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HAEHNLE SANCTUARY FALL CRANE COUNTS

Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary conducts Crane Counts at the sanctuary starting the first Monday after Labor Day and every Monday thereafter until the Sandhill Cranes depart for the winter.  The counts start around 3:30 PM. This page contains current and historic count data.

DETAILED reports AND COUNTS FOE  the FALL OF 2013.  .

 

Crane counts, reports and sightings for the 2013 season.

Detail Crane counts for this season and the four previous years.

Current map of locations of  Cranes seen feeding near Haehnle Sanctuary.

Peak Crane counts 1941 to the present.

Detail Crane counts 1969 to present.

 

We normally have many Greater Sandhill Cranes stop at our sanctuary in the fall. In the last few years we have been fortunate to have have a Whooping Crane visit as well .(The Whooping Crane is observably larger than the Sandhill, mostly white with black wing tips and black on front of head and beak.)

If you spot the Whooping Crane, please do not disturb him and do not trespass on private land to get a better view.

DETAILED CRANE COUNTS FAR THIS SEASON AND THE FOR PREVIOUS YEARS.

 2009 Date   2009  Count  2010 Date  2010  Count  2011 Date  2011  Count  2012 Date  2012 Count  2013 Date  2013 Count 
                   
            3-Sep  295 Sep 9 2
14-Sep 19 13-Sep 146 12-Sep 5 10-Sep 304 Sep 16 66
21-Sep 100 20-Sep 237 19-Sep 5 17-Sep 297 Sep 23 36
28-Sep 126 27-Sep 318 26-Sep 0 24-Sep 349 Sep 30 21
                    
5-Oct 42 4-Oct 448 3-Oct 5 1-Oct 811 Oct 7 239
5-Oct   11-Oct 1,762 10-Oct 18 8-Oct 1,875 Oct 14 385
12-Oct 18 18-Oct 2,108 17-Oct 362 15-Oct 2,586 Oct 21 176
19-Oct 230 25-Oct 2,639 24-Oct 18 22-Oct 3,670 Oct 28 714
26-Oct       31-Oct 32 29-Oct 5,012    
2-Nov   1-Nov 4,094     5-Nov 7,483 Nov 4 62
9-Nov   8-Nov 4,792 7-Nov 32 12-Nov 6,490 Nov 11 4
16-Nov   15-Nov 5,523 14-Nov 13 19-Nov 8,177 Nov 18 29
23-Nov   22-Nov 4,473 21-Nov 17 26-Nov 6,927 Nov 25  
30-Nov   29-Nov   28-Nov 5        
7-Dec   6-Dec       3-Dec 5,540 Dec 2  
14-Dec   13-Dec       10-Dec 2,802 Dec 9  
21-Dec   20-Dec       17-Dec 2,216  Dec 16  

 

CRANE  COUNTS, REPORTS AND SIGHTINGS FOR THIS SEASON  (FALL2013)

 

CRANE COUNT:  29 SANDHILL CRANES ON MONDAY, Nov. 18,  2013.

Mechanical counters were useful for paperweights but for little else last night (November 18) at the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary in Jackson County. Only 29 cranes flew in to roost, or less than two cranes per count team member per hour. A year ago today, we set the all-time record of 8,177 roosting cranes. Experts believe that the lower numbers are linked to the sanctuary’s Mud Lake marsh water level. It is a foot deeper than last year and about the same as two years ago when roosting crane counts were low. Although we saw cranes with their bellies in the water a few weeks ago, most people say that sandhills want to roost in shallower water and keep their feathers dry.

Lots of cranes are still in the area, however. Friday morning, over 1,000 cranes were along Dalton Road, four miles west-southwest of Haehnle, and more were in fields between there and Munith. A Dahlem Center tour counted over 200 roosting cranes at Haehnle Saturday night. Probably 500 cranes were along Dalton early yesterday afternoon.

