Holiday with the Cranes

HOLIDAY WITH THE CRANES Logo No YR

DECEMBER 14 – 15, 2019

Please see the complete itinerary of the weekend events below.

Tickets are on sale now so register today! 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. 14 – 15, 2019. The weekend will be 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 connects people with Galveston’s natural environment through nature experiences and outdoor adventures.

Note: Last year we sold out of space on all of the activities quickly. GINTC members get first notice of open registration and are eligible for a 10% discount.

DAILY ITINERARY OF EVENTS

Photo Credit:  Barbara Rabek

Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019             

 

  • Dawn Patrol: Breathtaking Views of Sandhill Cranes in Flight at Sunrise (6:30 – 7:30 am)  SOLD OUT! 
  • Coffee & Cranes with Special Guest Keanna Leonard, Breakfast & Crane Crawl (8 – 11:30 am)
  • East End Winter Coastal Birding: Exploring Diverse Habitats of the East End (1:30 – 4:30 pm) SOLD OUT! 
  • Winter Birding on the Isle’s West End: Birding Hotspots Out West (1:30 am – 4:30 pm)

 

Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019

 

  • Dawn Patrol: Breathtaking Views of Sandhill Cranes in Flight at Sunrise (6:30 – 7:30 am)  SOLD OUT!  
  • East End Winter Coastal Birding: Exploring Diverse Habitats of the East End (9:00 am – noon)
  • Winter Birding on the Isle’s West End: Birding Hotspots Out West (9:00 am – noon) 

 

Please email info@gintc.org to be placed on the waiting list if you are interested in an activity that is already sold out.

Event Details Below

Current GINTC Members enjoy a 10% discount on all events! If you would like to join GINTC, view our membership information at www.galvestonnaturetourism.org/become-a-member. 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.

COFFEE & CRANES

Back by Popular Demand

SPECIAL GUEST KEANNA LEONARD

The Private Lives of Sandhill Cranes

Saturday, Dec. 14

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: $30 Early Bird Special until Nov. 18

$35 After Nov. 18

10% discount to GINTC members.

 

Photo by Barbara Rabek

 

Sandhill Cranes are extraordinary birds with sophisticated vocal and body language and identifiable patterns of interacting with each other. Let Keanna Leonard, retired Education Director at Rowe Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska, take you on a journey into this little discussed, yet fascinating realm of crane life. You will also learn about crane migration routes and the importance of the Platte River to over eighty percent of the Sandhill Cranes in the world.

About Keanna

We are always excited when the Sandhill Crane migration brings them to the Island to winter with us. We are especially thrilled that this year, they are bringing Holiday with the Cranes’ favorite Keanna Leonard with them!

Keanna and her family have lived in the Big Bend region of the Platte River in central Nebraska for twenty-five years. The area is in the heart of the central flyway and home of the largest gathering of Sandhill Cranes in the world. Before retiring, Keanna established educational programs for Rowe Sanctuary and conducted two hundred nature-based educational programs for well over thirteen thousand people each year. Her love for the outdoors and passion to share nature with others led her to a B.A. in biology and into the field of conservation education. Her interest in Sandhill Cranes and crane behavior began when she helped conduct the first Crane Behavior workshop for the Festival of the Cranes in New Mexico eighteen years ago. Her passion led her to collaborate with illustrator and artist Caryl McHarney in writing a family-oriented informative book called The Private Lives of Sandhill Cranes. Keanna has served on numerous boards most notably the Association of Nature Center Directors and as a founding board member of the Nebraska Master Naturalists. Keanna has also received several awards including the 2012 Tamar Chotzen Audubon Educator of the Year Award, a national recognition for exemplary commitment, professionalism and accomplishment in conservation education, and was honored in 2016 as Chadron State College Distinguished Alumnus.

The program includes coffee and a light breakfast. Weather permitting, 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 local birding volunteers using spotting scopes to assist and answer questions.

 

DAWN PATROL

We are offering Dawn Patrol on both Saturday and Sunday!

Saturday, Dec. 14

Sunday, Dec. 15

6:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m.

Private Nature Preserve on Galveston Island’s West End 

Tickets $40, 10% discount to GINTC members.

It’s no wonder that our two Dawn Patrol events fill up so quickly – This early morning nature adventure is truly a magical and unforgettable experience. With special access to this private preserve, Dr. Alice Anne O’Donell will lead our small group to a viewing tower that overlooks the marsh rookery, where in the past we have seen 100-200 Sandhill Cranes wake up and take flight. You’ll also have the opportunity to see Roseate Spoonbill, ibis, herons, ducks, grebes, rails, sparrows, cormorants, hawks, Osprey, and sandpipers along with the majestic 3 ½ to 4 foot tall Sandhill Cranes!

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to watch the real ‘early birds’ of Galveston Island as they awake, stretch, dance, stroll, vocalize and take flight in groups generally headed southeast towards the airport or southwest to large open pastures.

Bring binoculars if you have them. Spotting scopes will be provided. Photographers are welcome but space is limited on the nature observation platform. Dress appropriately and wear sturdy, waterproof shoes as the trail can be muddy and uneven in places. Driving directions will be emailed prior to the event.

Photo Credit: Barbara Rabek

EAST END WINTER
COASTAL BIRDING

Saturday, Dec. 14, 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 15, 9:00 a.m. – noon

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

Tickets: $35 Early Bird Special until Nov. 18, $40 after Nov. 18

10% discount to GINTC members

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

Bring binoculars if you have them.

This field trip is designed for folks who want to see bird species other than Sandhill Cranes. See the target list below. 

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 and easy walks as you tour the Seawall’s East End marshes, lagoons, beach, ship channel and salt flats. Transportation by small bus is provided for this field trip.

Popular field trip leaders Dr. Alice Anne O’Donell on Saturday and Kristen Vale on Sunday 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, there is an abundance of 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.  Note: Sandhill Cranes are not found in this coastal beach habitat. They can be seen on the Winter Birding on the Isle’s West End trip.

 

Photo Credit:  Joseph Smith

WINTER BIRDING
ON THE ISLE’S
WEST END

Saturday, Dec. 14, 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 15, 9:00 a.m. – noon

Tickets: $35 Early Bird Special until Nov. 18, $40 after Nov. 18

10% discount to GINTC members

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

Bring binoculars if you have them.

Photo: Billy Blues

 

Local birders love birding Galveston during the winter months! Traveling by bus, local field trip leaders Greg Whittaker on Saturday and Dr. Alice Anne O’Donell on Sunday will show you all of the 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 some of the same birds seen on the East End trip, we’ll also see Sandhill Crane, a greater number of species of ducks and hawks, White-tailed Kite; and we’ll get closer looks at sandpipers, gulls, terns and American Oystercatcher. The areas we visit also provide habitat for Piping, Snowy and Black-bellied Plovers, American Avocet, Long-billed Curlew and Marbled Godwit. Transportation by small bus is provided for this field trip.

 

The Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council would like to thank our partners and sponsors

for their generous support of Holiday with the Cranes.