Under 80 Miles To Go!
line is close! At 7:53 a.m. the cranes were airborne for the second day
in a row, finally closing in on the end of the journey. When they landed
in Gilchrist County 2 hours and 3 minutes later, they had knocked off
another 60.6 miles. Excitement is mounting! They've come a total of 113.2
miles, and they're under 78 miles from their Florida winter home.
All sixteen cranes made this leg of the migration, taking off with Richard
van Heuvelen. By the end of the flight, eleven followed Brooke and five
lined up off Joe's right wingtip. A special event today was the presence
of 2001 pilot Deke Clark and Rebecca. They saw the birds' departure from
Hamilton County, as well as their arrival in Gilchrist County. Before
this morning, Deke had only seen take-offs and arrivals from the seat
of his ultralight (prior to his suffering a stroke in January 2002).
are now 77.8 miles out from the release pen and winter site at Chassahowitzka
NWR in Citrus County, FL. When will they cross the finish line? Tomorrow
(Dec. 8) looks promising! If the winds are in the team's favor, Brooke
Pennypacker, Joe Duff and Richard van Heuvelen will lift off from here
shortly after sunrise and guide these young birds for the final time with
their ultralights. The public is invited to watch! OM's Heather Ray shares
60 miles into the final leg of the journey, at around 8:30 am, the pilots
will lead the cranes over the Crystal River Mall, located on US Highway
19 in Crystal River, FL for a rare public appearance as our way of thanking
the public for the steadfast and ongoing financial and emotional support
they have provided this reintroduction. Public and media are invited to
attend the grassy area at the north end of the shopping mall to watch
the Class of '03 pass overhead with their mechanical leaders for the last
time. Members of the Whooping
Crane Eastern Partnership agencies will be on hand to answer questions,
and once the birds have been delivered to their pen, the migration team
will assemble and return to the mall to talk with the public and the media.
For anyone planning to attend, please check the OM
Web site early tomorrow morning for the final decision. The entire
migration team hopes to see you there!"
This! Journaling Questions
- What fraction
or percent of the trip have the birds completed in the three (so far)
December days of flying? (Use
1225 miles for the estimated trip total distance.)
(or your Migration
Comparison chart) to see if you can answer: How many days did they
take off but have to turn back? How many actual flight days with progress?
How many no-fly days? Where was the longest stretch of weather delays?
How many days did it take to reach the halfway point at Hiwassee? How
many days to finish the second half of the trip? How long was their
longest flight? Shortest flight?
Journey North is pleased to feature this educational
adventure made possible by the
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).
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