Late September.

Driving home from the city after a long day.

Deep in thought.

Suddenly the traffic in front of me starts to slow… in the distance I see something moving right on the edge of the road.

Hope it’s not an animal that’s been run over.

No, it’s a bird… a heron?


A peacock?


Now I’m near enough to see clearer and as I cruise by slowly I can’t believe my eyes.

This is what I see:

I can’t believe it! Crested cranes!

Three Grey Crowned Cranes, to be precise.

Of course, as is always the case when something like this happens, I have no camera with me, and there is nowhere to stop at the side of the road. Traffic right behind me. So this picture is courtesy of Wikipedia!

When I researched to identify what they were, I kept reading that this East African bird – national bird of Uganda – does not migrate. So why were they here? Near the River Danube? They must have come from a wildlife park…?


I have since discovered that Common Cranes, which come down from Scandinavia, quite frequently spend the winter months in northern parts of Germany rather than flying further south… Here there are mild marshy resting places.

News, 3rd February 2012: Around 15,000 cranes have been overwintering in parts of northern Germany due to the mild winter. However, at the beginning of the week, as the cold front from Eastern Europe approached, they were seen in large numbers flying south-west and south towards southern France and Spain…

before it got really cold. Clever, huh?