ARANSAS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

The eighth aerial census of the 2010-11 whooping crane season

Apr 14, 2011 | Aransas National Wildlife Refuge by Tom Stehn | Related Press

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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