Monday 9 September 2019

Crane by the skin of my teeth!

Mid-morning I was sitting in the seawatching hide at Flamborough and I got a message from Duncan Bye saying he'd just found a Crane on the Pool at Wheldrake. As the passage of seabirds was slowing, I decided to pack up and head back to York to see if I could see the bird. I have seen quite a few Cranes in the York area over the years, but never at Wheldrake Ings, so I was keen to see this. However, I needed to be home by 12.30pm and it was a long walk to the Pool; it would be touch and go, or rather, tick and run! I arranged with Duncan that if the Crane flew, he would call...

For the next hour and a half it seemed as if every tractor, lorry, horse-drawn-cart, milk float, cycling group, horse, caravan and ice cream van was also heading west along the York road. It was like an evacuation of the moderately paced. The journey was wracked with frustration and impatience - cars always bring out the worst in me - but I eventually made it into the Wheldrake car park, where I removed unwanted clothing layers and put on my trainers. Donning birding optics, I then began the long run to the Pool Hide...

The blazing sun was frazzling me, my scope clattering me about the head and the riverside track stretched on and on. I left several bemused Sunday strollers in the dust; they must have been wondering what an earth the rush was all about. Nevertheless, I soon got down to the Pool, panting and sweating profusely. Entering the hide and there, statuesque in the shallow water, stood the stately, majestic Crane.

Nearby, looking diminutive in this towering presence, were several Grey Herons and Little Egrets allowing great size comparison.

The Crane waded around in the shallows, did a few wing stretches, and fantastically, some evocative calls.  Two Greenshank fed in the water too.

After only a few minutes, the Crane took to the air, after a rather nimble run, did a few circuits of the Pool and then flapped leisurely away to the north. What a breathtaking bird and a real treat to see on the patch. And despite the tractors and lorries and the long run, I had made it, if only by the skin of my teeth!


No comments: