Day 102 – Successful Flight!

Date: January 24, 2016 Migration Day: 103
Dist. Traveled: 58 miles
Total Dist. 1017
Location:  Decatur County, GA

(correction – today is day 102)

Brooke Pennypacker led the charge this morning with Richard van Heuvelen flying in the chase position.

It took some wrangling to get them to form up on the wing of the aircraft but after about 20 minutes they seemed to fall into line.

I won’t spoil you with any additional information, which I’m sure Brooke will include in his lead pilot report but they’ve just doubled back to retrieve a couple of vehicles so his report will be forthcoming later this evening or tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, enjoy these photos, which Cindy Hayes captured with my camera (which she can use ANYTIME she wants!)

IMG_5035 IMG_5043 IMG_5052 IMG_5061 IMG_5073

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  1. Lu Duncan Frank January 25, 2016 8:02 pm

    Love the pics! Love to you all!

  2. Pam Durall January 25, 2016 1:35 pm

    I have followed all along. Reading your journal is so heartwarming. I have been to Aransas Pass, TX to see the cranes there. I hope to go to Florida to see this group n if possible. Thank you so much for your dedication.
    Fly with God on your journey.

  3. Nancy January 25, 2016 8:32 am

    Thanks for sharing the pics. They are great, and also thank you for sending all the e-mails. Enjoy keeping up with your adventures with the birds. God bless you all.

  4. Christopher Nixon January 24, 2016 5:12 pm

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos of the last cohort of Whooping Cranes to be led by the ultralights. I was so hoping the USFWS would decide to continue this program for a few more years. There are obviously adjustments needed in order to successfully establish an EMP of Whooping Cranes. B
    ut elimination of the best element of the program is not the adjustment needed.

  5. Dorothy N January 24, 2016 5:03 pm

    I’m glad you had a good fly day today. That means you are totally out of the path of the monster storm of the east coast.

    Wonderful photos — especially the last one. So simple and so beautiful.

  6. D. Schwall January 24, 2016 4:27 pm

    Besides missing these beautiful creatures we will so miss the narratives.

  7. Heather January 24, 2016 4:01 pm

    Great job. We hope to see the flyover at San Marcos and are desperate to know whether you think it is possible you will A.) fly tomorrow and B.) be likely to fly all the way to San Marcos on the next leg, whenever that may be. It takes us 2 1/2 hours to get to San Marcos so we’d have to leave for there way before we knew if you took off. If you decide to do the last two legs all in one day, then we need to leave home on your next flight as opposed to waiting until you arrive in Leon County and then depart from there.
    Best guesses appreciated!

  8. Bobbie (piscesbobbie January 24, 2016 3:34 pm

    Just gorgeous! Thank you for the photos! Congratulations on a successful flight today 🙂

  9. Ruth Mitchell January 24, 2016 3:24 pm

    This is so wonderful to hear, I admit I was a bit concerned after they had been in one spot for while. Operation Migration…you are FABULOUS!!!!!! Can’t wait for Brooke’s report!!!

  10. Mindy January 24, 2016 3:03 pm

    Yay! Next stop Florida….thanks so much for taking the pictures Cindy! Onward Class of 2015!

  11. Paige January 24, 2016 2:57 pm

    Great pics, love. Happy for a flying day!

  12. thunder January 24, 2016 2:32 pm

    Thank you Heather for the quick update of today’s migration. Cindy took awesome pictures! Thank you for them. So happy the cranes are closer to St Mark.

  13. anna osborn January 24, 2016 2:32 pm

    Emotional day for you all, I am sure. What a contribution you have made to the study of the cranes! Thank you for sharing your experiences and your feelings. Glad you are so close to your destination. God bless.

  14. Elsie Sealander January 24, 2016 2:29 pm

    I was glad to see that the birds flew again after a long wait. Which one of the birds was taken in a crate? I hope it wasn’t 2/15 again. That poor bird will not know how to get back to WI.

  15. Judith Purcell January 24, 2016 2:19 pm

    That’s apparently great gear. #2 with both ultralights is a keeper. Nice work preserving the memories so beautifully, Cindy Hayes.

  16. Lu Duncan Frank January 24, 2016 2:15 pm

    They are most beautiful! These pics bring tears of joy to my heart!

  17. CherylGB January 24, 2016 1:54 pm


  18. Carol Giancola January 24, 2016 1:48 pm

    Speechless. Thank you all.

  19. Wanda Easton January 24, 2016 1:35 pm

    Beautiful pictures! Good job chicklets and OM!

  20. CrabtowneMd January 24, 2016 1:29 pm

    What up lifting photos. The first with the sun’s rays should become OM’s new logo— a new dawn. The second made me do a double take as at first I thought there were 6 cranes and I knew that #2 had been boxed. Cindy sure has a knack for great timing with her photos.
    Thank you for sharing these wonderful birds and sights.

  21. Nancy Ebelhar (bunker1) January 24, 2016 1:24 pm

    Awesome pictures especially the 3rd one!

  22. Kay Huey January 24, 2016 1:12 pm

    What a wonderful gift to us all. Many thanks, Cindy and Heather!

  23. Marianna Sadowski January 24, 2016 1:01 pm

    Happy to see them flying…..great pictures!! Getting close!

  24. Ann Gillis January 24, 2016 1:01 pm

    Just like my friend Christy Smith said: “GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH!” Please know that it does not JUST HAPPEN. It takes a lot of hard work and more passion for whooping cranes than can be measured.

  25. Patti Hakanson January 24, 2016 12:51 pm

    Stunningly beautiful photos! Congrats on a successful flight! 🙂

  26. ffmn January 24, 2016 12:50 pm

    Awww Wonderful capturesl Thank you Cindy Hayes (and Healther for posting.

  27. Susan Marsh January 24, 2016 12:49 pm


  28. Lindi Allen January 24, 2016 12:49 pm

    So glad all got to the next stop, great pictures 🙂