Has winter arrived already?

Not sure what it is like elsewhere but wow, here in Wakkerstroom we are feeling the chill of winter very close. Today, as has been this week, 6th April when we should be enjoying mild, clear, lovely days, the maximum temperature is just 16 deg – and again it has been a heavily overcast, drizzly day. I love this sort of weather normally but can do without the cold that has come with this spell. I mean, if it rained properly that would be more than acceptable as it has been a low rainfall summer.
And one wonders what the animals do when it is so chilly. The grasslands are littered with very small, new white lambs – the pre-winter batch, but surely such cold is not expected – hope they make it. The farmers reasoning is that the lambs born now are by winter, old enough to withstand the cold and those that make it are strong animals!

The cranes? Well they are – somewhere! The Grey Crowned Cranes of the Wakkerstroom wetland are mostly still here with juveniles although probably not for much longer but the Blues – three times, in 3 different directions over 5 days, I went looking for at least small flocks and in the hopes of seeing youngsters with them – and except for one pair with a fledged young still in their breeding site, I did not see any cranes! They of course are somewhere but this is when the longing for a really good trailer bearing a microlight is to the fore of my thoughts!

‘til Anon

“A large flock of cranes I saw last year had a number of young birds as in the picture, most of which were together in one part of the lands”

About Glenn Ramke

Nearly 18 years ago I moved from Johannesburg to live in the sleepy little town of Wakkerstroom, Mpumalanga. Little did I know then that my life would turn into a love affair with those lovely big birds that grace the grasslands – cranes. Our SA National bird the Blue Crane adds even more beauty to the extensive highveld grasslalnds and the sometime comic and much loved Grey Crowned Cranes are many visitors’ favourites. And on occasions even a majestic Wattled Crane may be seen. So this long spell with the EWT-Cranes entitles me to the title of “matriarch” amongst my very dear colleagues.
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2 Responses to Has winter arrived already?

  1. Lesley Frescura says:

    It’s drizzly in Durban but temperature of 27o and high humidity still. Juvenile Black Sparrowhawk in the garden, and just watched a Puffback Shrike poking around in the Natal Wild Plum tree. Comment for the day from someone who has lived in Westville for over 40 years is that the Vervet Monkeys have predated so on fledglings and eggs that many birds have disappeared altogether. Any similar concerns elsewhere?

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