This is a wonderful time of year and the weather has begun to turn Springlike.
We are lucky to be on the edge of the migratory route (The Western flyway) of the Cranes (Les Grus) and over the last couple of days have seen and heard them flying over on their way north to their breeding grounds. It’s quite uplifting after the long, grey days of winter and I find myself listening out for them. Their call is quite distinctive and when 100’s of them are “en vol” overhead, you cannot miss them.
This is a sure sign that Spring is indeed on the way and this year they’re earlier than they were last year. I am not sure how they know, but they know. It really is a fantastic sight as 100’s and 1000’s of them skein across the sky. It’s several years since I have witnessed so many and in such beautiful weather. A few years back somehow they were off route for a warm spring day, and we watched for an hour or more as 1000’s headed up the valley towards us in skein after skein.
I threw on some clothes and rushed outside and scanned the lightening sky. The sound was getting closer and seemed to be coming from behind the house.
As I watched they appeared over the roof heading south, a V formation of cranes with the leader emitting this unmistakeable call.
The crane migration of spring, usually the last week of February, is one of the most awesome sights in Europe. In a good year there can be hundreds of thousands of birds going over on the same day and they literally darken the sky. But the return in autumn is more fragmented and some years we don’t see them at all.
The appearance of the common cranes – grus grus in French – are one of the signposts of the changing season. In February they return from their winter home, giving me hope (by now thoroughly fed up with wearing thick woollen tights and two jumpers) that warm, sunny weather is on its way.
Looking forward to seeing more over the next few weeks and the deep blue sky is welcome to stay too.