Sep 23, 2009

Sandhill crane...refreshes the place other birds cannot reach

It had been pourin like the flood on and off al day. On the met office weather site I was watching a break in the clouds coming in towards the afternoon so I saddled up and took my chance. On arriving in at5 the bottom end of the south parish I spoke to a couple of birders who both told me it had been about an hour ago and had been flighty, they pointed me towards Liddle loch tho. I know the place fairly well having fished and walked it for thirty odd years. It is cris crossed by tracks and rights of way. The first place I stopped to scan over the loch and fields beside it produced the Crane. Its in preening with a small flock of Blackbacks…right enough I am a lucky dog and this dog was about to have his day (for a change)
I took the road up to Banks and parked up by the café. You could scope the bird from there but I thought I would get closer.
Below me half a mile away down on the shore other birders were getting a good view sheltered behind some stone dyke. I made my way down to the cliffs and then the shore. Using the slope of the storm beach for cover I made my way along to the dykes and joined the small throng. Although the bird was a bit off and the wind was whistling about a bit I managed to get a fine view and a few snaps. At times it was settled right down and at others it was preening away. It showed a lot of character though and strutted about a couple of times pushing away through the gulls.
All too soon it was up and away whether it was the two birders approaching from the other side of the loch, or the flight of ducks that came in at that time I don’t ken. I did see two Bonxies cross the space and they didn’t put it up tho.
Never mind once its gone its gone. What did impress me was once it was away dozens of birders stood up and exposed them self’s (not literally) I could see a few from my spot but they emerged from ditches and folds in the ground. They were every where along the shore side. Quite a sight for Orkney where you are often unlikely to see another scope all day.
I haven’t been out birding for ages and quite gotten out of the way of it. I am glad to say I feel quite refreshed and keen again…I might even get this blog back on line again....mega

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