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Monty & Chris' good news!


  Monty foraging with one of his chicks! 19/05/14

Over the weekend Monty & Chris, the pair of 2010 release year cranes that had been incubating on the WWT Slimbridge reserve not far from the Martin Smith Hide hatched a couple of chicks - and this is one of them  - the first photographed wild crane chick in the West Country in over 400 years! 

Monty  & Chris produced a chick last year, but it sadly died at around 1 day old in a period of pretty dreaful weather.  Things are looking better already this year and we will be keeping everything crossed for them over the coming days and weeks.  The chicks take 8 weeks to fledge, so there  is still a long way to go.

You can follow their progress via the WWT webcam outside the Martin Smith hide at this link:

Two pairs of cranes also nested this year on the Somerset Levels and Moors (Legend & Elle, both 2011 release year birds and Gilbert and Michaela -2010 release year birds, and the pair that built a nest last year) but sadly both pairs lost their eggs to night-time predators, most likely foxes, and an additional 3 pairs held territories across the Levels  - so all very positive signs for the future and the long term aim of 20 pairs across the Levels and Moors by 2025.   

These are long-lived birds that are adaptable and that their choice of nest site will improve year on year until they find a strategy that works for them. Both of the failed Somerset pairs nested in places where water levels fell to an extent that they were accessible to predators.  Although there are less-accessible places they could have nested – they havn’t yet learnt to nest in them and these are still early days for the birds.

For now we will be watching the Gloucestershire pair of Chris & Monty closely!  Exciting times indeed....





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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.