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Damon Bridge's blog

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! 

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Manfred takes a trip

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Another 14 eggs start their journey

 

Somerset's very own soap opera

The cranes have been VERY busy over the last couple of weeks.

 Tamsin on Timmy - Early March 2014

We have seen some of last year's pairings continuing to flourish, some couples spiltting, some rather 'modern' trios of birds forming, a number of new romances blossoming as well as a good number of fleeting dalliancies. 

Sven's sad end

We are sorry to report that one of this year's released birds, Sven, was reported by the daily monitoring team this Saturday on his own, with his wing hanging limply by his side.  He was caught and taken to be examined by the RSPCA at West Hatch.  Sadly, his injury was so severe that the only humane option was euthanasia, and he was put down.  We are not sure exactly what caused the injury, but it is quite possible that it was a bite from a fox in the night, or other predator.  He was a very healthy weight and apart from the broken wing, seemed in good shape.

Come Hell or High Water

... Looks like both have come to Somerset in the last few weeks.  There have been times when it has felt like the end of the world may be imminent.   Extreme winds, torrential rains, extensive flooding - mass evacuations of people and livestock... quite apocalyptic scenes and a definite reminder of the power of nature and water. 

A dead calm

 West Sedgemoor Jan 20th - 12 noon

Amazing morning on 'crane safari' duties this morning  - 56 cranes feeding in pasture on Stanmoor - and then wading back to the office through the deepest floods on West Sedgemoor in living memory in quite eerily still conditions.

Love is in the air

... and it's not even February yet!

Wonderful photos here of Monty and Chris mating, and Ruby and Sedge having a bit of a stand-off, taken by Paul George, from the BBC - a huge thankyou for sharing with us.

 Monty & Chris mating - 11th Jan 2014

For the rain it raineth, every day.

 

The view from Redhill, Curry Rivel over West Sedgemoor and Aller Moor beyond, Jan 6th 2014

View from Seven bends road across Kings Sedgemoor Jan 6th 2014

2014: What a Welcome....

 The River Parrett at Stathe - Jan 2nd 2014

A beautiful day today tracking down the cranes for their monthly head-count.  The group was finally located down on Stanmoor, tucked in close to the railway line, in flooded pasture - feeding along the water's edge and in some slightly less-flooded fields - presumably on soil invertebrates pushed up by the rising water-tables.