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Somerset

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.

Plumage development

Cranes on the Moor

A few of the birds are starting to show a development in plumage with their adult colours starting to appear. The necks of the birds are starting to change colour and the white on the side of their faces is replacing the once gingery juvenile plumage. One even has a little bit of red emerging on the top of its head.

Tamsin

A few weeks ago Tamsin, one of our female birds disappeared for two days. This was a real worry to us and we were relieved to find her again. However, when we did find her she was in a bit of a sorry state sitting down in a watery ditch. We managed to pick her up and transfer her to our recuperation facility, and after giving her a check discovered she had a large tear down her wing accompanied by swelling and bruising. This indicated she had flown into something meaning she could not fly and stay with the others.

Cranes in the Community

crane decoys

The Great Crane Project has just hosted two fabulous Nature in Art Community days, where people from the local community came together with local artists and volunteers to get inspiration from the wildlfie and habitats on the RSPB's wetland reserves and then create their own painted wooden cranes.  This is part of an intergenerational project, run by Somerset Art Works. 

Missing Crane - Press Release

Conservationists in Somerset are growing increasingly concerned about the whereabouts of a crane recently re-introduced to the county as part of the unique Great Crane Project and are appealing for the public to look out for the missing bird.

The tall waterbird, carrying distinctive yellow-blue-red identification rings, was last seen on Friday evening (5 November).

Frosty mornings and winter flocking

The last two weeks have brought us some hard frosts, with temperatures in the mornings below zero. Not only did the crane monitoring team notice this change, due to chilly hands and noses, the cranes were also feeling the cold. This was visible in the changing behaviour of the separate cohorts that had formed, which now started to fragment.