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Latest updates and news from the project

Visiting the old beech forest - Richards Diary part 21

Wednesday 5th May 2010

Eberhard is keen to take us to an area of old beech forest in one of the core areas. It’s a lovely spot to the east of the mill. We walk under 200 year old beech trees and look up in awe at the largest field maple either of us have ever seen. The ground flora is luxurious with the species we’ve seen elsewhere. Sadly there’s no sign of the red-breasted flycatchers which breed here, perhaps it’s still a bit early.

All quiet on the western front

After just over a week in their new home one the Somerset levels, the cranes seemed to have settled in to the swing of things nicely. Any worries that Amy and myself might have had about the move have dissipated and we are now into a quiet period over the next few weeks whilst the cranes adjust to and imprint onto the new area. This quite period before the release proper starts in earnest is very convenient as it not only allows the birds to settle in but also ourselves as we have also moved to Somerset from Slimbridge.

Step 1 complete....

Wow, what a week this has been!

The cranes get their bling

Last Thursday (the 22nd), was a big day at crane school for both the aviculturist and the cranes themselves. It was the day that the birds would be fitted with all of the paraphernalia that would enable us to identify, keep track and in the case of a number of individuals build up a picture of their use of different habitat types.

The Cranes come to the Academy

cranes in their new pens

After a very hectic couple of weeks finishing off the pre-release pens (the crane academy) in Somerset, and the WWT crew preparing the birds for their move, the 'big day'  finally arrived.  A very early start up at Slimbridge saw the first 11 birds rounded up, checked over by the veterinary team, and then popped into tall wooden crates.

Terrapins - Richards Diary part 20

Tues 4 May 2010

Hans arrives early to continue his work on the pond terrapin reintroduction project. His consignment of terrapins Emys orbicularis has arrived and he gives me a grand tour of the facilities and shows me the terrapins. They are remarkably alert and eye me suspiciously. The dark green base colour of their skin is flecked with pale yellowy-green spots, although most of the patterning is obscured by copious pond weed. The little beady eye is pale with a dark iris, except for those animals sitting under the sunlamps in their tanks with their eyes closed.

A quiet day - Richards Diary part 19

Monday 3rd May

A quiet day today and another chance to spend the morning by the mill lake, enjoying the bird life and a few more insects including the first tortoiseshell butterfly. It’s still too early for many bird migrants although the next week should see peak arrival. I drive into Angermunde, on the way spotting a very neat summer plumaged black-necked grebe on a small feldsolle and a pair of marsh harriers. A black woodpecker flies up from a field just as I get into Altkunkendorf.