Halloween Fright Flight (+55 Miles)
WOO HOO (five flew) and BOO HOO (four were boxed and driven). More miles were the treat, but not before some tricks. All nine birds followed Richard upon takeoff, with #1 lagging behind. "After a few miles he caught up," wrote Richard, "and we headed on course for a 1.5-hour flight to LaSalle County." Crane #1 found the sweet spot and got to soar and rest a bit. Soon he was no longer panting with an open beak. As the birds neared Highway 20 where it is still a freeway, they spooked and scattered in all directions. Richard circled and managed to gather #1, 6, 7, 10 and 12, cross back over the freeway, and get back on course. They slowly climbed and crossed Interstate 39 at 2,500 feet above sea level( ASL). The birds seemed nervous and changed positions a lot, and Crane #1 seemed the best behaved.
But the other four put pilots Brooke and Joe through some tricks as they wrangled to get the turnbacks back to the pen in hopes of another takeoff. By then the air had become trashy, so they had to give up that plan. The four were boxed and driven to LaSalle County. The good news is that they all roost tonight with a total of 175 miles behind them. Happy Halloween from Operation Migration and Journey South!