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Fog, frost, ice and snow!

view of the released cranes flying
The released cranes flying over Aller Moor. 

The last couple of weeks of extremely cold weather has been a tough time for many birds - the cranes included.   With the help of local landowners, we have been carrying out additional supplementary feeding to ensure that the cranes remain in good condition.  In future years, once the cranes have developed and increased their knowledge of the local landscape and become less naive - this supplementary feeding should not be neccessary.  

cranes feeding near a decoy
Feeding on supplementary maize and wheat by a decoy.

The shallow pool roost sites that the cranes use have been frozen solid now for almost two weeks, and it is clear from our tracking of the cranes, that they are being much more mobile at night - presumably because they are more vulnerable and more wary of potential dangers.  

crane roost decoys
Frozen roosting pool complete with mannequin and decoys

It is not only the cranes that have been feeling the cold though - the project's incredible and stalwart team of volunteers from the local community have been venturing tirelessly out every day. Recently they have had passing resemblence to Shakleton or Scott of the Antarctic as they head out into the bitter icy-ness....

monitoring the cranes
Derek and Jane monitoring the cranes - Dec 4th 2010

The cold weather has also brought a few wild cranes into this part of the world, with sightings of birds nearby at Shapwick NNR / RSPB Ham Wall reserves and also up in Gloucestershire.  We are waiting in hope that these wild birds will intergrate and join the released resident birds, as they would inevitably bring a whole lot of wild crane knowledge and experience to our bunch of naive teenagers!

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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.