Seeing a few raptors helped ease the sting of last night’s low-20s windchill factor. A red-tailed hawk flew in front of us and perched for a time just over 100 yards away. A Cooper’s hawk flew in low, disappeared into the brush 150 feet to our right, and was the likely cause of a burst of cedar waxwings. We also spotted a northern harrier over the marsh and a more-distant sharp-shinned hawk. Good numbers of ducks and black birds were still in the air, too.\

BIRDS SEEN (18):  
Gadwall
American Black Duck
Ring-billed Gull
NuthatchBlue Jay
White-breasted
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Ring-necked Duck
Northern Harrier
Sandhill Crane
CALLS HEARD OF
UNSEEN BIRDS (2):

Black-capped chickadee
American tree sparrow
 

COUNTERS:  Gary Siegrist (Head), Don Henise, Robyn Henise, and Steve Jerant.
COMPILER:
Mickey Kress

 

CRANE COUNT:  4 SANDHILL CRANES ON MONDAY, Nov. 11,  2013.

On Monday, November 11, 2013, we called the crane count yesterday afternoon around 4:00 pm because of extremely low visibility due to a heavy blowing snowfall.

At that time we had 4 Sandhill Cranes in the marsh.

We also were able see some other birds before the visibility declined

BIRDS SEEN (10):  
Canada goose
trumpeter swan
gadwall
American black duck
mallard
northern pintail
bufflehead
northern harrier
sharp-shinned hawk
Cooper's hawk
red-tailed hawk
American coot
red-bellied woodpecker
blue jay
white-breasted nuthatch
European starling
cedar waxwing
dark-eyed junco

COUNTERS:  Gary Siegrist (Head), Don Henise, Robyn Henise, and Steve Jerant, Ron Hoffman.
COMPILER:
Mickey Kress

 

CRANE COUNT: 62. SANDHILL CRANES ON MONDAY, Nov. 4,  2013.

Sandhill cranes, and birds in general, were woefully sparse tonight (November 4) at the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary in Jackson County.  In fact, the ratio of visitors to roosting cranes was about equal until sundown and the cranes’ score nearly doubled to 62.  Most of the other 256 cranes spotted flew well beyond the trees on the far side of the sanctuary’s Mud Lake marsh.  Last Monday, 714 sandhills roosted at Haehnle.

Highlights of other bird species seen were a bald eagle directly overhead when the first counters arrived at 1:30 p.m., long looks at a northern harrier (carrying its dinner at one point), and thousands of black birds swarming into the marsh at sunset.

 

BIRDS SEEN (29):  
Canada goose
wood duck
gadwall
American black duck
mallard
northern shoveler
northern pintail
green-winged teal
ring-necked duck
 
turkey vulture
bald eagle
northern harrier
red-tailed hawk
American coot
sandhill crane
Bonaparte’s gull
mourning dove
northern flicker
blue jay
American crow
eastern bluebird
American robin
European starling
cedar waxwing
American tree sparrow
dark-eyed junco
red-winged blackbird
rusty blackbird
common grackle
CALLS HEARD OF
UNSEEN BIRDS (1):

Downy woodpecker
 

COUNTERS:  Gary Siegrist (Head), Lathe Claflin, Don Henise, Robyn Henise, and Steve Jerant, Ron Hoffman.
COMPILER:
Mickey Kress

 

CRANE COUNT: 714 SANDHILL CRANES ON MONDAY, OCT 28,  2013.

Sandhill crane numbers picked up last night (October 28) at the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary in northeast of Jackson. The 714 cranes roosting overnight nearly doubled the previous 2013 high. Cranes staying and those flying past to roost elsewhere totaled over 1,000 birds, an encouraging sign in a season of comparatively low numbers.

Visitors braving the chilly north wind were rewarded with lots of sandhills flying overhead, a mature bald eagle (a first for several folks) just 200 yards west, and a red-shouldered hawk flying just close and slow enough for the counters to ID it. The resident pair of trumpeter swans swam in view most of the evening and a Wilson's snipe flew past on the same north to south path for the third straight week.

BIRDS SEEN (39):  
Canada goose
trumpeter swan
wood duck
American wigeon
American black duck
mallard
northern pintail
green-winged teal
pied-billed grebe
turkey vulture
bald eagle
northern harrier

 
red-shouldered hawk
red-tailed hawk
American coot
sandhill crane
Wilson’s snipe
American woodcock
ring-billed gull
red-bellied woodpecker
downy woodpecker
blue jay
American crowe
rusty blackbird
common grackle
American goldfinch
Cooper's hawk
black-capped chickadee
tufted titmouse
golden-crowned kinglet
ruby-crowned kinglet
eastern bluebird
American robin
cedar waxwing
field sparrow
fox sparrow
song sparrow
white-crowned sparrow
northern cardinal
rusty blackbird
common grackle
American goldfinch
CALLS HEARD OF
UNSEEN BIRDS (1):

White-throated sparrow
 

COUNTERS:  Gary Siegrist (Head), Don Henise, Robyn Henise, and Steve Jerant.
COMPILER:
Mickey Kress

 

CRANE COUNT: 176 SANDHILL CRANES ON MONDAY, OCT 21,  2013.

