Searching for and monitoring the Sarus Crane in lowland Nepal and on the Indian plains have been richly rewarding. Winters are particularly exciting as our field associates encounter wintering visitors in the SarusScapes.
This winter, we had two wonderful surprises in the form of migratory crane species. In Rupandehi district of lowland Nepal, while on an outing with Kailash – our indefatigable field associate in lowland Nepal – a single Demoiselle Crane was spotted hanging out with a Sarus flock. The tallest flying bird in the world alongside the smallest crane species made for a picture of contrasts, yet somehow nothing could be more normal. Demoiselles were not known previously to winter in these fields, and we are hoping this singleton is a sign of large flocks to come.
We initiated monitoring work in Jhajjar district in Haryana, India in 2016, with the excitable and talented Sonu leading the field charge. Sonu loves selfies but also has a keen eye for unusual bird species. On the first day of the New Year, he spotted, and photographed, a small flock of birds that were new to him. They turned out to be Common, or Eurasian, Cranes! Haryana used to host flocks of this species regularly, particularly in Sultanpur National Park, but their use of the agricultural fields was not known. With Sonu now working full time, we will know if the cranes come back regularly to winter in this SarusScape.
Story submitted by Dr. Gopi Sundar, SarusScape Program Director for the International Crane Foundation. Click here to learn more about our work in South/Southeast Asia.