By Evan Eifler
A few weeks ago I spent a day in the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (SMA) on the Agulhas Plain. Driven by the farmers in the area, this incredible initiative has led to the protection of vast tracts of wetlands and natural veld which provides habitat for an abundance of wildlife including bontebok, eland, red hartebeest, even a quagga rebreeding project, while still maintaining agricultural productivity. But what the SMA is most known for is the birdlife. (www.nuwejaars.com)
So, after months of searching, I finally found my first banded (ringed) Blue Crane on the SMA. I submitted the band colours and positioning to CapeNature and here’s what I found: This is the first time she has been spotted since she hatched on a farm called Bladen outside of Caledon where she and her siblings were banded on January 24th, 2006.
This makes her eight years old and sexually mature. It is likely that at least one of the juvenile cranes in the photo is her own.
Cranes often breed as solitary pairs on farms in the Overberg during the spring and summer months and then congregate on the Agulhas Plain where they spend the winter in large flocks. This crane is likely doing the same, though, for now, we don’t know where she breeds.
So to you, Crane, I say don’t be a stranger and keep on keepin’ on!
Evan Eifler is a volunteer postgraduate student representing the OCG.