Cranes at the Lac-du-Der (France)
The Lac-du-Der is a medium size lake in the Champagne region of France and serves as a stopover for Common Cranes (Grus grus) during their migration between northern Europe and Spain and/or northern Africa. At St-Rémy-en-Bouzemont there are several hides which can be rented by photographers. Those are located on the edges of fields. On the fields the local farmers strew maize to attract the animals. So, with a little bit of luck, a wildlife photographer finds himself in the middle of an enormous flock of Cranes and surrounded by more than a thousand birds emitting an ear-splitting cacophony:
As the animals draw nearer to the hides during their feeding, some interesting scenes and portraits can be captured:
Common Cranes’ Wedding Dance
Or a close portrait:
In the evening they fly away to their resting places in the lake which gives them some protection against predators:
More pictures are available at http://hhsiegrist.zenfolio.com/p196503454
The journey is worthwile if you can stay for a few days and rent several hides on consecutive days. All information about this great place can be found at http://champagne-ardenne.lpo.fr/grues/ferme_aux_grues.htm (OK, it’s in French bout that shouldn’t put you off).