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Exploring the local forest - Richards Diary part 18

Sunday 2nd May

Another early start for Toby and Nick to leave by 7am. They pack their gear around the static incubator, which, wrapped in bubblewrap and protective cardboard, takes up most of the space. They only just get everything in.
We say goodbye as I look forward to a day to explore the local forest.

packing the range rover vehicle
Nick and Toby pack the range rover but where will they fit in?

Fortified by three of Beate’s free range chicken eggs, I take a long walk around the mill lake, through the beech forest which borders an interesting area of marsh. There’s lots of small birds calling this morning, including a first tree pipit. A male siskin calls ‘dreeoo’ from the branch of an old and is still calling when I return an hour later. I’m spotted by a crane in the marsh, which lowers its body and neck to try to hide itself. There’s signs of a lot of forestry activity in the woods, as there is everywhere outside of the core areas. Much of the forest outside the protected core areas is curiously even-aged, a sign that management is focused on timber production rather of nature conservation. I eventually turn for home and get a text message from Nigel – we now have 18 chicks with two more on their way. Back at the mill I catch up on sleep and spend the evening listening to the BBC world service – the UK elections are hotting up and there’s much discussion about the Greek financial crisis – glad I’m here!

A mute swan on the mill lake
A mute swan on the mill lake

an adult crane hiding in the marsh
An adult crane trying to hide in the marsh

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.