Christmas reading - article in Eesti Päevaleht / EPL about the tagged cranes and their migration. Like Tõnn among GSEs, a young crane has managed to astonish the experts.
Estonian article at http://www.epl.ee/artikkel/589762
EPL Eesti Päevaleht December 23, 2010.
Author: Ulvar Käärt Crane who flew to Turkey brings surprising new information for Christmas
Now it has been proved that young cranes can manage their first trip to the south on their own.
The young cranes who were equipped with satellite transmitters on their backs in July and August, to allow their migration to be monitored, have made the best possible Christmas gift to our ornithologists by providing a great number of new facts that certainly were unexpected to the bird investigators.
Of the three crane youngsters – Juula, Ahja and Rasina – the last-named has offered the scientists the most excitement. To start with Rasina made the crane specialists raise surprised eyebrows when it turned out that this young crane set course on Turkey quite alone; she has been moving around there since October.
Ornithologist Alar Leito from the University of Life Sciences in Tartu, who keeps a watchful eye on the movements of our cranes notes that until now it has been considered as a fact that young cranes make their first autumn migration to the south together with their parents, and in a flock with other cranes. „The flocks of cranes usually don’t break up until just before the spring migration. But now it turns out that it may also be otherwise and the actual migraton model for for cranes has become much more complicated.”, Alvar Leito explained. The fact that Rasina made the migration journey on her own has been confirmed by bird-watchers in Ukraine as well as in Turkey who have travelled to observe and photograph the lonely bird in her whereaboutsUnexpected wintering location
In addition to the fact that thanks to Rasina it was confirmed for the first time that cranes can fly to the south successfully on their own already in their first year, much excitement has been created among experts by the individual and instinctive choice of migration path. „The migration pathways of cranes have always run straight across the Black Sea, from the Crimea to Turkey, and from there on to the south: thus across central and eastern Turkey. Rasina however arrived at the western edge of Istanbul from the Odessa area in the Ukraine, moving along the western shore of the Black Sea; this path has never been observed before”, Alvar Leito told us. „All current data prove that a young crane can migrate on its own just by following its inner instinct, because Rasina flew in a straight line from Odessa to near Istanbul, that is, to the south.”
To top it all comes the fact that Rasina has remained in Turkey. Until now none of our Estonian or the Finnish cranes have been known to winter in Turkey, they have only passed through there.
If Rasina is going to spend Christmas in the Bilecki county near Istanbul, then Juula and Ahja – coming from Aivar Leito’s own home area, Elistvere – have made a preliminary stop in Croatia. Aivar Leito believes that if the weather there too becomes wintry they will set course towards Tunisia, going across the Mediterranean and the „boot” of Italy.