(This note first appeared in Grus Grapevine, May 2011, the e-newsletter of the African Crane Conservation Programme of the Endangered Wildlife Trust. It is by Nandipha Thobela, the new Field Officer of the ACCP in the Overberg. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – Ed.)
Summer or Winter ?
In the Western Cape a season shift is marked by the land use change, you need not know it’s summer, autumn or winter or spring by looking at the calendar; But simply by a glance at the landscape transformation pertaining to agricultural land. As we proceed into the wet winter most of the previously stubble fields have now been cultivated and sown, the land is rolling with green lush pastures and this is where one can find the Blue Crane. The birds are congregating in huge flocks. The terrestrial birds are widely distributed in the different camps, and last week I counted my largest flock yet; it was 90 birds feeding in one camp. There is a lot of activity on the farms but the birds don’t seem to be phased by this. Parts of the Overberg area have been receiving a reasonable amount of rain, thus filling up most of the small and large pans; one can attribute this together with the landscape change as the reason for the widespread distribution of the birds this time of year. I am not sure yet where the birds go to during a rainy day because I hardly see them in the open fields, I certainly hope they do not assemble underneath trees as one has thoroughly learnt from experience how dim-witted this action can be! Be it summer or winter.