AUTUMN MIGRATION: EURASIAN CRANE COMPLETES MIGRATION FROM ESTONIA TO ETHIOPIA
Posted by addisethiopia on November 13, 2015
My Note: This is a very fascinating phenomenon: According to one biologist’s estimate, more than one in twenty of the migrant birds leaving Europe for Africa. These migratory birds travel freely, without any border restriction; no government permission, no passport, no visa, while ‘master’ of the animal kingdom, a humanbeing is told by fellow humans not to enter into a particular country – just like Europe deliberately flooding its lands with Islamic invaders, while slamming its doors on Africans and Christians.
Stopover: The Mediterranean island of Malta is considered to be a key spot in the migration routes of birds where many birds pass over the islands while they are migrating, both in Autumn and in Spring. Many of these birds only stop by for a short period of time and use Malta as a resting and feeding place during their long journeys. These stops are very important for birds as they allow them to re-gain the energies they need – very curios – just exactly like their human masters (EU and African leaders) who have just met in Malta to try hammer out some “cooperation” to “tackle the migration crisis.” The plan is to provide cash incentives to African governments if they helped speed up the process of deporting illegal immigrants from Europe, and replace them with “skilled” immigration from African countries. BRAIN DRAIN. The arrival of Millions of Syrians and Afghans has currently plunged the EU into crisis, their focus is on tomorrow’s Africa? – memories seem to have faded of the drowned Africans. What a diabolic game!
I sometimes wish birds like Cranes were our leaders and ambassadors.
Researchers from the Estonian University of Life Sciences banded a juvenile Eurasian Cane in Estonia last summer (left). Their goal? To track the young crane on its first autumn migration and study the crane’s behavior and habitats used both during migration and on its wintering grounds.
On July 8, 2013, a young Eurasian Crane named “Ahja 4” was banded and tagged with a satellite transmitter (22 g solar powered leg-band Argos/GPS MTI PTT-100) near Ahja village, Estonia close to its nest site. After banding, Ahja 4 spent its pre-fledging period near its home area within a few kilometers from the nest site. After fledging, Ahja 4 and its family joined the nearest flock of cranes roosting in a raised bog flooded for peat extraction at Meelva, approximately18 km from the nest site. The crane family fed mostly in cereal fields and cultivated grasslands around the Meelva Bog. Ahja 4 began migration on the morning of September 22 and arrived at its wintering location approximately 5,900 km south in Ethiopia on November 20. This wintering site is the southernmost documented wintering location of a satellite-tracked Eurasian Crane.
A special expedition from the Estonian University of Life Sciences, in cooperation with Estonian national TV, visited the wintering area of Ahja 4 at Sululta close to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia between January, 16-26, 2014. The main scientific goal of the expedition was to study the home range, habitat use and behavior of a satellite-tracked crane on the basis of GPS locations. In total, 236 different locations visited by Ahja 4 were described. The crane family fed mainly in agricultural fields (barley, oat, peas, and other crops) and roosted on the river floodplain together with many other waterbirds. According to our counts and information from local people, the size of the crane flock where Ahja 4`s family roosted was ~2,000 birds.
Over two months, Estonian researchers tracked the banded Eurasian Crane, Ahja 4, as it completed it’s first autumn migration between Ahja, Estonia and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
—September 24: Arrives in Vitebsk area in northern Belarus
—September 29: Continues to south of Minsk in central Belarus
—October 16: Flies to southern Belarus very close to Ukrainian border
—October 19: Leaves Belarus and continues south, roosting overnight in central Ukraine, Crimea, and central and southeastern Turkey
—October 23: Arrives at the Hula Valley in northern Israel
—November 10: Leaves the Hula Valley and continues south, with short overnight roosting on the Sinai Peninsula, at Safaga on the Red Sea western coastal uplands, and Kassala River valley in eastern Sudan
—November 15: Arrives at Tana Lake in northern Ethiopia
—November 16: Moves to the east coast of the lake
—November 19: Continues journey to Sululta wintering area and arrives midday on November 20.
