|Common Crane March 22nd 2000|
|This was one of those
sightings created by chance and the decision to quickly
check Eakring Flash to see if there was anything of
interest. I had parked the car along the Eakring to
Wellow minor road, at a regularly used vantage point
directly overlooking the water. The weather was fine and
generally sunny, indeed pleasantly warm for mid-March.
After scanning the water, I was just casually standing
for "another five minutes" when a large bird
drifted into view from the Bilsthorpe direction.
Large wings, long legs and an outstretched neck indicated a Common Crane or White Stork, but with the bird initially silhouetted by the combination of sunlight and clear, blue sky, it's identification had to wait several more seconds before the light became more favourable and allowed detail to be seen. It was indeed a Common Crane and an adult. The bird was at no real height and drifted north-east over Eakring Flash, circled part of the Leyfields area and began to gain height, before continuing to drift off north-east. A likely roosting place would have been Lound, but there were no further reports later that day.
Spring 2000 was notable for the influx of Common Cranes into the UK, including eight reported sightings of birds within Nottinghamshire alone. The previous day had seen two birds over Attenborough NR, then a gap until another at Cotham Flash on April 1st. Further records followed until the last report on April 15th at Stoke Bardolph.
Yes this was initially an exciting record, then somewhat disappointing because White Stork was absent from the area list and I had seen the two Common Cranes at Kersall a few years previously. However, it still represents one of the rarest birds the area has so far produced.