Exquisite and Graceful

This is our fourth winter RVing along the Texas Gulf Coast, and it has not disappointed. The weather has been enjoyable this year with no mention of a polar vortex, thank goodness. With that said, I’m taking full advantage of getting out of the RV everyday to commune with my feathered friends.Shore birds

I don’t consider myself a birder, but merely, someone who admires birds, especially shore birds.  My fascination with these birds was piqued during that very first visit to the Gulf of Mexico.  I’ve always enjoyed wildlife photography, but bird photography was a new game.  It challenged me then, and continues to challenge me now.

Family of whooping cranes - mom, dad, juvenile

Family of whooping cranes – mom, dad, juvenile

I always look forward to our return trips to Texas to observe and photograph the exquisite and graceful whooping crane, an endangered species who’s numbers were in the teens back in the 1940’s and are now in the 500+ range.  Habitat and poaching still threaten these magnificent birds, but efforts are being made by various organizations to help these cranes.

Whooping Cranes - endangered

A family of endangered whooping Cranes

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this beautiful pink beauty … the roseate spoonbill. Her deep pink is truly stunning. Actually, it’s the male of the species that sports the deepest of the hue.  This is one dude who knows how to wear pink well!roseata spoonbil

However, I find the egret embodies a certain grace and elegance.  Her snowy white plumage, long black legs, and bright yellow feet have me comparing her to a princess. He or she?  In the case of the egret, both sexes are bright white and thus difficult to decipher.egret

Tri-colored HeronTri-colored Herons feel equally as regal and exude a unique level of gracefulness. Their grayish blue coloring with patches of deep purple is truly stunning.

Ah, then there are the pelicans … oh those pelicans. What can I say about these whimsical creatures?

When in-flight they exhibit a grace comparable to the whooping crane, but when they plunge into the water fishing for dinner, well let’s just say, the sight is anything but graceful and is downright comical.

I’m still trying to capture a video of a pelican diving for fish, but am always in the midst of laughing and fail to point the camera in the right direction.  I’ll keep working on that!

pelican yoga!

pelican yoga!

Overall, I find pelicans to be rather entertaining and full of character and when they aren’t flying, they exhibit absolutely no grace what so ever.pelicans

I’ve got another month hanging along the Texas Gulf Coast with my feathered friends.  I hope to capture more photographs of these amazing shore birds, and in the process, work on getting in my exercise steps 😎

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91 thoughts on “Exquisite and Graceful

      • The RV thing is interesting. My wife and I have talked about getting an RV when we retire and just travel around the country. The price of gas always scares me with that idea, but it would be nice to go where you want and stay as long as you want.

        • There are lots of families living this RV lifestyle now. As long as they have internet connection, they continue to work remotely. So it’s not just for the retired. We keep our travels pretty much to the west with the exception of the occasional return to IL to visit my dad. With that said, we’re able to stay within our gas budget. Five years ago (when we did this part-time), gas prices were brutal and we had to watch our mileage.

            • Oh gosh … western slope in Colorado, southern Utah, New Mexico has a bunch of hidden gems, all over Arizona, western Wyoming – don’t think I could pick a fave. It depends on what we want to do; photography for me, fishing for the hubby, and we both love hiking, wildlife and stunning scenery.

  1. Ingrid there is no doubt these birds are exquisite but I will say your capturing of them in flight shows us the gracefulness. So delighted to see those pink spoonbills again which I find absolutely fascinating. I cracked up at your comment about how the male can wear pink well. Too funny.

  2. Hi Ingrid,
    I really enjoy your posts, but have a question for you. Where have you stayed in the Mustang Island area and what has the weather been like. We are considering wintering in Texas next year and this will help with our research.

    Thanks,
    Bob

    • The birds around here are spectacular… way too many for me to keep track of. But I do have some favorites and thus have tried to learn their identity. The coloring on the tri-colored heron is stunning.

    • Glad I could provide a little joy with my photos. I never tire of our visits to this part of Texas and the weather sure has been nice to me this year 😊

  3. Your photos really do bring out bird personalities. Loved the yoga shot, with the other small bird also engaging in a bit of yoga, almost unseen.

    Thought of you yesterday when John mentioned that he read that the bathrooms at Mustang Island are going to be renovated next year. As shabby as they are, I don’t think they can hold a candle to the ones at Balmorhea State Park, where we’re currently camping. (shudder). I’ll send you a photo.

    • I love the personalities of all these shore birds. Guess I’m easily entertained. We’ve stayed at Balmorhea SP a couple of times but never used the restrooms … sounds like I should be glad 😆

  4. We are beginning our full- time adventure “again.” We full-times several years ago. We won’t be moving as often as before due to some medical issues but I want to get back into photography. Currently looking for a camera. Your pictures are simply amazing!!
    I’m enjoying your website very much!!

    • Thank you and yes health issues can have us rearranging how we do things. I do have a page on the cameras I use and a few others I’ve experimented with. Happy shooting and hope you’re rolling soon!

    • Birding can be addictive especially when you have so many beauties to observe. I finally have some good internet connection, so I’ll have to get caught up on your site.

  5. Your photography is so wonderful Ingrid. Are you still using the FZ200 or have you moved on to something bigger and better? Enjoy your time on the Texas Gulf Coast.

    • Awe thank you LuAnn. I am still using the FZ200 exclusively … actually on my second one. Daughter is using the first one, even though I abused it. She wanted to move up from the iPhone and she’s enjoying the camera. I finally started using LR for processing and think that has improved the photos somewhat. I still have lots to learn on the editing end and shot Raw the first time last week. I didn’t notice much difference in editing range though. So back to jpeg for now.

