2008 Sandhill Crane Counts

2008 Crane Counts

MARCH 2008

11th –  19  First “official cranes”
  (Dale Smith called after he saw them flying above Cedar Mesa)

12th – 0  Colder and overcast.  The forecast  for the next two days is not amenable to crane flight. . . .so we’ll see.

13th – 0.   Front coming in from the North this evening.

14th – 0.  So what if  the cranes didn’t show.  The rest of the ice left the reservoir and there’s a ton of waterfowl to watch.  Please come to the presentations on Saturday!  And, there’s a good chance of crane arrivals Saturday afternoon!

15th – 175 – maybe more, but not many. Finally- the sounds of Cranes!

16th – 50 huddled next to shore as the snow started blowing this evening.  Received the following report tonight from Monte Vista in the San Luis Valley: “More [cranes] are present now than were on hand a week ago for the Monte Vista Crane Festival [on March 8th]. Cranes are in dense bunches, eating and/or loafing south of the Monte Vista refuge office. . . .  [T]his Sat. and  Sun.,  visitors who had come to Monte Vista on U.S. 160 from the east were agog about so many  cranes ‘all over the place’ in fields east of town, too.
This tells us to be as patient as cranes for warmer weather.

17th – 325  so says Evey

18th – 2   – Holdovers from yesterday?  Too nice a day for so few birds.

19th – 800 +/-  Some folks thought there were more, some thought less.  Either way a perfect evening.

20th –  40.

21st – I saw 125 or so. Evelyn thinks there are 200.  Maybe it was warm enough but certainly too windy all day.

22nd – 500.  Mostly late arrivals – the cranes probably had to work against a strong headwind this afternoon.

23rd –  The BIG NIGHT!  There are well over 2,000 and close to 3,000 Cranes.   There may be more than that but we’ll have to see in the morning what a more accurate will reveal.

( If you join us in the morning PLEASE don’t park on or stand in the road!  People in the area need to get to work or get their farm equipment moved.  And we don’t need to act goofy when we watch birds!  Park safely and walk if you have to.  )   

24th –  625 Cranes.  Nice evening though on the cool side.

25th –  750 or so.  Many cranes came in later in the evening under lower light, making counting a little more difficult.

26th –  275 cranes.

27th –  36 according to Evey Horn.  (By 7:00 p.m.  I saw none – but I did see 30 cormorants in the cottonwood trees near the dam.)

28th – 2,500 cranes is Evey’s guess.  In any event  there’s a bunch of birds to look at on Saturday morning.   If you come, please consider the parking notice below.  Thank you.

29th – 1,550, but if there are more than that in the morning I won’t be surprised.  Lots of late arrivals to the north side of the road from nearby areas.

30th –  800.  I don’t know where they came from – with all the extreme wind we had today.

31st  –  950.  A bunch of these may have been holdovers from yesterday.


1st – 750 cranes

(Politically speaking – 4 for 4  – clean sweep in Orchard City election! New mayor and three new trustees!  Brave new world –  mature adults will be running things!  – [Unpaid political  advertisement].)

2nd – 750 again tonight  –  650 obvious for counting and, based on vocalizations,  probably another 100 or so out of view in the shrubs and along the shore.

3rd  –  245

4th – 610 Cranes – a pretty big number this late in the migration season.  (Sorry I was late posting this tonight.)

5th – 500.  Again. sorry for the late posting tonight.)

6th – 100 cranes

7th –  23.  Tomorrow might be better, but the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday looks ugly.  And,  we’re coming quickly to the end of the migration.

8th – 90.

9th – 36 (Holdovers because of  the weather?)

10th – 28

11th – 36

12th – 40

13th – 45

14th – 20

15th –  25  Wonderful morning, big blow the rest of the day

16th – 0

17th – 26

18th –  26 (Same Cranes?)

19th – 20

20th –  20  Same cranes?)

21st –    0

22nd –  ?  With the warm weather finally starting up, Spring chores are taking over, so crane diligence is diminishing with their numbers.

[The migration is essentially over.  We’ll keep an eye on crane visits for a while longer.  Meanwhile we’ll keep an eye on our other feathered visitors.]

PARKING:  PLEASE find a place to park that is off the pavement and PLEASE do not set up your tipods on the pavement!    The Sheriff’s Department join many of us with concern about safety from irresponsible  behavior on the county road while crane watching.

General disclaimer:

We try to count Cranes around sunset 
to include the late arrivals, 
and to provide you with an idea 
of how many birds you may encounter 
the next morning at “liftoff” (usually
between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m daylight savings time).

Crane counts are estimates of what 
was seen by one or more observers. 
The bigger the number of Cranes
the less likely the number is accurate.

These numbers are most useful 
when looked at as relative numbers 
of Cranes from day to day.

Sometimes the counts we post
in the evening are modified the 
next morning when we feel more
confident with the accuracy of
the morning count.

at, or adjacent to, the RESERVOIR: 

American Coot
Canadian Geese
Northern Harrier
Ring-Necked Pheasant
Green-Winged Teal
Great Blue Heron
Red-winged Blackbird
American Widgeon
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
White-Crowned Sparrow
Mourning Dove
Western Meadowlark
Golden Eagle
Black-billed Magpie
Turkey Vulture
Double-Crested Cormorant
Blue-winged Teal
Great Egret
Western Grebe
Cattle Egret
Pied-Billed Grebe
White-faced Ibis