Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mid-September 2009

Temperatures are plummeting rapidly as fall comes into full swing. We experienced our first frost the morning of September 16 and a jacket is definitely a required part of your wardrobe when you go outside in the morning.

The splendid beauty of autumn is apparent all around…the leaves everywhere are now bursting into color.

The baby red-crowned cranes are getting quite large now and I have attached the best photo available at the moment to give you guys an idea of their size:

The red-crowned cranes are not the only cranes present in the park at the moment. Hooded cranes and white-naped cranes have been showing up in the hundreds preparing for fall migration.

To celebrate the arrival of these cranes, busloads of people visited the park when we held our annual crane festival on September 13, 2009.

Visitors were treated with performances, good weather, wildlife lectures, and views not only of the wild cranes but also our captive ones along with some other rather unusual types of “cranes”.

During the past few mornings, we have set out at dawn to monitor the migrating cranes and get an estimate of their numbers. We arrive in the mist-covered fields just at daybreak and hear the sounds of hundreds of cranes in the distance.

Then as the sun begins to emerge hundreds of cranes take to the air and fly towards their feeding grounds.

As they fly by we can count them and also note many other observations. We have seen several injured birds:

This years young with their parents:

And several Eurasian cranes and hybrids:

To date the counts are as follows:

HOODED CRANES: 1095 individuals

WHITE-NAPED CRANES: 255 individuals

We have continued to monitor the small mammals at the park and this week we confirmed another species presence here, the Korean field mouse:

I must say that this time of year has been spectacular at the park….the wildlife abounds, the mosquitoes have relaxed, the weather is cool and crisp, and the sun shows off the fall foliage exquisitely. I hope that everyone else is enjoying their fall as well!!!

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