Thursday, 7 March 2013

Grues in the News

Out of the sun...

This weekend's influx of cranes moved La Nouvelle République to include an article in Thursday's Touraine Est edition with some interesting facts along with the usual purple prose. My attempt at a translation follows.
When the common cranes pass by ...
After a dreary winter, one looks out for all possible signs of the return of spring. And in that matter, nature has been particularly generous in the last few days. Numerous Tourangeaux have been able, notably on Monday afternoon, to observe impressive flights of cranes on spring migration.
"more than a metre long and with a wingspan up to 2.4 metres"
Several thousand of these big birds (more than a metre long and with a wingspan up to 2.4 metres), crossed the skies of Touraine on Monday afternoon, provoking marvelling comments from those who had the luck to see them. "Superb and extraordinary", "Grand spectacle", "It's magical, nature!", one could hear from witnesses, their eyes riveted towards the sky. Every year, it's the same ritual: the common cranes (Grus grus), which have wintered in southern Spain and Morocco, fly back to their nest sites (Denmark, Scandinavia, Poland, Russia) following a corridor about 200km wide which crosses our region via Indre, Cher, southern Loir-et-Cher and the Loiret, brushing Indre-et-Loire, where it is not rare to see flights. What is much more, by contrast, is the scale the phenomenon took this year.The atmospheric conditions of these last few days (strong east winds) have effectively shifted to the west the course of the birds.
The migration began in mid-February in Spain where it reached an end, according to observations, last Sunday. In Indre-et-Loire, the first flights were spotted on 18th and 20th February. After, nothing more, or almost, until Sunday, when about fifty cranes were seen near Villeperdue [not counting the ones we saw].
And it was Monday when the major part of the troupe passed by. The first sightings took place about 12:30 at Bossay-sur-Claise, the last at Neuillé-Pont-Pierre at 8pm. Between these times, several thousand birds flew over the Tours area, notably in the end of the afternoon. On Tuesday, a few latecomers (the gruppetto?) followed the peloton at a good distance.
God speed big birds!
At the same time, one could have seen several dozen white storks, notably over the Bretonnières lake at Joué-les-Tours, and some greylag geese.
Definitely, that has the whiff of spring! Except for the swallows: we must wait a little longer for them...

And not stopping for a weather check!!


Susan said...

And yesterday the European Orchard Bee males emerged from our back door. It will only be a day or two before the females are out too.

Tim said...

Just don;t tell them about next week's weather forecast.... P.