Monday, 19 March 2007

Common Crane, Cropredy, Oxon. 17th March 2007

Off to Cropredy, Oxon today to see the Common Crane that has been feeding in flooded fields just NNE of the village. On the drive up i counted at least 19 Red Kites from home to the M40 and another 12 around the Aston Rowant area. On arrival at the location i soon met a few Bucks birders including Mike Collard who helps run the Buckinghamshire Badger Group, sadly Mike had found a dead Badger on the side of the road and deduced that it was probably a pregnant sow.
The Common Crane was feeding on the far side of the flooded fields alongside Appletree road SP475482; it continually searched for food through the long grass and only stopped briefly to preen and scan the fields.
Their favoured diet is plant material such as agricultural crops but will also eat insects, snails, worms, frogs etc. They breed on large areas of marshland, bogs, fields and meadows with water nearby and use large wetland and agricultural areas for roosting during winter. The largest breeding area of Common Cranes is found in the North-east of Europe and at the end of summer many of these birds will migrate South to Spain, North Africa and the Middle East.
A Little Owl was also present, sat in a tree sunning itself in the afternoon sun, 3 Fieldfare flew over, 2 Stock Doves were chasing each other round the trees, Skylarks could be heard singing from high above and a small flock of Pied Wagtails gathered together around the pools of water in the fields. 9 Mute Swans were also in the field with the Crane. Although the sun was shinning it was incredibly windy and after a couple of hours watching the Crane i decided to make my way home.

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