Greetings all,

The following report is forwarded with permission from Tom Stehn, USFWS biologist and National Whooping Crane Coordinator.

CWS stands for Canadian Wildlife Service; USFSW is US Fish and Wildlife Service. Crane monitoring involves cooperative efforts and support by both countries.

Anyone wanting to contact Tom about the report or the whooping crane projects can reach him via email at: tom_stehn@fws.gov. Other information, including archived copies of these reports, can be found at the Texas Whooping Crane home pages at http://www.electrotex.com/aoc/. (Please link to the Texas Whooping Crane pages through the AOC main home page, as the URLs for the special site pages may change over time as updates and reviews occur.)

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March 25, 1999

TO: Division of Endangered Species, USFWS, Albuquerque, NM

FROM: Whooping Crane Coordinator, Aransas NWR, Austwell, Texas

SUBJECT:  Whooping Crane Census at Aransas

An aerial census of the Aransas NWR and surrounding areas made 3/25/99
revealed the presence of 147 adults and 17 young = 164 whooping
cranes.  The flight was made in charter aircraft with Tom Stehn as
observer and Tom Taylor, pilot.  Peak population this winter equalled
165+18=183.


Recap of cranes observed: (164)

  Refuge   Lamar   San Jose   Matagorda  Welder  Other      Total
   47+3     2+1      34+3       51+6      13+4          147+17=164   

Remarks:   Visibility was good throughout the day.  Between 15-18
whoopers are estimated to have started the migration, including 6
adult pairs and one family group.  The migrants are nesting pairs 1,
6, 8, 17, 31, 35, and 43 (1998 nest numbers).  Fifty-nine of the 62
wintering subadults were located, indicating possibly 3 subadults are
in migration.

Numbers and distribution of cranes on today's flight were somewhat
different from the last flight.  The 57 cranes present on Matagorda
ties the previous high set earlier this winter, with extra subadults
accounting for the increased number.  Only 17 whoopers were present at
Welder, 4 subadults less than most flights this winter.  Crane numbers
on San Jose remained the same (37).

All of the documented migrating pairs have departed from the refuge. 
The Lobstick pair started the migration approximately March 21.  The
Pipeline Flats and Middle Pond pairs, and the Middle Sundown Bay
family, have all departed from adjacent territories at Aransas.  This
fits the pattern that departures are never randomly spread across the
wintering grounds, but occur in a clumped pattern.  This is because a
departing pair will sometimes influence their neighbors to migrate. 
The Willow Creek and Egg Point New pairs have also departed from the
refuge.  No adult pairs or families have migrated from San Jose,
Matagorda, or Welder Flats.

Interesting locations included the following;

The Big Tree family was far from their territory in saltmarsh at
Newcomb Bend south of Holiday Beach.  Last flight, they also were
located at Newcomb Point.  Adult female RwR-YbY was once again closely
associated with two other birds.  Two subadult trios and one family
group were located on the refuge's Bludworth Island.

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This report is archived on the Texas Whooping Cranes home page at:

        http://www.electrotex.com/aoc/

Good birding,
Patty Beasley
Corpus Christi, Texas