Time for some happy news on this blog!!! The class of 2009 whooping crane chicks are now safely in their two wintering locations in Florida. I'm going to miss the daily reports on their progress.
Here for one last time, the last log entry from the migration:
"Date: January 20, 2010 - Entry 3 Reporter: Liz Condie
Subject SAFE, SUCCESSFUL, SAYONARA Location: Citrus Co. FL
Safe - At 10:05am, 901*, 903, 904*, 905*, 907*, 913, 919, 924, 927, and 929 were all on the ground and OM's trikes turned for the return flight to their point of departure at the Dunnellon-Marion County Airport. By the time you are reading this, the birds should be safely ensconced in their large wintering pen set five miles out in the marsh in a closed area of the Chassahowitzka NWR.
Successful - A great wall of emotion hit when I heard Walter's voice on my cell phone advising the last remaining birds in the Class of 2009 were on the ground and already checking out their winter residence. It is always a bittersweet parting. On the one hand it means we have to say goodbye to a group of birds that we've all come to know well, but on the other, it also means that before long they will be starting their new life as truly wild, migrating Whooping cranes, which in turn signals the successful completion of our annual mission.
Sayonara - The Class of 2009 are not the only ones we will be saying goodbye to. The balance of today, and most if not all of tomorrow, will be taken up with all of us - OM's migration crew - packing, organizing, and shuffling our belongings from one vehicle to another (no small job) in preparation for relocating the vehicles and and we occupants to our respective locales. After that, we will all be saying Sayonara to one another at our traditional End of Migration dinner, where some big grins and hard farewell hugs will be exchanged, likely along with a few inevitable tears."