An aerial census March 21 at Aransas found 172 whoopers at Aransas.
whooper is on the Platte River in Nebraska. One whooper was
for on the census flight.
My flight report follows:
An aerial census of the Aransas NWR and surrounding areas made 21
2002 estimated the number of whooping cranes present at 159 adults +
chicks = 173. One additional whooping crane is on the Platte River
Nebraska (# 174). One adult and one chick have died from the winter's
population of 176.
Recap of cranes observed: (172a)
Refuge Lamar San Jose
Matagorda Welder Flats Indianola
158 + 14 = 172
a The one crane not located could be dead, in migration, or
overlooked on the flight.
b Record all-time high of 61 on Matagorda Island, exceeding the 59
present Feb. 21. Subadult cranes
moved over from the
refuge to Matagorda to increase the total.
Remarks: Census conditions were excellent throughout the day with
skies and moderate winds. All areas were covered except the upper end
St. Charles Bay. The cranes were definitely moving more, making it
difficult to keep track of the cranes.
It is clear that the migration has not started yet except for the
whooping crane confirmed March 20 on the Platte River in Nebraska.
families and pairs were located along with an estimated 30 subadults.
subadult duo on San Jose with one crane with an injured left wing was
located not too far from where last seen two weeks ago. A family
Matagorda last week seen as 1+1 was back with typical spacing as
Unusual Locations: The two "Indianola" cranes were located on
flight in salt marsh on the Alcoa property next to the Myrtle Foster
Whitmire Unit of the Aransas NWR west of the town of Indianola. The
is currently managing this property that is slated to become part of
refuge. The North Lamar pair had flown west and was at the mouth of
Creek. The banded North Dunham Point pair was located on San Jose
but returned to their refuge territory in the afternoon. The Mustang
pair was still staying at the North Pump Canal. The North Pump Canal
(RwR-YbY) was still on San Jose Island.
Habitat: Tides have risen with oyster reefs in the bays
covered and most of the mud flats on San Jose covered with water.
use has diminished in open bays (3)and large lakes (6). Most cranes
in vegetated marsh. Both blue crabs and fiddler crabs are believed to
available and being preyed upon, with the whoopers in the higher dry
presumably seeking fiddler crabs made active with the warmer
A crab count March 19 indicated some crabs still in the marshes for
cranes. On today's flight, no cranes were on prescribed burns.
cranes were observed flying to freshwater to drink. Salinities
remained around 15 to 16 ppt in the bays and marshes.