Tom Stehn's Report: Going, Going. . .Amost Gone
April 9, 2010
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As you read Tom's report this week . . .
  1. How many cranes are left on Aransas NWR wintering grounds?
  2. Why aren't the subadults in a hurry to migrate?
  3. What duty will Tom do next week as part of his job as Whooping Crane Coordinator for the USFWS?
 Photo Sue Kersey
With all that dancing, we hope "Al and Diane" will bring new chicks to Aransas again next fall!

Dear Journey North,

It's been pretty quiet at Aransas after half the flock had migrated by April 2, earlier than in most years. I can't fly to count the rest until the airplane is repaired. I'm scheduled to resume flights April 19th. In the meantime, a group of four was still being observed as of April 3 in the marsh in front of Crane House, a bed and breakfast in crane territory. These would be subadults that don't have the urgency to leave since they are not yet old enough (older than age 3) to breed.
Captain Tommy Moore on the Skimmer tour boat counted a total of 11, including one family group, when he was out on the water yesterday (April 8th). So some cranes, as expected, are still here. (On April 2nd, Tommy had counted 15 over the same boat route.)

I'm in Washington D.C. next week (Tues-Friday) for a meeting on the issue of Whooping crane collisions with power lines. You will hear from Jeanine Lackey with migration sightings for this flock, and you'll meet Lea Craig-Moore with the Canadian Wildlife Service. She is eagerly watching for the first birds from this flock to reach Canada from her post in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Wednesday I got outside and saw lots of fiddler crabs. Any whooping cranes that are remaining at Aransas should be having a feast on these small crabs as they fatten for their journey north!

Tom Stehn
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge
Austwell, Texas