The cranes have left


Every spring the big cranes (Grus grus) arrives at a lake in Southern Sweden for a rest on their long flight from Spain to the Scandinavian wilderness. And every autumn they arrive again, on their flight back south. I made a short post about the cranes at Lake Hornborga in spring (or I actually made a post mainly about the swans at the crane lake), and a blogging friend just asked me if they were on their way south now. Yes, they are. They have just left this part of Norway. I have heard their trumpet sounds for weeks now, from a local gathering place near to were I live. Now it is quiet. Just the sounds from some geese, resting on their way south from Svalbard.



I just checked with a site that makes daily statistics about the cranes at lake Hornborga and it is almost 10.000 of these birds there now, in addition to other migrating birds. When I was there in April there were from 22.000 to 24.000 cranes by the lake. If you know the voice of the big cranes, you can imagine the sound. There are more photos in my cranes photo gallery. And I have just collected some videoclips and pictures in a video from my visit:

<p><a href=”″>Hornborgasjön – The cranes at Lake Hornborga</a> from <a href=”″>Bente Haarstad</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>




67 thoughts on “The cranes have left

  1. Bente, I love the cranes!
    We have some here, too. They winter about 30 miles from me and I go visit them four or five times while they are here. Then they leave and go up through Canada, into Alaska, and sometimes even over to Russia.
    Their call is so beautiful! There is just nothing like it. Thanks for the photos. I will blog about our cranes in a few months. They arrive mid November and stay until late February.


  2. These look like sandhill cranes, but I’m not sure. I’ve seen them doing their mating dance in the Queen Charlotte Islands. Would love to have had a video of that but I felt lucky just to be able to sneak up close to them through the woods and see them just beyond there in the open on the tidal flats. Wonderful to see. I love to hear them calling as they fly over. But I’ve never seen so many in one place as your photos and videos show. This is a fantastic post, Bente. Absolutely wonderful!!


    1. Cranes are so wartchful in nature, it is hard to get close to them. Except in this place (and probably the same at their resting place in Germany, Rügen?). Here they are in a nature reserve and their space is surrounded by fences. Actually the cranes often get quite close to the fences, they have probably learned that they are protected, that nobody will trespass. It was quite a shock to see all these birds!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I forgot to mention that they fly something like 500 km in a day! Probably don’t have time to make a stop, or maybe they will some day. I guess you hear the sounds sometimes. It is nice too, and to see them up there. Thanks Margaret.


    1. We probably were there about the same time, Leya. I looked at your post, and you have some lovely pictures from this big occation. We were a small group driving for almost 10 hours to be there in time just before sunrise and the cranes flying in. Wow, exciting.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. In spring the make us happy when they arrive, and now they make us a bit sad, since we know what happens when they leave. But nature is always interesting and fascinating. Thanks Plant Girl.


  3. Gorgeous pictures and this video… wow, loud and clear!
    I just love the fifth picture with the ‘stranger’ on the foreground, looking a bit annoyed with all the noise behind him 🙂


  4. Wonderful images Bente. They are so beautiful with their long necks and elegant shape.

    I can only imagine how loud the sound must be. Once again, how lucky you are to view and experience this amazing migration.

    Thanks for sharing with us.


    1. As far as I know the cranes in (Northern) Europe is no quite ok, after a decline in 1960s and 1970s. This feeding on their resting place and were they stay during winter (Spain) is important for the population, as far as I know. Thanks for your comment, Wilderness.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the shot with the other photographers in it. I got up early the other morning and went down to the beach to shoot the lunar eclipses but the real photo was all the other photographers doing the same thing.


    1. Julie, I don’t know where you are in the US, but very similar cranes come to several places in the West. The Bosque del Apache in south-central NM is the BEST. Whitewater Draw in SE Arizona is very good. And they also gather along the Platte River in Nebraska on their way north or south. FABULOUS to visit with them! I am headed out to WWD in Arizona in the next week and will have a blog post about them soon.


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