Some Notes on Cranes and co.:
Already, towards late October, the undulating flights animate the sky, accompanied by unceasing calls “krou-krou-krou”. The first Common Cranes’ flocks announce the autumnal migration for wintering beneath more clement skies.
Many people see in the cyclic cranes’ migrations a symbol of regeneration. Some attach them to the hyperborean worship, stemming from Greek Mythology. These mythical inhabitants of Northern Europe lived in a country considered as Heaven on Earth. The Common Cranes would be to a certain extent, the messengers of this other universe, “behind the North wind”.
During the migrations, the bird showing the way at the head of the V-shaped flock has in front of him only the unlimited horizon. But the others, in shifted position, also have in front of them the empty space. From time to time, the bird which is in the lead leaves the place to another, and takes again a more modest rank in the flock. The Ancients saw in this game a great sense of responsibility and an obvious democracy symbol
But the Common Crane is not only a symbol. It is also an improved bird, being able to fly at great elevation and on long distances. It invariably follows the same way, a band of a hundred kilometers of width, which leads it in autumn from northern Europe towards France, Spain and North Africa, and return in spring by the same way. The species breeds in northern Europe, Scandinavia, Denmark, Poland, Russia and Siberia.
Wintering sees the flocks stopping in France (Champagne and Landes of Gascogne), and especially in Spain, in Extremadura. A few thousands of birds go to Morocco. Another way of migration leads the flocks to Tunisia and Algeria, coming from Finland. The populations of Central Asia migrate as far as Ethiopia, via the Nile valley, for wintering.
IS Threat to Syria’s Northern Bald Ibis Near Palmyra
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon has offered a reward of $1,000 (£646) for information on the whereabouts of Zenobia (named after the queen of Palmyra), the only remaining bird who knows the migration routes to wintering grounds in Ethiopia.
Egypt last year estimated that continuous nets lined at least 700km of the Egyptian Mediterranean coast during the autumn migration, the only places not intensively netted being military bases and cities. The Egyptian coast is “the world’s biggest bird trap”
Lake Tana – A Paradise for Biodiversity
Unique habitats on the shores of Lake Tana
The Lake Tana region has a high level of biological diversity and is considered part of two biodiversity hotspots: the Eastern Afromontane Hotspot and Horn of Africa Hotspot. Its invaluable ecosystems and habitats are of local and international significance.
Abundant wetlands, swamps, marshes and floodplains are found all around the shores of Lake Tana and its tributaries. Together these form the largest wetland complex in Ethiopia and are of global importance. These are rich natural ecosystems and support many endemic animal and plants species.
The lake is internationally recognised as an Important Bird Area (IBA). Its wetlands provide a habitat for many endemic and migratory bird species which depend on the area for feeding, nesting and roosting. Due to its location at the horn of Africa, the lake is an important stopover and wintering site for many migratory birds on the flyway between Europe, Asia and Africa. The marshes and shallow areas of the lake are some of the most important wintering areas for Central and Northern European migratory bird species including the Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveller and the Black-tailed Godwit. Rare bird species such as the endemic Wattled Crane and Black-crowned Crane also use the wetlands surrounding the lake. Vast undisturbed reedbeds serve as breeding, feeding and roosting sites for these resident crane species and are essential for their survival.
A Unique Underwater Ecosystem
Lake Tana is well known for its unique concentration of endemic fish species due to the lake’s isolation from other water bodies separated by the Tis Issat falls. Approximately 70% of the 67 different fish species recorded in Lake Tana are endemic and the lake is home to the only remaining intact flock of Barbus fish in the world. Hippopotamuses, and reptiles like the Nile Crocodile and Nile Monitor also populate the lake and its surrounding areas. Papyrus, one of the characteristic features of Lake Tana, grows along the lake’s shoreline.
Islands of Biodiversity
There are a few patches of original forest vegetation that have been protected by churches and monasteries in the area. These remnant church forests are islands of biodiversity, providing refuge for well over 100 tree and plant species, many of them indigenous and rare. These sites are invaluable pools of genetic resources for example of wild coffee and field crop varieties.