Posts Tagged ‘Cranes


Craning a neck

One thing I love about the Broads is the wide expanse of reedbeds. Reeds talk in the breeze; softly murmuring. Their song is only broken by the haunting cry of Cranes. Last week we were craning our necks to see over reeds when up flew flock after flock; ‘whooping’ their way into the distance.


Craning a neck

A week or more ago I did a guided walk on Halvergate Marshes for the local authority. A lovely crowd of people assembled at Wickhampton Church (worth a visit for the medieval wall paintings) before we had an enjoyable few hours out on the marsh. We saw quite a lot but missing from the days bird list were Common Cranes. It wasn’t until I started to head home after lunch when I’d only gone a few miles that I saw a flock of twenty seven birds at the roadside … I couldn’t get them all in one shot! This is a good number for East Norfolk. I’ve rarely seen more within the county in a single group.

The UK still trails the continent on numbers though. I recall seeing around ten thousands coming into roost in Hungry within the Hortobagy National Park during a visit in October 2007. Closer to home in the Lac du Der region just to the East of Paris during early March 2015 in the last 2 hours of light I watched around twenty thousands of birds move North on gentle southerlies.

Cranes passing through the Lac Du Der region in France some years ago in Spring 2015

Long legged lady

Not what you expect to see out on the marshes. A long legged girl named Beatrice.

She was beautiful. Bedecked with jewelry she it was obvious she came from the cider capitol; Somerset. Before you get the wrong idea she was born in 2011 and she’s a Crane. All part of the ‘Great Crane Project’ You can read all about her here



Craning our Necks

As we stopped for a look around on a tour in north East Norfolk a group of cranes could be heard somewhere in the distance. We waited and they eventually came right above us. Wonderful graceful birds.


Migration of the Cranes

Looking for Woodpeckers in deep forest we’d been aware of the sound of Cranes for most of the time. However, it wasn’t until we were nearing the end of the day that we were in a position to take a look at them. We found a small party in a winter wheat field. Parking the car at the roadside we got out to take a closer look … I couldn’t believe what we saw.

Last week we were among the gentle rolling hills of the Champagne region in France. We were there to watch the spring Crane migration and to see a few woodpeckers. The sun was out and the wind blowing gently. We had already seen cranes in some number, eleven hundred crowded into one field no less and I thought perhaps we had arrived in France a little late for further numbers.

As we stood on the roadside that evening a few cranes were flying over; I looked out southward towards the horizon to see ribbon after ribbon of birds migrating north towards us. Each flock was followed by another and then another. Tens became hundreds and hundreds became thousands. We estimated in the one hour before dark we had fifteen thousand fly over us that fine evening. As we left still more were coming.

2015 03 05 Cranes Lac Du Der France_Z5A1602 2015 03 05 Cranes Lac Du Der France_Z5A1678 2015 03 05 Cranes Lac Du Der France_Z5A1733 2015 03 05 Cranes Lac Du Der France_Z5A1788


Craning their necks

As we drew up to a pair of Cranes last week they stopped feeding and looked at us. I stopped the engine and waited. They continued to feed. It doesn’t matter how much expose to humans they have these birds remain wary. I started the engine again and pulled away so we could park behind some bushes where we quietly got out of the car.

As we set up the scope to take a closer look, in the far distance I could hear something. It was so far away I couldn’t make out what it was … the Cranes could though. It was obviously more Cranes calling. They responded in unison before eventually taking flight to join them.



Christmas is for Families

It’s always nice to happen upon something by chance.

As we approached a field on one of the tours last weekend it was obvious from a distance there was something large within it. As we grew nearer it became apparent that the large mass in the centre of the field wasn’t a single thing … it was four. It was a family; a family of cranes; two adults and two young – young of this year.

The juveniles were dancing … as cranes do. Stretching their wings and rising above the ground in leaps of slow motion as they practiced take-off and landing skills, no doubt impatient to take to the air as every youngster would be. Even the beautiful bugling calls were full of impatience, a little rushed and not as far crying as those of their parents.

As we watched them you could just imagine the restrained patience of the parents. Patience every parent needs to show when faced with excited children … especially at Christmas.




Where’s Wally

Parenting is a trying occupation at the best of times; ultimately rewarding, or at least that’s what I keep telling myself, … but trying!

As we watched a reedbed on the fens at the weekend two parents were trying their best to fulfil their role. It can’t be easy to rear a child in the wild but these two Cranes made it look almost easy. As the two adults stalked slowly through the reeds their fledged* youngster stumbled along between them benefiting from their findings. Each tasty morsel was tenderly offered up and gratefully received. A true family party.

You can just make out shortie between dad with his head down on the left and mum on the right.

(*note the youngster had fledged, therefore this schedule 1 species may be photographed without licence as it is no longer at or near the nest.)

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May 2023


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