The entire world has been going gaga over the season premiers of “The Walking Dead”. So I just modified Rick Grimes opening lines for this week’s highlight. I have missed the bird over the years and i have always told myself, “Not today, Not tomorrow but i will find you”, that day was 12th November 2016. The day i had some great views and decent shots of Siberian Cranes in Shanghai and saving myself a trip to Lake Poyang.
On Saturday morning, me and Russell were on our way to the Changxing pier to board the Vehicle ferry for the river crossing. To our shock and surprise, there were vehicles queuing up for atleast 2 kms for the first ferry. There was an accident couple of weeks ago at the pier, a family of four were killed when they were trying to board the ferry. So extra precautions were made, that is only driver can drive the car on to the ferry, rest of the passengers have to alight their vehicle and walk to the ferry. This has double/tripled the amount of embarking time. After a full 3 hours we were finally in Hengsha.
Reclamation workers were very active in the southern tip of the island. Still lots of shorebirds around but majority were Kentish Plovers, Lesser Sand Plovers, Dunlins and wintering Spotted Redshanks. Russell spotted couple of Tundra Swans in the grass and when we stopped to inspect the odd flock, we found some other 3 odd blokes. Closer inspection revealed, they were indeed the CRITICALLY ENDANGERED “Siberian Cranes“. Among the 15 species of Cranes in Planet Earth, Siberian Cranes are the most threatened.
Falling under the IUCN red-list, the Eastern breeding population of Siberian Cranes constitute 98% of the global population with mere 3200-4000 birds. Lake Poyang of Jiangxi province is their stronghold during winter. Below is a wintering flock photographed by Roger Theo Timmermann at Lake Poyang during February 2014.
After waiting for 3 ridiculous hours for a 5 minute boat ride, we were content with the sighting of this phenomenal birds which is heading towards a bleak future. The support cast included good no of Bewick’s Swan, Eurasian and Black-faced Spoonbills.
This year is once again going to be a good winter for Northern Lapwings. We counted 100+ birds resting behind small stones for cover during the early morning harsh and cold wind.
Back at Nanhui, photographers have tamed couple of Thrushes and they were literally walking around me during the dusk.
I dropped off Russell at the sea wall, as he was trying to get his bogey bird off the list. He made good use of the golden hour’s golden light and patiently scoured through every single waterfowl. His patience was finally paid off as he picked up a single “Baikal Teal” in eclipse plumage. As he pointed out on our way back to Shanghai, the feeling of getting a monkey off the back is priceless. Well, two monkeys were off my back.