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November 20, 2002
Day 39

Standing Down, but The Race is On

Foggy Day. Photo OM, WCEP

Today there's patchy fog and 40 degrees at the stop in Meigs County, TN. They're staying put for the third day in a row for good reasons. Heather reminds us: "This next leg of the migration that will take us into Georgia has always been a tough one. The terrain consists of carved valleys, where fog often settles and the busy Interstate 75 adds to the challenge as the pilots will cross it once and then fly alongside it for a few miles before arriving at our first of six planned Georgia stopovers. For these reasons the flight team will wait for ideal conditions before leading our precious feathered charges from the current Meigs County, TN location."

But there's still big extiting news from Heather. Yesterday, the radio signal of yearling Crane #6 was picked up by ICF tracker Lara Fondow and Windway pilot, Mike Voechting, in--- get this: MEIGS COUNTY, TENNESSEE! As Heather says, this is "a mere stone's throw from where we are currently being held up by weather." You may remember our Nov. 17 report when we said yearling #6 reached Indiana's Jasper Pulaski Wildlife Area in Indiana, the main stopover for the Midwest population of sandhill cranes in the fall. Thousands upon thousands of sandhills are now gathered there. In the late afternoon, #6 flew alone for over an hour in great circles above this throng--one white crane in the midst of crowds of gray. One birder who was lucky enought to see this pioneering whooper during his brief stay at Jasper Pulaski called #6 a "gorgeous white pearl in the sea of gray Sandhills." So which ultralight Whoopers will reach the wintering grounds at Chassahowtizka NWR in Florida first--last year's or this year's? As Heather says, the race is on!

Last Fall

This Fall

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Try This! Journaling Question
  • HY 2001 Crane #6 has had some adventures in his short life. On last year's historic first ultralight-led migration, this crane was lost overnight in the hills of Kentucky and found only after an intensive search. (Read the story in last year's November 10 and November 11 reports.) After checking the flock chart and the two reports from last year, think of a name you'd give to this individual crane that describes him. Write a short paragraph describing his first migration with the ultralight last year and his migration on his own this year. Where do you think he's headed? Remember to check updates on the migration flock of HY2001 (hatch year 2001, or last year's chicks).

Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).

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