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, plus many volunteers and non-profit organizations along the way.
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 at http://www.ccbirding.com/
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November 03, 2004
An aerial census on 03 November, 2004 of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding areas estimated the number of whooping cranes present at 25 adults + 1 young = 26.
Recap of cranes observed: (26)
adults + young
Refuge 8 + 0
San Jose 9 + 0
Matagorda 4 + 1
Welder Flats 4 + 0
Total 25 + 1 = 26
Remarks: Flight conditions were excellent with mostly sunshine and west winds.
The number of cranes estimated present at Aransas is 26. The distribution of cranes indicated that one pair had been overlooked on last week's flight. Thus, an estimated 8 cranes had arrived since the last flight on October 27th. A cold front with strong northwest winds crossed the Texas coast before dawn on November 2nd and provided on November 2-3 the only suitable conditions for migration since last week. These favorable conditions are forecast to continue through at least November 5th. About 75 additional whooping cranes are expected to arrive in the next week since peak arrivals normally occur from November 4-10. No sandhill cranes were sighted on today's flight. Normally, hundreds of sandhills arrive before significant numbers of whooping cranes reach the Texas coast.
The first chick has arrived at Aransas and was located at Twin lakes on Matagorda Island. The family group is believed to be from nest 16-04. One low pass was made to try to see the metal band above the right foot of one of the adults, but the birds were in tall vegetation and the right foot of one of the birds was not visible.
Whooping cranes are still being reported from Saskatchewan with a family group sighted at Muskiki Lake on October 28th. Sightings continue to be received from North Dakota to Texas, with all of the states in the whooping crane migration corridor having supported President Bush in yesterday's election.
Water levels were higher than last week, with all mudflats covered with water on San Jose. The cranes were using both open water areas and vegetated high marsh, presumably feeding on blue crabs and wolfberries.
Whooping Crane Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
P.O. Box 100
Austwell, TX 77950
(361) 286-3559 Ext. 221
fax (361) 286-3722
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Patty Waits Beasley
Corpus Christi, TX