CHASSAHOWITZKA — The 10 whooping cranes destined to winter in the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge flew Monday morning into Gilchrist County.
If weather conditions permit, that means they could arrive at their interim stopover at the Halpata Tastanaki Preserve in Marion County this morning, where a flyover at the nearby Dunnellon/Marion County Airport is tentatively scheduled so the public can view the cranes' arrival.
The ultralight pilots who have led the birds from the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin will drop their charges off in the preserve, then circle back to land and speak with interested members of the public.
The other 10 cranes composing Operation Migration's Class of 2009 were dropped off at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in the Panhandle last week.
The timing of today's event will change if the weather does not permit a flight. To check on current information on the flyover, call the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge at (352) 563-2088 or go online to operationmigration.org/Field_ Journal.html.