The following report is forwarded with permission from Tom Stehn, USFWS biologist and US Whooping Crane Coordinator.
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An aerial census on 26 April, 2006 of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding areas found 7 subadults and 0 chicks = 7 total.
Recap of cranes observed on the flight: (7)*
adults + young
Refuge 6 + 0
San Jose -
Welder Flats 1 + 0
Total 7 + 0
* Visibility was good throughout the flight, with either high overcast or sun.
Remarks: Nearly all of the whooping crane flock of 214 (96.7%) has migrated right on schedule. Multiple reports have now come in of whooping cranes in Canada. Since last week's flight on April 19, an additional 6 cranes have left Aransas and headed north. The weather has been favorable for migration on a daily basis since last week's flight, except on today's flight with north winds brought by a "cool" front that reached the Texas coast the evening of April 25th.
Remaining at Aransas are 7 subadults. Cranes were located north of Dunham Bay (2), at the Pipeline by Sundown Bay (3), and at Mustang Slough (1). One crane, presumably overlooked last week, was present at Welder Flats. No cranes were located on Matagorda Island, San Jose Island or the Lamar Peninsula. No cranes were seen on today's flight at sources of fresh water, on prescribed burns, or in open bay habitat.
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