Sandhill Crane - Grus canadensis

On Saturday 28 September at 13:00 hours Dirk Kuiken discovered a crane flying out of the sea east of the village of Paesens-Moddergat, Friesland. The bird landed on a cornfield and started feeding at a distance of c 100 meters from Dirk, who was accompanied by Annelies and Fred Douma. They identified the bird as a Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis. The bird then flew off but was seen again at 16:00 hours. The next day - Sunday 29 September - at 9:30, Fred Douma warned the Dutch Bird Alert and around 11:30 some birders from Groningen - e.g. Bert de Bruin, Bernadette Balten, Ywe de Bruin, arrived and were able to make some pictures before the bird flew off in unknown direction. Only at 16:30 hours the bird was found again at the same spot where it first was seen. Lots of birders had arrived in the meantime and the bird was seen till 9:00 hours on Monday 30 September. Without any doubt, this record is among the best five ever in the Netherlands!

Taken in the afternoon of 29 sept 1991 by © Arnoud van den Berg.

One of the first pictures, when the bird flew off in the morning of 29 sept. by © Bernadette Balten.


This individual was already seen on 17-27 September at Exnaboe, Sumburgh, Shetland UK. It was accepted as the third record for Britain and Ireland and was the first record for the Netherlands (and the first for the European mainland and the fourth for Europe). Previous records were 11-14 September 1905 at Galley Head, Cork, Ireland, on 14 October 1980 at Akraberg, Faeröer, and 26-27 April 1981 on Fair Isle, UK (cf Dutch Birding 15 (1): 1-6, 1991 and Birding World 4: 360-362, 1991).

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