Early morning at 6:15-8:30

Apr. 9, 2013, at 6:15-8.30

Being quite early, I expected more activity than the two foregoing days, but it was almost less activity than yesterday, most of the cranes were foraging vigorously. The sound level was high, constant and active. Most cranes had arrived at the feeding ground, but there were still cranes arriving from the roost and later one could clearly hear cranes from afar, about southwest of the feeding ground. There was a new sound that was prevalent, almost constant, a low cro-cro-cro. I suppose it might be the pre-copulation- and copulation calls. When turning on the video cam, I zoomed right in on a copulation. The pre-strut, strut and parading occurred here and there, but were not prevalent, like the other days.

After a while, I noticed a parade pose in the back, and I started to film the couple. As I was dealing with the camera, I didn’t see directly, but the time that elapsed was so short, that I don’t think the parade pose ended in a full copulation. I followed the couple for a long time. They were parading, alternating with long sequences of ritual maintainence acts. In one parading sequence they walked along, the bird in front stops, turning the side towards the second bird, which walks up and passes the first bird. They continue to walk, now with the second bird in front. After another switch of order, turning direction and yet another switch of order, the bird in front stops and take the parade pose. The bird behind walks up and when it is just behind, and one expects the bird in wing-spread to tilt forward and the arriving bird to tread up on the back of the other, the bird in front turns 180 degrees and faces the arriving bird in vertical position. After that the parading continued including the sequences of ritual maintenance acts.

Around 7:15 Ulf arrived to feed the cranes.

After feeding the birds were scattered and stayed somewhat scattered, until I left. They pair that I followed, coincided with another pair and there was some duetting (unison calls), and some ruffle-bow-up and ruffle-bow-down. Somewhere along this I lost the couple.

As the sun came out over Pulken, the activity seemed somewhat raised, but not much. Around this time there were frequent duetting, and another distinct call. Still the low cro-cro-croing, but not as constant. Spare occurrences of ruffle-bow-up and ruffle-bow-down. A couple of occurrences of bill-to-breastithout any ruffle.

Just before I was leaving, there were some activity out to the left of the field. Several birds raised to semi-vertical, opening their wings forming a concave form. Soon after, I noticed a fox in the grass moving quite hurried over the tussocks, it might have been in a retreating mode. At the time I observed the fox, the cranes around were calm doing business as usual.