French short-eared owl, ghosts and cranes


As I wrote in an earlier blog post, on Wednesday 27 February 2013 we arrived in France, in the Champagne region, not so far from Lac du Der.

Our bus had to stop on a country road. We looked around: is there anything interesting around here? We saw a big stately house. Lots of fences, No entry signs and threatening pictures of guard dogs surrounded it. The mansion looked like nobody had lived in it for an extremely long time.

If I would be a ghost story-teller, I would write:

Late in the eighteenth century, a cruel landlord lived in the Champagne.

When the French revolution started, angry peasants hanged him, in revenge for his extortion and corporal punishment.

Still now, every night at 12 midnight …

However, as I am not a ghost story-teller, I will say what we really saw. No ghosts, no real guard dogs as opposed to pictured ones. Far more interesting and beautiful: a short-eared owl. Flying low above the fields and above the road, searching for mice. I hoped that a car would not kill it.

This is a short-eared owl video.

We continued to the Lac du Der. As the daylight gave way to the night, hundreds of cranes flew to the lake, a good place to spend the night undisturbedly.

A great cormorant on a tree.

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