TRACKERS TO BE ATTACHED TO 20 BLUE CRANES IN THE OVERBERG
Posted on the 4th May 2015
(This report was taken from the April Newsletter of the Wakkerstroom Bird Club – great news for our Blue Cranes. - Ed.)
A BIG change…
On the 4th May, begins a new chapter in my life and who would have thought, at this stage in my years I would have been fortunate enough to get such an opportunity! I will be departing for Bredasdorp in the Cape for the rest of this year to get a project underway which will give us an idea of how and if the Blue Cranes of that area move much, i.e. local migration, where their roost sites are and what their preferences are from a crop point of view, to feed on, it is also to “build bridges” with the farmers who have always been positive about having the cranes around – and remember, they have huge flocks on their lands – due mainly to the great work done years ago through the EWT field officer we had there for a number of years, Vicki Hudson. And finally I will be monitoring breeding pairs as in about September. Tanya together with people from ADU and CapeNature will catch adults to attach trackers to 20 cranes which of course will then give much needed and exciting information. This will be the first time trackers have been attached to cranes in this country.
So it is exciting and I think a burst of new people and places in my life will give me a much needed injection of enthusiasm. If anyone is visiting that area, perhaps going to the spring flower delight or elsewhere, you are welcome to give me a call and perhaps overnight en route.
I will keep in touch through this newsletter about what is going on in the Overberg area and let you know if my Blue Crane conversational skills are improving!
Of course, that poor province does not enjoy the thrill of seeing a massive, majestic Wattled Crane striding across the veld or the fun of watching the comical and ever active Grey Crowned Cranes prancing and dancing, jumping and communicating with their “so Africa” calls! Oh well, so be it, will just have to keep in mind what our grasslands present for us and know on my return next year, I will once again enjoy all of that!
Keep well everyone and enjoy the winter!!!! Mine will be wet but probably not as cold! And………
A final Crane report …..So the 2014/15 season ended with 6 Grey Crowned Crane juveniles fledged from this wetland and six from the Groenvlei wetland. Not a bad return I guess. Take 50% of them surviving to breeding age and it does not look quite so rosy but hopefully more than that will make it.
Ann and I had a lovely Saturday morning some weeks ago. I was determined to get to Groenvlei once more as on the last visit we had seen 3 pairs with 5 young between them and I was sure at least some of them would be flying. And guess what, we saw the three pairs – each with two chicks and all of them had fledged! It was wonderful!
The Blue Cranes are beginning to gather in flocks which seem very early but as everything appears mixed up, I don’t get too surprised anymore! There was a flock of around 42 that had five juveniles with them as well as two of their enormous Wattled Crane cousins – always a delight to see. And I have seen a flock of over 40 Crownies on a few occasions – so yes, this seems to say, winter is approaching.
It was not the best Blue Crane breeding season I have ever recorded – somewhat disappointing as a farewell blast for me to leave on! But I guess there are always seasons that do not live up to expectations and as long as it is say, weather related, that could be totally different again next season – if is environmentally related, that would be more serious – so hoping for a bumper crop next season.
(Images by Craig Adam, Carin Malan and Anton Odendal of BirdLife Overberg).