Holiday with the Cranes

For a unique holiday experience, spend a wonderful, winter weekend in Galveston celebrating the return of the island’s wintering Sandhill Cranes at Holiday with the Cranes, Dec. 9 – 10, 2017. The weekend is chock-full of indoor and outdoor nature activities combined with the ambience of historic Galveston Island!

Holiday with the Cranes is presented by the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council, a nonprofit volunteer organization that helps connect people with nature experiences and outdoor adventures, and promotes the value of natural habitats and resources in the Galveston Island area.

Event details follow the daily itinerary.

Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017

  • Dawn Patrol: Breathtaking Views of Sandhill Cranes in Flight at Sunrise (6:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m.) SOLD OUT!
  • Coffee & Cranes with Jim Stevenson: Cranes – Worldwide to Galveston Island, Breakfast and Crane Crawl (8 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.) SOLD OUT!
  • East End Winter Coastal Birding: Exploring Diverse Habitats of the East End (1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.) SOLD OUT!

 

Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017

  • Dawn Patrol: Breathtaking Views of Sandhill Cranes in Flight at Sunrise (6:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m.)  SOLD OUT!
  • Winter Birding on the Isle’s West End: Birding Hotspots Out West (9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.) SOLD OUT!

 

 

Photo Credit:  Barbara Rabek

Current GINTC Members may enter MEM10 to enjoy a 10% discount on all events! If you would like to join GINTC, view our membership information at www.galvestonnaturetourism.org. Registrants should be at least 10 yrs old, and those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Registration is required of all attendees regardless of age.

Event Details Below

Coffee & Cranes with Jim Stevenson

Cranes: Worldwide to Galveston Island

Saturday, Dec. 9

8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Moody Gardens Golf Course Banquet Facility, 1700 Sydnor, Galveston Island

Galveston Bay Area Texas Master Naturalist Advanced Training Credit: 2 Hours

Tickets: $35, 10% discount to GINTC members.

SOLD OUT!

Cranes are a group of very large, semi-terrestrial birds with no close relatives. One or two species may be found in each of the habitable continents, with the most found in the Northeastern Hemisphere. We are going to look at the cranes found around the World, and briefly discuss their range, ecology and status. Then we will take a closer look at North America’s cranes, their similar species, range and ecology. We will even have a chance to handle the skulls of cranes and other similar waterbirds, seeing how each bill fits the needs of the species’ ecology. You should come away with a good idea of what makes a crane a crane.

Coffee and a light breakfast will be served.

After the program if weather permits, participants will head out on Holiday with the Crane’s signature Crane Crawl. This self-driving tour to nearby crane hotspots will be a real-time opportunity to see Sandhills as they forage and play. You will be given a map and directions. Viewing areas will be outfitted with spotting scopes and volunteers will be on hand to assist and answer questions.

 

Photo Credit: Barbara Rabek

Dawn Patrol

OFFERED TWICE THIS YEAR!

Saturday, Dec. 9   SOLD OUT!

Sunday, Dec. 10 SOLD OUT! 

6:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m.

Private Nature Preserve on Galveston Island’s West End 

Tickets: $30, 10% discount to GINTC members.

See unforgettable and breathtaking views of 100-200 Sandhill Cranes taking flight from their protected marsh roost. Watch them as they awake, stretch, dance, stroll, vocalize and take flight in groups as small as three and as large as 20-30. They generally fly southeast toward the airport or southwest to large open pastures. They will be joined by flights of hundreds of local marsh birds. Roseate Spoonbills, ibis, herons, ducks, grebes, rails, sparrows, cormorants, hawks, osprey, and sandpipers along with the Sandhill Cranes will demonstrate the diversity and beauty of winter marsh birds.

With special access to this private preserve, Dr. Alice Anne O’Donell will lead the group to within viewing distance of the Sandhill Cranes’ roosting site. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to watch the real “early birds” of Galveston Island take flight as the sun begins to rise.

Bring binoculars if you have them. Spotting scopes will be provided. Photographers are welcome. Driving directions will be emailed prior to the event.

Photo Credit: Joseph Smith

East End Winter Coastal Birding

Saturday, Dec. 9

1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Seawall’s East End Marshes, Lagoons, Ship Channel, Beach & Salt Flats

Tickets: $40, 10% discount to GINTC members. SOLD OUT! 

Driving directions to the meeting site will be emailed prior to the event.

Bring binoculars if you have them. Spotting scopes will be provided as needed.

Explore the diverse habitats of the East End of Galveston Island and see the birds that make Galveston their home in the winter months. Sit back and enjoy the ride by van and easy walks as you tour the Seawall’s East End marshes, lagoons, beach, ship channel and salt flats.

Popular field trip leader Dr. Alice Anne O’Donell and other local birding super stars will lead participants on this adventure designed for birders of all skill levels.

Spanning almost 700 acres of diverse habitat, the East End Lagoon Nature Park & Preserve includes both tidal and nontidal wetlands, beach dunes, a freshwater pond, black mangroves, upland prairie, and an extensive marine coastline.

During the winter these areas abound with Snowy, Piping and Black-bellied plovers, the American Oystercatcher, American Avocet, Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Caspian Tern, Belted Kingfisher, Reddish Egret, Roseate Spoonbill, Osprey, Northern Harrier and more. Ducks include the Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Mottled Duck, Northern Shoveler and Red-breasted Merganser. Savannah and Lincoln’s sparrows are often sighted, too.

Photo Credit:  Joseph Smith

Winter Birding on the Isle's West End

Sunday, Dec. 10

9:00 a.m. – noon

Tickets:  $40, 10% discount to GINTC members.  SOLD OUT! 

Driving directions to the meeting site will be emailed prior to the event.

Bring binoculars if you have them. Spotting scopes will be provided as needed.

Photo Credit: Billy Blues

 

Traveling by van, we will bird favorite West End hotspots including freshwater ponds, coastal marshes, bay waters and the beach. Our focus will be from Moody Gardens to 8 Mile Road. Although we’ll see many of the same birds seen on the East End trip, we’ll also see Sandhill Cranes, a greater number of species of ducks and hawks, White-tailed Kites, and get closer looks at sandpipers, gulls, terns and American Oystercatchers. The areas we will visit provide habitat for six species of terns; 3-4 species of gulls; Piping, Snowy and Black-bellied Plovers, American Avocets, godwits, and curlews.

 

Popular field trip leader Dr. Alice Anne O’Donell and other local birding super stars will lead participants on this adventure designed for birders of all skill levels.

The Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council would like to thank our partners and sponsors for their generous support of Holiday with the Cranes. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please click here for sponsorship opportunities.