These cranes resting on a harvested patch in northeastern Germany. In this region, the cranes stay for approximately 4 weeks in fall before heading to the south of France and Spain to spend the winter in those warmer areas.
This year we saw plenty of birds, but only few of them were adolescents. The last two years were hard for them because they need wetlands to find food and also for protecting their nests from predators like foxes. The two last years were very hot compared with the usual summers. The months of summer also lacked rain. And the last winter was also way too dry so that the reservoirs were not properly refilled before the next hot summer started.
This hot summer ended way earlier than the last one, although the temperatures were much higher. We cracked the 40°C mark. While the highest measured temperature in 2018 was 39°C (36°C where I live), we got 43°C this year where I live. In 2018 the fall started in about mid-November, while it started this year by the end of July to get back to our ‘normal’ summerly weather and even fall started early. Up to now, we have several wet weeks again. No hard rain, but much of spray-rain and drizzling. Showers every now and then. I really hope, this will be enough to refill the natural reservoirs.
Recently, Leanne Cole published an image in her blog, which impressed me much.
I tried to get a similar image with one of the images taken during my latest trip 3 weeks ago to Zingst and the wonderful wild forest in the National Park “Nationalpark Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft”. I love that region for nearly 30 years.
Amazing nature, zillions of interesting locations from a photographic perspective, and usually not that many people. You can still find calm places, despite its much more crowded than in the early 1990s when I first came to that region. You know, most of the German baltic sea coast used to belong to the GDR. So, it was quite impossible for someone from the FRG to come here for a vacation or a photo trip. The state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was formed after the GDR collapsed in 1990 and joined FRG.
It’s definitely autumn now. Last night at least 2 troops of cranes flew over our house and heading south.
The image above is taken about 3 weeks ago. They were resting near the baltic sea. In that area, they stay for about 4 weeks. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t that good for wildlife photography. But, I’m happy for having seen them again. This time, my wife was with me. She isn’t in photography and not interested in observing wildlife. But, she was also very impressed.
Cranes flee very easy. They have a fleeing distance of about 300 m. And you better not disturb them, because every flight needs energy and they need the energy for their next long-distance flight to the south to their destinations in southern France and Spain. So, either be in the observing place before the cranes come (that’s long before sunrise) and stay there until they left (after sunset) or observe them from a distance (also from a hide).
What I noticed this year was, there were not many adolescents with the adults. You now, they only have one or a maximum of two eggs in a season. But this fall, most of the adults hadn’t had any kid. The most probable reason is the two hot summers and the dry winter between them. So, the wetlands weren’t wet which results in unsafe nest places and less food.