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Latest updates and news from the project


Another character in the group has been our chick colour banded ‘red/black’ who has obtained the nickname 'Pansy'. This bird has found each step in the growing up process a challenge and it took a while to get it self feeding. Eventually it plucked up the courage to explore the grassy enclosure outside where we at once discovered it was afraid of water! So much so that when it came across a puddle it would run away cheeping! It didn’t inspire us with confidence being as it’s a wetland species!

A trip into Poland - Richards Diary part 13

Tuesday 27th April

We get up early at 6am for a trip to the Polish side of the Oder. A quick cup of coffee and a check for passports and we’re off. Passing through Angermunde, we head south east to the border, which takes us about half an hour. We cross the bridge near Hohenwutzen into Poland. There is no passport control or barriers but there is a large open air market so we stop for a look.

Clarence and Gemma

Clarence and Gemma cranes

Since the smaller cohorts, a group of up to six birds, have merged into one big group of twenty-two the birds have constantly been surprising us with daily changes in their group dynamics and displays of unusual behaviour.

Exploring the reserve - Richards Diary part 12

Monday 26th April

Beate and Eberhard have promised to take us into the core reserve areas of the biosphere today and we’re looking forward to it. Our first stop is a viewpoint at Grimnitzee where we spot osprey (‘fishadler’) soaring over the lake. This was a big hunting area during the time of Kaiser Willhelm II and remained so under Herman Goering and then Eric Honneker during GDR times. It was also a big glass making area at one stage because of the plentiful supplies of sand and freshwater.

A day to catch up - Richards Diary part 11

Sunday 25th April

A quiet day at the mill to catch up on the diary, label photos, read and relax. Damon and Roland are on their way out to Angermunde by train and are due in later this evening, so plenty of time. I manage to tune the radio to BBC World Service and listen in to UK election build up.

Visiting Oder Valley - Richards Diary part 10

Saturday 24th April

Just had a call from Nigel at ten to nine here – he is watching egg 2 hatch! I ring Beate who is very excited and she passes on the good news to Peter that he’s become a ‘new dad’. It’s still hard to believe we only collected egg 2 on Tuesday, less than 4 days ago and now have a little ginger chick, alive and kicking. Beate will talk to Peter about the estimated laying date which appears to be about a week out – useful information which we will need when planning egg collection in future years.

Evening count at a crane roost - Richards Diary part 9

Friday 23rd April

We have a challenging 4 am rise to prepare for Nigel and Roland’s car journey to Calais. Most of the journey is on good autobahn roads apart from the first bit from the mill up to Altkunkendorf which is along sandy forest tracks and cobbles. Nigel and Roland went to bed late, having checked over the travelling kit, especially the four batteries that will be needed on the journey to power the portable incubators. All of us are a little bug eyed, but there’s a sense of urgency to get everything ready and to be off as soon as possible.