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Mark Casebeer
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Mark Casebeer PHOTOGRAPHY

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Aransas Wildlife Refuge

Established in 1937 for migratory waterfowl and other wildlife, Aransas National Wildlife Refuge encompasses more than 115,000 acres of diverse habitat along the Texas Gulf Coast.

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Sunrise
Fujifilm X-T3 Fuji 150-600mm F5.6 /500sec 150mm ISO 160

I picked up Dave, and as we drove to the Refuge, the sun started to rise above the horizon. We rounded this curve and saw one palm tree in this vast field. We both laughed out loud as Dave has been talking about a photo in his mind about getting a palm tree silhouette at the beach. Well, it's not the beach, but I think it worked out well.

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Strutting Tom Turkey
Fujifilm X-T3 Fuji 150-600mm F6.3 600mm /1000sec ISO 8000

As we pulled into the Refuge, a group of turkeys greeted us along the front of the entrance. This large Tom was strutting its stuff right in front of us.

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Heron Flats Trail
Fujifilm X-T3 Fuji 150-600mm 150mm F6.3 /2000sec ISO 8000

Our second stop was at Heron Flats. This 1.4-mile walking trail is popular with visitors. The path is about twenty feet wide with water on both sides.

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Common Gallinule
Fujifilm X-T3 Fuji 150-600mm F6.3 600mm /2000sec ISO 8000

As we walked to the trail, a small pond was on the right, this Gallinule was feeding. I watched for a few minutes, and Dave walked up to me; suddenly, we heard this deep bellowing sound. We both looked at each other like, what the heck was that. The sound kept getting louder, and then I spotted where it was coming from; a giant Alligator was hidden in the brush. It raised its head and continued to bellow.

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American Alligator bellowing. Fujifilm X-T3 Fuji 150-600mm F6.3 600mm /2000sec ISO 8000

Click on the link below to hear how it sounded. (Not our alligator)

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American Alligator
Fujifilm X-T3 Fuji 150-600mm F6.3 600mm /2000sec ISO 1600

As we entered the trail, there were alligators everywhere. Some were on the bank, sunning themselves in the warm morning sun. I'm not sure how many were there, but you could see where they had crossed over to the wetland area as you walked along the trail.

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Baby American Alligator
Fujifilm X-T3 Fuji 150-600mm F6.3 600mm /1000sec ISO 1250

On the bank, we spotted this bullfrog sitting looking right at us. Then as we suspected, we found these baby alligators on the bank. We found several places like this.

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Yellow-crowed Night-heron
Fujifilm X-T3 Fuji 150-600mm F6.3 600mm /2000sec ISO 640

Deep in the brush, we spotted this Yellow-crowned Night-heron. It's the first one I've ever photographed. We watched it for a while and noticed that it started to stare motionless into the water. It stayed like this for what seemed several minutes.

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Yellow-crowed Night-heron
Fujifilm X-T3 Fuji 150-600mm F6.3 600mm /1000sec ISO 2500

Suddenly, it dove into the water and came up with this Blue Crab. It took a while to down the crab; we were lucky to witness this.

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Fujifilm X-T3 Fuji 150-600mm 150mm F6.3 /2000sec ISO 8000

On the other side of the walkway was a large wetland area that went to the bay. It was beautiful, and there was a lot of bird activity.

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Great Blue Heron Fujifilm X-T3 Fuji 150-600mm F6.3 600mm /2000sec ISO 500

This large Blue Heron seemed content sitting on the end of this point. It was still early morning; we faced the sun, making it harder to photograph.

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White Ibis
Fujifilm X-T3 Fuji 150-600mm F6.3 600mm /2000sec ISO 1250

There were a few White Ibis feeding, I watched for several minutes, and finally, one took off. We hoped that they would come closer, but they moved further out towards the water.

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Roseate Spoonbills
Fujifilm X-T3 Fuji 150-600mm F6.3 600mm /21250sec ISO 2000

These Roseate Spoonbills were also in the same area. They also flew further out towards the water. We drove to several other places and ended up at this large platform overlooking the bay. We had hoped to see some Whooping Cranes, but we had no luck. We did see a few at the Big Tree on our way home.

Below is a few other photographs from our day at the Refuge and on our way back the our RV Park.

Photography should be fun! It's not about the phone or camera brand you're using. Remember, your best photographs result from one thing, making an effort to get out and shoot.

Comments are always welcomed.

Mark

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