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Somerset

To infinity....and beyond!

The Somerset eighteen have been enjoying the 'summer' and I watched them thermal up to around 1000 feet above a ploughed field yesterday.  It was incredible to watch and a little wierd too, to see the birds we know so well as tiny dots against the sky.  I just wished I could have been up there with them - the view over the Levels and Moors to Bridgwater Bay would have been amazing! No photo I'm afraid - it would only be of blue sky anyway. 

Curry Mallet Crane School

  Painting 'Gilbert' a lifesize crane sculpture

Friends Reunited

  Sedge feeding in pasture, early March, 2011

Heralds of Spring

Returning cranes, Brandenburg.

  Returning cranes. Heralds of the coming Spring, Brandenburg.

Catching cranes!

The crane project is unlike other reintroductions in the sense that we acted as parents for a long time working closely with individuals, meaning that the birds imprinted onto the heads we used so we could get close to them and teach them various things. We didn’t just rear them and let them go straight away.

The cranes find their voice!

A few days ago Roland and I went out on our daily crane monitoring rounds and there was a thick mist hanging in the air. We could not see the birds and were about to get the radio tracker out to locate them, when we heard a bugling call echoing across the moor. This was the first experience we have had where the whole group of birds were producing the adult call. Before this it had been a strange goose like call and did not have quite the same effect.

Stars of Radio 4

The cranes were once again media stars last week - featuring on the fabulous Radio 4 programme "Saving Species" - Listen again via the BBC site and find out how they have been fairing through the harshest December on record  - follow this link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b00x95h4/Saving_Species_Episode_37

ch-ch-ch-changes

  Flying in... 

Tough old birds!

  Flying over Oath Lock (Paul Hockey)

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.