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A brief respite

cranes in flight with mud on their feet 
Mennis, Michael (with the white face) Tamsin, and two other unidentifiable
cranes in flight with mud on their feet! Photo: Kevin Harris

The last few days of relative warmth have seen the cranes feeding in a recently ploughed field and digging amongst the clods of earth, presumably for worms and other tasty morsels in the soil. In the process, many of the birds got their feet very clogged up with sticky silty soil.  Frequent washing and bathing in the river has also been observed - perhaps as a way of getting rid of what must be quite a weighty burden on the feet.  Vince has developed a limp which will also not have been helped by this mud, but it seems to have stabilized and he can get around as well as the others on foot.

The cranes have also been seen probing around rush tussocks and other clumps of vegetation for something or other. 

We are currently undertaking the analysis of crane 'poos', collected on a weekly basis (one of the perks of the job) which will give us a detailed breakdown of their diet in Somerset through the year, which we hope will inform management for the cranes in future years.  

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Damon’s role is to act as the hub of the project - making sure everyone involved knows what is going on and that it is all running smoothly. He is also responsible for project community awareness work in Somerset, construction of the release enclosure, and running the post release monitoring work in Somerset.  Damon works alongside the RSPB reserve teams in Somerset.