      • I think I need to send my FZ200 in for some tweeting. I am still having issues with focus and a few other things. As for Raw, I was shooting in Raw all the time but I don’t see much difference in editing either, so now I am doing more in jpeg as well.

        • Hmm, wonder if it’s just the characteristic of the FZ200. I had another frustrating time with the camera this morning… grrr! Hard to say if it’s user error or camera error. I’m blaming the camera, cause it couldn’t possibly be me 😆

          • Haha. I have called Panasonic before for this issue and they had me do a diagnostics test while they had me on the phone. It seemed to help for awhile but I feel it is a problem again. I must admit that carrying this while hiking and banging it around a bit, along with a fall where I landed on it, I probably have been a little hard on the camera. I am reluctant to send it in to Panasonic as I have spoken to two people who have sent in their cameras and the customer service in both cases was horrendous. 😦

  6. As always — stunning bird photos, Ingrid! When we started full-timing in 2009 we had the TX coast on our list, but still haven’t gotten there yet. Seems so rainy or hot & humid… can’t seem to get in the mood to leave the desert SW to head out that way. So I’m very glad you’re sharing your experience so we can enjoy it from here 🙂

    • Thank you Ellen. I totally understand …. the other day it was soooo humid, the rig was dripping 🙄 I always look forward to returning to the desert to dry out. I’m a desert dweller at heart and these coastal trips do a great job at reminding me!

    • It’s been fun trying to photograph all the birds and I’m enjoying my time here, BUT … miss you AND the desert. I’m already looking forward to a blooming visit to the Botanical Garden and you’re coming with me 😆

  7. You always capture the birds so beautifully in your photos. You managed to include all my favorites! Love the roseate spoonbill! And I’m glad the whoopers are still coming around!

    • Thanks Beth. Another favorite of mine are the White Ibis, but even though I spotted a couple, the grass was too long to capture a nice shot… my project for this week. The whooping cranes haven’t been as cooperative this year and I’m not seeing the numbers. Now that Texas is no longer in a drought condition, there’s plenty of water and blue crab to be found away from public view … sad for us, but good for them.

      • Ingrid, I see flocks of Ibis in the marsh here during the winter. They are always too far away to get a good photo and they will all take off if they sense me near them. But I love to see them around.

  8. While I am not big bird fan, I do love the shore birds. I guess it is their size that makes them fascinating. The Roseate Spoonbill remains my favorite:) You photo of the egret is spectacular! What a perfect moment for the photo:) The pelicans can entertain one for hours.

    • I know, those pelicans are hilarious. The pink on the spoonbill is such an eye catcher and always attracts my attention. As much as I’m enjoying my time here, I’m starting to long for the dry desert terrain. I do believe I’ve become a desert dweller at heart!

  9. I love sering all your awesome bird photos this time of year! One of these days, we will hopefully experience them in person.

    • You absolutely need to visit the area. I’m particularly fond of Mustang Island and the miles of beach. What a mild winter we’re having this year. Quite a change from years past!

    • We’re in the Rockport area. All the photos were captured somewhere along the coast between Lamar and Port Aransas. I’m always out scouting and exploring 😀

  10. Beautiful captures, Ingrid! Awwww…..the Whooping Cranes…..WOW! I hope you said hi to them for me! Fantastic flight capture of the WC family, great job! And love that first shot of the Egret and Roseate Spoonbill in the water. Looks like they are buddies!! 😉

    • The birding has been a bit more challenging this year. I think Texas has received plenty of moisture and thus the birds have lots of water to choose from. During the drought, finding birds was easier …. not that I’m hoping for drought conditions 😄 My scouting shall continue!

  11. I can tell you are having a great time with your feathered friends. I so wished Im right next to you shooting this beautiful birds especially the Pinkies. Missed them all.

    • My best birding year was the year you visited. Perhaps you were my good luck charm 😆 I’m having a great time capturing the beautiful birds but my heart is longing for the desert.

    • Believe, I sure don’t remember their names and have to do a lot of Googling. In the past, I’ve been corrected many a time because I posted the wrong name 😏

    • Thanks Meghan. Although we’re staying in Lamar, I try to visit Mustang Island once a week and hope to get to the Padre Island National Seashore next week. I believe you were in the area about a month before us. Enjoy that Cajun food 😎

  12. Your bird photos are delightful! We think the birding on the Gulf Coast of Texas is among the best we’ve ever experienced. It’s definitely on our list for a return visit! Lucky you, another whole month there! And you already have so many wonderful photos. :-))

    • Interesting that you find the birding in this area to be some of the best. I’ve thought about traveling further east (two years ago we went as far as Galveston) but Al’s not excited about that venture. If I’m already seeing a wonderful showing of shore birds here, then the compromise will be easy 😉 Hope you two will be back on track soon and life will return to ‘normal’.

  13. Thanks for sharing those amazing birds…especially the Roseate Spoonbills. They have such a beautiful plumage, but a face only a mother could love! Love that Fulton/Rockport area…!!

    • Couldn’t agree more …. it’s like their face doesn’t go with that body. What a unique bird! This is a nice community but the humidity is starting to get to this desert dweller 😆

  14. Nice shots of the Whooping Cranes Ingrid! You have added what us Birders call a “lifetime” species to your list of sighted/photographed birds! Many of us have never had the chance to see such a rare and endangered bird and many never will. Not bad for someone who is merely “an admirer of birds”! Congratulations!

    • Thank you. I do feel privileged to spot these birds daily and have even learned a few of their habits. This bird photography thing has turned into a fun venture, but challenging.

  15. Oh how we had hoped to be there this winter! But alas, still glued to the east coast. So I’ll just enjoy your fabulous photos and imagine I’m there, too!
    Just amazing!

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