Port Aransas.
Dr. George Archibald, renowned world crane expert from the International Crane Foundation is returning as is professionally recognized nature photographer Larry Ditto. A variety of other specialized and noteworthy presenters will speak on topics ranging from cranes that are being researched in Mongolia, the Texas Whooper Watch Program, and Operation Migration that was established over ten years ago to introduce a flock of cranes to Florida via a guided ultralight airplane. These are very interesting topics you do not want to miss! Rounding out the presenters will include talks on conservation, marshbirds in Louisiana, nesting grounds of the Whooping Cranes in Canada as well as their wintering grounds on the Texas Coast.
Back by popular demand this year is renowned professional photographer Larry Ditto. If nature photography is on your life list, be sure to register for Larry Ditto’s trip aboard the Mustang II to capture beauty on the water. You’ll have the opportunity to see and photograph dolphins, birds, beautiful landscapes and sunset over the bay. Larry will help with techniques and composition as the encounter is happening. Attendance prior at one of Larry’s photography workshops is recommended, however all levels of expertise are welcomed.
The four-day festival attracts hundreds of birding enthusiasts each year and features birding experts, boating excursions, as well as guided bird and nature bus tours. Exhibits, interactive workshops and seminars, photography workshops and a free nature-related “Bird’s Nest” trade show are also included.
Early registration is open online at www.whoopingcranefestival.org. Some trips are filling up fast due to the popularity of the festival. Interested parties are encouraged to take advantage of early registration online.
The Coastal Bend of Texas, where the lower Gulf Coast bends into a long crescent, is one the birdiest places in Texas and boasts more than 150 nature and birding sites. Port Aransas boasts it’s designation of the ‘America’s Birdiest Small Coastal City’, with five sites on the Great Texas Birding Trail. Located at the convergence of the migration superhighways, the Mississippi and Central flyways, the area including Port Aransas and Mustang Island are the perfect place to view hundreds of different bird species as they stop and refuel before heading north or south. Many stay and winter in Port Aransas. From the natural wetlands, inlets and miles of beaches and dunes, to the rock jetties, piers and boats, the area offers dozens of perfect vantage points to view all the birds that call Port Aransas and Mustang Island “The Nest of Texas.”