Common Cranes and Red Kite in Tyringham

Let me go back to the autumns of the past 20 year or more. I regularly visited one of the most attractive national parks of Hungary, the Hortobágy National Park where tens of thousands of Common Cranes stopping over the wetlands of the park before moving to their wintering grounds. I loved that atmosphere as their calls were heard from every directions. I can say I know Common Cranes well enough and love their calls which I am expecting in every autumn no matter where I am in Europe.


Tyringham Hall where the Common Cranes flew over. © György Szimuly

Today I got them. I am not in Hungary but in the Midland UK but I picked them while calling. Even my wife recognised their calls when first heard over the pastures of Tyringham. 5 Common Cranes (3 adults and 2 1Y birds) moved by slow wingbeats from NW direction to SE. I watched them by my Swarovski 10×42 SwaroVision binoculars in perfect weather and acceptable light condition. At the time of watching the cranes I was not aware of its local status but later I realized that this was the 12th known record of Common Crane for Buckinghamshire and I saw the 2nd ‘largest‘ flock ever, based on the local birder, Simon Nichols’s comment. Unfortunately I did not take photos as the camera was not with me while following them. When they disappeared behind the trees I took over the camera from wife but for another reason.


Red Kite chased by Carrion Crows and Western Jackdaws. © György Szimuly

A Red Kite appeared just above me which I hoped to see. A week ago we visited the same site but I had no binocular with me. I saw a thin raptor soaring over me but it was too distant to ID it as a Red Kite. Potentially it was a Red Kite. Today I saw it on the exactly same place. It was chased by Carrion Crows and Western Jackdaws. I could take a record shot of the bird. I was also happy by two migrating juvenile Barn Swallows. Probably the last ones for this year.

Birds seen around the Tyringham Hall:

Red Kite 1, 
Eurasian Sparrowhawk 2,
Common Buzzard 7,
Common Kestrel 1,
Common Crane 5,
Black-headed Gull 8,
Lesser Black-backed Gull 4,
Little Owl 1 at the bridge
Green Woodpecker 1,
Common Wood Pigeon 45,
Stock Dove 14,
Barn Swallow 2 juv.,
Rook 5,
Northern Raven 2,
Carrion Crow 35,
Western Jackdaw 70,
European Goldfinch 22,
European Siskin 10.

From Tyringham I drove to the northern lake of the Willen Lake to get an idea of the birds present there. Two days ago I saw hundreds of gulls coming for night roosting at dawn. I planned to count them and get a better view on the composition of the species. The gulls have not arrived untill the light conditions were acceptable.


Northern Willen Lake. © György Szimuly

Birds and numbers of the northern Willen Lake:

Mute Swan 15,
Canada Goose 30,
Greylag Goose 7,
Eurasian Wigeon 159,
Mallard 47,
Gadwal 52,
Northern Showeler 18,
Tufted aduck 12,
Great Crested Grebe 9,
Little Grebe 11,
Great Cormorant 18,
Grey Heron 2,
Eurasian Moorhen 18,
Eurasian Coot 257,
Black-headed Gull 295,
Mew Gull 13,
Lesser Black-backed Gull 3,
Common Wood Pigeon 12,
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1,
Green Woodpecker 1,
European Wren 1,
European Robin 3,
Dunnock 1,
Eurasian Blue Tit 2,
Common Starling 80,
Carrion Crow 12,
Common Magpie 6.


Mute Swan. © György Szimuly


Little Grebe. © György Szimuly


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