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Greetings all,

The following report is forwarded with permission from Tom Stehn, USFWS biologist and US Whooping Crane Coordinator.

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The eighth aerial census of the 2010-11 whooping crane season was conducted April 13, 2011 in a Cessna 210 piloted by Gary Ritchey of Air Transit Solutions, Castroville, Texas with USFWS observers Brad Strobel, Matt Butler, and Bill Ostrand.  Search conditions were good, and all portions of the crane range were covered in the 5.9-hour flight. 

Sighted on the flight were 7 adults and 3 juveniles = 10 total whooping cranes.   

 

Adults + Young

San Jose

   2 + 1 = 3

Refuge

   3 + 0 = 3

Lamar

       none        

Matagorda

   2 + 2 = 4

Welder Flats

       None

Total

  7 + 3 = 10

With only 10 whooping cranes remaining at Aransas and an estimated 269 in migration (flock size 279),

96.4% of the flock has left Aransas.  Present at Aransas were two family groups (including a twin family) and 3 presumed subadults.  This will be the last flight of the spring unless one additional flight is made in May to see if the 10 have departed.  My thanks go to Brad Strobel who has capably taken over the census flights as I wind down towards retirement sometime later this year.

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Tom Stehn, Whooping Crane Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Aransas NWR
P.O. Box 100
Austwell, TX 77950
(361) 286-3559 Ext. 221
fax (361) 286-3722
E:mail:  tom_stehn@fws.gov

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.