After about a week of waiting (gathering at dawn to see whether the ultralight planes would be able to fly with the whooping cranes), the crowd who gathered on Sunday morning were rewarded with a beautiful fly-over. Here are some photos showing a group of seven cranes following the first plane, and a lone crane following another ultralight. It was a difficult first day for the cranes (and the pilots). For complete details about the take-off and first leg of the journey, I urge everyone to read the notes being posted by the pilots. Again, Operation Migration left the Necedah Refuge on Sunday. It was a sight worth waiting for.
Since then, I understand, all the Operation Migration whooping cranes (and their vigilant handlers) have been resting, camped in a field about 25 miles south of the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. Please refer to the Operation Migration for regular blog posts from the pilots, which will be kept up for the rest of their long migratory journey. It may take them a couple months to reach Florida. Stay tuned, and keep your wing feathers crossed for them.
Operation Migration: The Field Journal