Fewer sandhill cranes flew in to roost tonight (October 21) at the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary northeast of Jackson. Only 176 sandhills were in the sanctuary’s Mud Lake marsh at nightfall, compared to 385 last Monday. Two-thirds of tonight’s birds arrived in the half hour straddling sunset.

It was a decent night for other birds, though. We saw five harriers, including three flying together, a pileated woodpecker flying past 100 yards to our left, and had a good scope view of a perched Cooper’s hawk, and even in the overcast skies, there were still lots of color in the trees beyond the marsh.

BIRDS SEEN (30):  
Canada goose
wood duck
gadwall
American black duck
mallard
green-winged teal
pied-billed grebe
great egret
turkey vulture
 

northern harrier
sharp-shinned hawk
Cooper's hawk
red-tailed hawk
American kestrel
American coot
sandhill crane
Wilson's snipe
ring-billed gull
mourning dove

pileated woodpecker
blue jaywhite-breasted nuthatch
ruby-crowned kinglet
eastern bluebird
American robin
European starling
cedar waxwing
yellow-rumped warbler
rusty blackbird
common grackle
CALLS HEARD OF
UNSEEN BIRDS (3):

red-bellied woodpecker
 
downy woodpecker
American goldfinch

COUNTERS:  Gary Siegrist (Head), Don Henise, Robyn Henise, and Steve Jerant.
COMPILER:
Mickey Kress

 

CRANE COUNT: 385 SANDHILL CRANES ON MONDAY, OCTOBER  14 2013.

 

More cranes flew in to roost tonight (October 14) than last Monday at the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary northeast of Jackson but the 385 total lagged far behind the year-earlier, record-trending number (2,586).  In fact, visitors (67) outnumbered cranes (23) until after sunset.  In the last half hour, 362 birds flew in, including 135 in one group when there was barely enough daylight to count accurately.

It was still a great evening to be at the sanctuary, however.  Counters identified 44 bird species.  We had good views of a “silver bullet” (mature male) and an immature northern harrier, a mature bald eagle flying north over Eagle Lake to our west, and a merlin flying past just above eye level and 50 feet in front of everyone on the sanctuary’s Wing Overlook.  Tens and turkey vultures a dozen or so other raptors glided south high in the clear blue sky.

The sanctuary’s Mud Lake marsh remains a captivating scene in the last half hour before sunset.  Tonight is was a light tan until the setting sun gave the vegetation an increasingly reddish tone, with bright red highlights in the trees on the far side, until shadows ended the show.

The Haehnle Sanctuary is part of the Cranes, Colors & Cabernet Festival this Saturday, October 19.  Haehnle volunteers will offer one-hour guided walking tours of the sanctuary at noon and 2 p.m.  After Gary Siegrist’s 4 p.m. talk about sandhill cranes, a car caravan will look for cranes lounging in the surrounding fields and then return to watch cranes flying in to roost.  More Haehnle info is at http://www.haehnlesanctuary.org/.

BIRDS SEEN (41):  
trumpeter swan
wood duck
gadwall
American wigeon
American black duck
mallard
blue-winged teal
northern shoveler
green-winged teal
pied-billed grebe
great blue heron
great egret
turkey vulture
 

bald eagle
red-tailed hawk
merlin
American coot
sandhill crane
Wilson’s snipe
ring-billed gull
ring-billed gull
rock pigeon
hairy woodpecker
northern flicker
blue jay
American crow
tufted titmouse
 

northern harrier
Cooper's hawk
ruby-crowned kinglet
eastern bluebird
American robin
cedar waxwing
yellow-rumped warbler
field sparrow
song sparrow
swamp sparrow
white-throated sparrow
red-winged blackbird
rusty blackbird
common grackle
CALLS HEARD OF
UNSEEN BIRDS:

eastern screech owl
 
black-capped chickadee
eastern towhee

COUNTERS:  Gary Siegrist (Head), Don Henise, Ron Hoffman, and Steve Jerant.
COMPILER:
Mickey Kress

 

CRANE COUNT: 239 SANDHILL CRANES ON MONDAY, OCTOBER  7 2013.

