An aerial census of the Aransas NWR and surrounding areas made
10/29/98 revealed the presence of 7 adult and 0 young = 7 whooping
cranes. The flight was made in charter aircraft with Tom Stehn as
Recap of cranes observed: (7)
Refuge Lamar San Jose Matagorda Welder Other Total
5 2 7
Remarks: The first whooping cranes (2) were sighted October 28 by USFWS
Biologist Jim Bredy. This first arrival was nearly 2 weeks later than
The October 28th first sighting date is the third latest since records
began in the 1950's, and the latest in the last 35 years. In the fall of
1951, with only 31 total birds in the flock, the first cranes were
documented present November 3. No aerial counts were done in October that
fall, but no cranes were seen on a ground count on October 27. The first
arrival in 1963 occurred October 29.
On today's flight. 7 were located, believed to be one adult pair
(nest 11/98) and 5 subadults. The whoopers may have arrived
earlier in the week when northeast winds (Oct. 22-25) were present.
Tides, although still high, were much lower than the flooded
conditions of last week.