The last stronghold of the crane

Thomson’s Falls, Nyahururu. Below: A flock of Grey-crowned cranes at Lake Ol Bolossat. PHOTO| RUPI MANGAT

What you need to know:

  • A bird of the wetlands, Morrison reveals that the Grey-crowned crane population has crashed by 80 per cent in the last two decades as wetlands are drained to pave way for buildings, farms and roads – yet our very existence depends on wetlands functioning as sponges to soak in the rain and release it gradually into the rivers and lakes.
  • “From January to June the cranes raise their young,” Ndung’u continues. “From July to December they are breeding, laying their nests deep in the swamps.”
  • A beautiful greyish bird with dark black tips on the wing flies close to the ground. It is a Pallid harrier – a bird of the open plains and marshes. It flies low to surprise its prey – things like lizards, mice and even small birds.

It’s busy, busy, busy. 500 Grey-crowned cranes are pecking for grains in front of us in the recently harvested wheat field by the shores of Lake Ol Bolossat, stretched in the shadows of the Aberdares.

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