Our bottom line total at the end of the evening was 239 Sandhill Cranes roosting in Mud Lake Marsh. This was the first time we have been in triple digits for the weekly Monday evening crane counts this fall. Throughout the evening we had cranes coming and going, making it quite difficult to keep track of the numbers actually staying in the sanctuary marsh for the night.

Again several raptor species were recorded during the afternoon and evening. Both an adult and an immature Bald Eagle were seen in the distance; 3 Peregrine Falcons were seen. One immature was seen earlier in the afternoon and later two more tried to sneak behind us at the overlook, but didn't escape Steve Jerant's sharp eyes. Three Northern Harriers were tallied with two immature birds working the marsh throughout the count and an adult female flying by high overhead. Other raptors were Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk and American Kestrel.

A few Great Egrets continue to roost in the buttonbush island with 17 counted this evening. At least 10 Rusty Blackbirds were seen in the snags to the right of the lookout. Sparrows seen in the brush and transition area were Field, Song, Swamp and White-throated and an Eastern Towhee was heard near dusk.

For detailed sightings please see:
 http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S15348779

COUNTERS:  Don Henise, Steve Jerant, Robyn Henise, Ron Hoffman, Don Siegrist.

 

CRANE COUNT: 21 SANDHILL CRANES ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER  30 2013.

Sandhill cranes numbers were light last night (September 30) at the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary northeast of Jackson.  Only 21 cranes were in the sanctuary’s Mud Lake marsh at nightfall.  We saw 95 others decided to seek a roosting spot elsewhere, including 33 that landed and then left.

A few raptors flew by, including a sharp-shinned and a Cooper’s hawk that flew past us just beyond the prairie and an osprey gliding high overhead.  A huge flock of black birds, maybe 10,000, maybe more, flew in to the far north side of the marsh around sundown and half of the 36 great egrets that squeezed onto a buttonbush clump in the middle of the marsh arrived in the 20 minutes after sundown.

Even with few birds, looking at the sanctuary at this time of year is soothing.  Trees are starting to change color, the grasslands are a rich brown, and the marsh was a mixture of tans and bright red in the last half hour before sunset.

BIRDS SEEN (38):  
Canada goose wood duck
American black duck mallard
pied-billed grebe
great blue heron
great egret
turkey vulture osprey
American crow
 tree swallow
white-breasted nuthatch
sharp-shinned hawk
 

Cooper's hawk
red-tailed hawk
American coot
sandhill crane
 herring gull
chimney swift
belted kingfisher
red-bellied woodpecker
northern flicker
blue jay
American robin

gray catbird
European starling
cedar waxwing 
,field sparrow
swamp sparrow
white-crowned sparrow
red-winged blackbird
rusty blackbird
common grackle
American goldfinch
CALLS HEARD OF
UNSEEN BIRDS:

Trumpeter swan
eastern screech owl
downy woodpecker

COUNTERS:  Gary Siegrist (Head), Don Henise, Ron Hoffman, and Steve Jerant.
COMPILER:
Mickey Kress

 

CRANE COUNT: 36 SANDHILL CRANES ON MONDAY,23 SEPTEMBER 2013.

Forty-nine Sandhill Cranes were counted flying into and remaining in Mud Lake Marsh to roost at Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary this evening. Another 32 cranes were counted flying over the sanctuary without settling to roost. The majority of these cranes came in between 7:00 and 7:30 pm. Great Egrets continue to use the sanctuary for night roosting with 36 counted. Most of them trickled in during the last hour before sunset much like the cranes.

Hundreds of waterfowl  were seen flying around the marsh. The highlight was an early Snow Goose flying with a small group of Canada Geese. Ducks observed were Wood Duck, American Black Duck, Mallard, Blue-winged Teal and Green-winged Teal. Raptors continue to be a highlight each week. Two adult Bald Eagles put on a nice show in front of the overlook. A short time later two adult Peregrine Falcons were seen flying low overhead, heading in the general direction of Jackson City. We speculated that they were the local pair heading in to their roost on the County Tower Building in downtown Jackson. Other raptors seen were Osprey, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, and Turkey Vulture.

