Demoiselle Crane
17 Oct

Epical Migration watch!

It was wonderful to see the sight of birds migration. When I was planning a trip to Upper Mustang, the transhimalayan region, a popular trekking destination and great place to see the migration of Demoiselle Crane and other species of birds. Instead, had to go to my home town in west Nepal and was blessed with the migration sight! Seeing them in Mustang is totally different with the mountains and amazing landscapes. At the same time it’s very challenging for the Cranes, keeping them safe from Golden Eagle predation and hunted by human, where they rest after long migration and some may need some rest to recover.

Flying in large numbers, amazing patterns

Demoiselle Crane Grus virgo, that we call it Karyang Kurung, is a migrating bird and every year they fly down to South in Rajasthan of India from Mongolia. After spending their winter, they fly back to their breeding ground in Mongolia and China.

Taking lead on migration

Demoiselle Crane is the smallest Crane, among other cranes and is 90-100cm and 70-80cm tall with some 70cm of wingspan. The plumage is similar to Common Crane. Mostly grey, white stripe from the eyes with black head and neck. The black plumage extends to its chest.

Flying together

I heard that, this area in west Nepal is also their eventual flyway but was not expecting to see them from the comfort but from a bit farther west where I was. When I was thinking, time permitting to go a bit west to get a chance of seeing them. My brother did say, seeing and hearing them recently and in the past. Anyway I just went to the rooftop, got the chair and sat with my 15 years nephew Nishant, hoping this to witness the amazing sight of migration- winged migration!

Good way to fly

And there I was excited to see the dark moving objects, far in the north-west horizon, that started to become more clear that those were the Demoiselle Crane flock. That was a wow moment already as they approached and passed us well over our head, though a lot high in the sky. And just behind another flock appeared one after another. One of the largest flocks, that I estimated could have some 1-2k individuals. Oh, MG! What a sight and sound as I heard the trumpeting sounds also. The pattern how they were maintaining was amazing, big circle, big lines with many in between and changing their positions as they take turn to be in front. That was one of the best migration sight I have ever seen in large numbers in my life so far. And we witnessed 9 flocks of all different numbers of crane, just afternoon within half and hours of time span. That is something I will always cherish in my mind and heart.

That was a great moment for me, so excited and seer joy that I could not explain! Moment of my life!

I watched for three times, all in the afternoon after 4pm to about half an hour and one hour time only. Did try in the morning and other time, but did not see them as they have been reported seen migrating from late morning, during the day and afternoon in Mustang but here it was just afternoon for. First day for me was on 13th Oct, when the Cranes were seen for half an hour and next day it was a bit later after 4.40pm and on 3rd day saw just 4 small flocks, that were seen far and could just make it out. The total number estimated were some 5-6k. And after I left the place, as I had to return to Kathmandu, I asked my nephew to keep an eye. He tried another 3 days but reported not seeing them, as the most of the Cranes might have reached their destination and many also taking different flyway to get to their destination. Which ever flyway they take, hope their epical journey continues and same time their survival rate is well, so that they get back to their breeding ground to start a new family, the legacy may always remain, always for forever!

Happy migration season of birds!

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