I was interested in noting as I updated my last whooping crane report from the spring migration that it was dated May 11th, exactly five months from today's report. It doesn't take much to amuse me, what can I say? <grin!>
You may remember the little Lobstick chick from last winter? It was injured or attacked by something (snake? coyote?) and we thought it might be lost, but it rallied like the little champ it is and seems to have made a first-rate recovery over the summer. It was not able to recover in time to make the spring migration back to nesting grounds with mom and dad and clan, but it was far enough along in its recovery that it pieced out a nice little summer stay for itself at the refuge. A number of us have been eagerly following its recovery over the summer, and Tom should have another report for us after his first flight of the fall season next week. With that being said, here's a prelim report from Tom about recent visual sightings at the refuge:
The following report is forwarded with permission from Tom Stehn, USFWS biologist and US Whooping Crane Coordinator.
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The Lobstick subadult has done fine all summer at Aransas. I haven't had any recent updates in the last couple weeks, but assume everything is fine.
Our first migrant whooping crane may have arrived at Aransas on October 9th. A single whooping crane was reported by visitors in flight over the refuge's Heron Flats the morning of the 9th, and a single whooping crane was reported by visitors from the refuge observation tower at Mustang Lake later that afternoon and again on October 10th. Although the reports remain unconfirmed, they seem very likely and are correlated with a cold front and strong north winds that reached the Texas coast on October 7. A few sandhill cranes have also been sighted in the local area and are believed to have arrived about this same time. My first census flight is scheduled for Oct. 19.
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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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/
Patty Waits Beasley
Corpus Christi, TX