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> From: Anne Wilber <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Fri Mar 07, 2003  10:29:27 AM US/Central
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: loss of one crane at Aransas
> Reply-To: okbirds <[log in to unmask]>
>
> Here is an update on the latest crane census at Aransas
>
>
>
> Anne Wilber
> Cherokee, OK
> http://www.greatsaltplains.com
>
>
>
>
>
> Subject: loss of one crane at Aransas
> Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 21:08:04 -0700
>
> An aerial census on March 06, 2003 of the Aransas National Wildlife
> Refuge
> and surrounding areas estimated the number of whooping cranes present at
> 169 adults + 15 young = 184 total. This is one less than the  peak
> population for the 2002-03 winter.  One chick was not located and is
> believed dead.
>
> Recap of cranes observed: (183)
>
>                  adults + young
> Refuge              46 +  5
> Lamar                6 +  0
> San Jose            41 +  2
> Matagorda           55 +  7
> Welder Flats        20 +  1
>             Total  168 + 15 = 183
>
> Remarks and Conclusions: High overcast skies throughout the day provided
> fair census conditions.  Smoke from a prescribed fire on private lands
> north of the refuge hindered visibility on a portion of the refuge crane
> area.  All areas were covered in 7.9 hours of flight time.  Transects
> were
> spaced close together because of the reduced light.
>
> A total of 183 cranes was located.  This was 2 less than the estimate of
> 185 for the peak population of the 2002-03 winter.  One of the missing
> cranes was the S. Mustang Slough juvenile.  Its unbanded parents were
> present on their territory, so the juvenile was declared missing and
> listed
> as the first mortality documented this winter.  The carcass was not
> located
> and cause of death is unknown.  The other missing crane was a subadult
> and
> was presumably overlooked.  Given the lack of sunshine, it was
> surprising
> that only 1 crane was believed overlooked.  The actual number of cranes
> observed on the flight was 185.  However, a pair of cranes south of
> Shell
> Reef Bayou was initially not present but found later, and was
> considered to
> be the Shell Reef Old pair that changed locations, although this was
> outside the territory of the Shell Reef Old pair.
>
> Comparisons with the January 8th flight when all 185 cranes were
> located:
>
>             March 03     January 8th    Change
> San Jose    41 + 2  = 43       41 +  2  = 43      0
> Refuge/Lamar      52 + 5  = 57       54 +  6  = 6   - 2 subadult, - 1
> juvenile
> Matagorda   55 + 7  = 62       54 +  7  = 61    + 1 subadult,
> Welder Flats      20 + 1  = 21       20 +  1  = 21      0
>
>    Totals      168 + 15 = 183   169 + 16  = 185  -2 (-1 subadult,
> -1juvenile)
>
> The similarity with the January 8th flight provides confidence of the
> total
> population size.  The 62 cranes present on Matagorda breaks the all-time
> high by one bird.
>
> Habitat:
>
> On today?s flight, no whooping cranes were in open bay habitat, on
> prescribed burns, at fresh water sources, or on uplands.  Most cranes
> were
> in water, with others very close to water.  Most cranes are believed to
> be
> foraging on crabs.  Fourteen cranes were observed in open water in Shell
> Reef Bayou on Matagorda.  They may be foraging on calms, though some
> were
> close to vegetation and could have been seeking other prey.
>
> Specifics / Interesting Locations:
>
> Two subadult cranes continued their use south of Holiday beach on the
> Lamar
> Peninsula.  A subadult with an injured wing was still present in a duo
> by
> the southern Matagorda Island airstrip.  The wing was only drooping
> partially although all primaries were completely visible.  This bird has
> been observed in flight and appears to fly normally.  A duo of apparent
> subadults was present southeast of Pringle Lake on Matagorda Island.
> Only
> occasionally are wintering cranes found this far north on Matagorda.
> The
> chick that had separated from its parents on Matagorda was for the
> second
> week in a row closely associated with a subadult.  A family group was
> found
> just northeast of Fulghum?s Fish Camp at Welder Flats, slightly outside
> its
> normal territory.
>
>
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