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The drive home - Richards Diary part 23

Friday 7th May

The day of the drive back across Germany and Holland arrives, and after a final tidy up, the truck is packed with the remaining incubators and other kit and we’re off. Within an hour we’re back on the autobahn travelling west towards Braunschweig, and Hannover. Early afternoon we pass Osnabruck and arrive in Holland. With a few hours to kill we stop at the Kroller-Muller museum of modern art in De Hoge Veluwe national park, a big area of semi-forested heathland near Arnhem. The museum makes a relaxing diversion, and the park, with its heathland and sand dunes makes interesting scenery as we drive through it. With more time it would have been interesting to explore.

We meet the first heavy traffic at tea time in Rotterdam. Boarding the Pride of Rotterdam ferry in the Rotterdam Europoort is easy and soon we’re sitting on the sun deck drinking a beer and watching a colony of nesting lesser black-backed gulls on the grass between the port gas tanks. Both of us are looking forward now to getting back to our families, so after an evening meal we turn in early.

Saturday 8th May 2010

We’re woken up early by the ship’s alarm call. There’s time for a quick shower then up on deck as we sail up the Humber. We get off the ferry in good time, then get onto the M18 for the long drive south. We arrive at Slimbridge at 12.30 and are met Nigel. We unload the incubators and other collecting kit, then take a look at the chicks. It’s amazing to see them all there, looking very healthy. There a lot of cheeping going on and it’s clear Nigel, Roland and Amy have a full time job on their hands looking after these energetic chicks. We drive back to Somerset where I leave Damon with his happy and relieved family and head for Ivybridge, happy that the trip has gone so well and already looking to next year.

This is the diary of Richard Archer, RSPB Conservation Officer for Somerset. In mid April, Richard spent three weeks as part of the RSPB/WWT/Pensthorpe crane team collecting crane eggs in Eastern Germany. These are his personal reflections on the successful German visit. You can read all of Richards Diary here.

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Richard Archer is RSPB’s Conservation Officer for Somerset, and took his sabbatical in the of Spring 2010 to help with the collection, incubation and transport of the first year’s eggs.