dinsdag 12 maart 2013

The sound of Cranes, brrr!

It's a belated blog post but I'll post it anyway because I cant leave out my recent observations of this great bird species: the Eurasian Crane (Grus grus). Last week we experienced a massive migration peak of Cranes here in the Netherlands. It started in the weekend of 2/3 March and Monday the 4th, and Tuesday the 5th of March the eastern part of the Netherlands was flooded by Cranes. I seem to have a knack of always missing Cranes when they're passing by. I didn't have luck on Sunday whilst several groups of Cranes passed by Apeldoorn. We did have a group of Whooper Swans flying over our house though, also a good bird!
 Whooper Swans (Cygnus cygnus) over our house

Also on Monday I was unlucky until the evening. Around 17.15 I went upstairs to my attic to check the sky and search for cranes. Around 17.35 I picked up a group of 13 large birds flying appr. at 5-10 km west of our house. They were coming our way so I just had to wait until they would pass by from a closer distance. In the mean time I was sure they were Cranes and so I shouted to my dad: Cranes coming! We could follow the group for ca. 10 minutes as they passed by over Apeldoorn from west to east. They were flying above the city centre (1km from our house) and through my scope we could observe them very well. So in the end (that's what I thought) we still had our Cranes.

Then on Tuesday I had an excursion for the course I was following at the Uni. On waarneming.nl I had already noticed that also this morning the Cranes were on a roll! We had an excursion at Landgoed Middachten near Rheden, east of Arnhem. I was hoping for Cranes and we got them..!

While we were standing in the forest and the excursion leader was telling something about the trees I heard a familiar sound: a singing male Middle-spotted Woodpecker! My friends heard them as well and as we were enjoying the sound of the Middle-spotted Woodpecker I heard some trumpeter sounds far away.... And guess what: Cranes!

A group of 80 Cranes came from the south and started to look for thermal (on the edge of the moraine) right above our heads. Amazing. I ran out of the forest, leaving the astonished students behind, haha.

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With my phone I record the group of Cranes calling.

Then after we finished the nice excursion (learned a lot!) we went back to Wageningen. During the day many Cranes had passed over Wageningen and I had a feeling it should be possible for me to see them still in the evening. So when we got back at 17.00, Koen, a friend from my study and I went to the dike near the river,  where you have a perfect overlook to the south.

With a beer and a few snacks we enjoyed this beautiful day and we ended the day with a group of 72 Cranes flying over Wageningen. We already heard them calling in from the east, and with nice evening light the group pursued their migration to the north-east.

I tried to take a picture with my phone through my binoculars. Below the result, you can still ID them :)
Group of 72 Cranes (Grus grus) flying over the Wageningen

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