[CT Birds] RFI on a Group of Five Sandhill Cranes from Oct 29th

Fred fred at cetussoft.com
Fri Nov 6 12:47:45 EST 2009


This may be an unusual request (a "long shot"), but here goes...

I am hoping that someone might have seen (and maybe even photographed)
a particular group of five sandhill cranes (one having an obvious
notch in the left wing - please see photo info below) that recently
headed southbound from Wareham Massachusetts, along the south coast of
New England, towards Florida (or thereabouts).

Here's the story:

There is a group of five sandhill cranes that recently left Wareham
Massachusetts (just across Buzzards Bay from Cape Cod) on their way to
Florida (I would assume).  These birds have spent part of each year
for the last several years on the cranberry bogs and ponds of Wareham
MA, and they have been actively watched by MA birders (especially
since sandhill cranes are pretty rare birds "up here" in New England.

On October 29th, the last day the cranes were seen in Wareham, a group
of five cranes were spotted flying from MA into RI, and later that day
there was a report from a hawk watch in Greenwich CT recording a tight
formation of five cranes heading towards the NYC area.

Then, on October 30th, there were two northwestern NJ reports, of a
group of five cranes seen both lifting off the ground at Merrill Creek
NJ and of a group of five in the air at a hawk watch at Scott's
Mountain NJ.

And, on November 3rd, a group of five cranes were heard and then seen
overhead at Woodstock GA heading southward (and a bit unusual because
that was somewhat earlier than the usual migration of sandhill cranes
coming from Hiwassee TN through that area).

Of course, the big question is, ARE THEY THE SAME FIVE CRANES?  While
certainly not completely definitive, a comparison of a photo taken of
the birds in flight at the Scott's Mountain NJ hawk watch on 10/30 (
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jrd_photos/4063137832/sizes/l/ ) and my
photos from Wareham MA of "our" cranes flying at sunset on 10/26 (
), shows one of the five cranes in each case having what could seem to
be the same notch in the left wing.  (The notch is quite obvious in a
photo, but may not be so obvious to an observer's eyes.)

What is most intriguing, I think, is that the cranes may be taking a
somewhat inland route, along the Appalachians, rather than a more
coastal route.  (But, of course, who knows what is a "normal" path for
quite uncommon New England sandhill cranes migrating to and from
Florida or thereabouts?)

So, I have been trying to ask those on the flyways to Florida, where
the cranes might be heading for the winter season, if anyone happened
to see (and maybe even photographed) a distinctive group of five
sandhill cranes going over.

The group likely went through MA, RI, CT, and NY (on the way to NJ) on
October 29th.  I am hoping to hear any additional reports (or see any
additional photographs) from along the way, to "fill in the blanks" on
the route taken.  (And, since I heard of the report from Greenwich CT
only "third hand", I'd like to receive more direct details - and
especially photos, if available - from that sighting, too.)  So, might
there be any reports?

Yes, I know that this sounds like a "wild Grus chase", but who

Thanks for listening.

Fred (Frederick Wasti)

Marshfield Massachusetts ("craneberry country")

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