For detailed sightings please see:
 http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S15243334

COUNTERS:  Gary Siegrist (Head), Don Henise, Ron Hoffman, and Steve Jerant.
COMPILER:
Mickey Kress

 

CRANE COUNT: 66 SANDHILL CRANES ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER  16 2013

More sandhill cranes flew in to roost tonight (September 16) at the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary northeast of Jackson, compared to last Monday. By 8 p.m., 66 cranes landed in Haehnle’ Mud Lake marsh. Most arrived in the last 90 minutes.

It was a better night for raptors. We had good looks at a turkey vulture, northern harrier (including one that glided low into the marsh 200 feet away), sharp-shinned and Cooper's hawks; distant views of a bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, merlin, and a peregrine falcon; and heard a calling great horned and two eastern screech owls. We also saw a few green- and blue-winged teal that were in a flock of maybe 500 mallards that swarmed over the marsh and 42 great egrets crowded on a clump of low-growing shrubs probably 25 feet wide.

Haehnle’s vegetation showed lots of color in the late afternoon sun. Rusty red blooms on big bluestem grass in the foreground and reddish browns and lots of green remaining in the marsh beyond framed a fine evening for bird watching.

BIRDS SEEN (38):  
Canada goose trumpeter swan wood duck American black duck mallard blue-winged teal green-winged teal pied-billed grebe
great blue heron great egret turkey
 vulture
bald eagle
enorthern harrier sharp-shinned hawk Cooper's hawk
red-tailed hawk merlin peregrine falcon sandhill crane Wilson's snipe ring-billed gull
mourning dove
 ruby-throated 
hummingbird belted kingfisher
 eastern phoebe blue jay American crow tree swallow black-capped chickadee eastern bluebird American robin gray catbird cedar waxwing common yellowthroat field sparrow swamp sparrow red-winged blackbird American goldfinch
CALLS HEARD OF
UNSEEN BIRDS (2):

Eastern screech owl
great horned owl
northern cardinal

COUNTERS:  Gary Siegrist (Head), Don Henise, Ron Hoffman, and Steve Jerant.
COMPILER:
Mickey Kress

CRANE COUNT: 2 SANDHILL CRANES ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER  9 2013

Fall sandhill crane counts started slowly tonight (September 9) at the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary northeast of Jackson. Only two sandhills flew in to roost by sundown while 26 flew past and continued north. We practiced by counting great egrets that flew in onesy-onesy until 16 were perched on a group of shrubs in the middle of the marsh. We also saw a bald eagle soaring well beyond the sanctuary and a low-flying Cooper’s hawk that screamed by within 150 feet of us.

Counters will be on site every Monday evening until the marsh freezes over. Volunteers will staff the Wing Overlook to greet visitors on weekends in October and November. The sanctuary is on the north side of Seymour Road between Wooster and Updike roads, two-plus miles north of I-94 as the crane flies

 

BIRDS SEEN (22):  
Canada goose
wood duck
mallard
great blue heron
great egret
turkey vulture
bald eagle
Cooper's hawk
red-tailed hawk sandhill crane Wilson's snipe mourning dove common nighthawk ruby-throated
hummingbird
northern flicker
eastern phoebe
American crow
white-breasted nuthatch cedar waxwing red-winged blackbird common grackle American goldfinch.
CALLS HEARD OF
UNSEEN BIRDS (5):

Blue jay
eastern bluebird
American robin
gray catbird
song sparrow

COUNTERS:  Gary Siegrist (Head), Don Henise, Ron Hoffman, and Steve Jerant.
COMPILER:
Mickey Kress

 

MAP SHOWING LOCATION OF  CRANES NEAR HAEHNLE SANCTUARY.

VIEW OR PRINT LATEST CRANE VIEWING MAP AND INFORMATION

CLICK  ON THE MAP, OR HERE FOR LARGER MAP

 


PEAK CRANE COUNTS FROM 1941 TO THE PRESENT.

 
Year Number
1941 8
1952 33
1959 66
1970 282
1971 429
1975 469
1980 1,325
1985 1,458
1990 1,432
1995 3,893
2000 2,876
2001 4,019
2002 3,084
2003 3,924
2004 2,952
2005 2,310
2006 1,564
2007 3,885
2008 280
2009 230
2010 5,523
2011 362
2012 8,177

 

 

DETAIL CRANE COUNTS 1969 TO PRESENT