These Grey Crowned Cranes are the national bird of Uganda, but this pair reside in Lancashire at the Martin Mere Wetlands Trust reserve.
Their feathers, in muted soft and subtle shades of grey and brown, are offset with a light touch of cream on their wings. The spectacular crown is in the same shade but enhanced with red and black, as if they are wearing jewels, such as jet and rubies, upon their heads.
I may be waxing lyrical about these birds, but I do find them stunning and very elegant, like tall fashion models wearing exquisite garments. They have very long legs and stand at around 1 metre tall.
Cranes in general are highly regarded in Asia where they are symbolic of good fortune, happiness and long life. A crane seen flying is supposed to be symbolic of drawing the attention towards heaven, and an encouragement to look high, not low, up not down.
The crane is a favourite subject in the tradition of paper folding – origami. An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand paper versions will be granted a wish by a crane.