The following report is forwarded with permission from Tom Stehn, USFWS biologist and US Whooping Crane Coordinator.
Where applicable, CWS stands for Canadian Wildlife Service; USFWS 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Other information, including archived copies of these reports, can be found at the Texas Whooping Crane web site on its new server at http://tiercel.cbi.tamucc.edu/nature/falcon/twc/index.html.
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An aerial census of the Aransas NWR and surrounding areas made 08 November,
2001 estimated the number of whooping cranes present at 98 adults + 8
young = 106. Ten cranes arrived since the previous flight on November 1.
Recap of cranes observed: (106)
San Jose 28+2
Total 98 +8 = 106
Remarks: Even though a weak front brought very good migration conditions to
the Texas coast November 2-5, only 10 additional cranes arrived during the
past week. No new family groups arrived, although 2 families in Oklahoma
and 1 in Saskatchewan have recently been reported.
Notes: Present in S. Sundown Bay (50/01,S8) was one adult with one chick.
This 1+1 grouping had been reported in migration, indicating the loss of
one of the adults after mid-August. Last week, I apparently mistakenly
identified the Egg Point New pair (11/01,SK6) as having a chick. On
today's flight, the Egg Point New pair with banded female YbY-RwR was back
on their territory on St. Charles Bay. Last week, YbY-RwR must have been
standing in the S. Sundown Bay territory next to the 1+1 widowed family,
leading me to misidentify them. At the time, other cranes were nearby,
with social interactions observed.
On today's flight, the number of cranes at Welder Flats remained the same
(17+1). The pair last week on Dewberry Island apparently moved to the main
crane area at Welder Flats.
Habitat: Tides have remained notably high this fall, measured at 3.0 mlt
on November 7. One crane on San Jose was observed holding a large blue
crab. According to TPWD fisheries biologists, crabs are more numerous this
fall in the bays compared to last year. The high tides have dispersed the
crabs and enabled them to move into vegetated salt marsh areas that
frequently are dry. Three cranes were at hog rootings in a small upland
area in the marsh on San Jose. No cranes were at fresh water sources or on
Families: Families present include:
known pair in Wood Buffalo
N. Sundown Bay (34/01, K14)
Middle Pond (07/01, A6)
S. Sundown Bay (50/01,S8), 1+1
N. Cottonwood (33/01, K23)
unknown pair in Wood Buffalo
Fenceline on San Jose (unknown)
Grass Island (unknown)
Cottonwood Bayou (28/01, K3) ?? (in same area second consecutive week)
E. Welder (36/01, K8) or Unknown family at Welder (not sure which pair
- Tom Stehn
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Special thanks to Texas A&M University's Conrad Blucher Institute server and Dr. Robert Benson for sponsoring the Texas Whooping Crane web site's new home!
Patty Waits Beasley
Corpus Christi, Texas