Last Wednesday our group organised a talk to hear all about this great new project on our local moors. On Friday two of us went on a visit to a secret location organised by the RSPB to see the new flock of cranes in the wild. Here is my write up.
Summary report on HLG public meeting on the Great Crane Project. 22.02.12
Another very good meeting. There were 28 members in the audience for an excellent presentation by Roger Lucken. Roger is a volunteer with the RSPB who has been involved with the project for some time.
The talk included a general description of the project and the history of Cranes in the UK and world wide. Roger explained details of the implementation of the project and the latest news about progress in establishing a new population of Cranes on the Somerset Levels.
Good slides and excellent photographs enlivened the one and half hour talk. We learnt a great deal about these fascinating birds.
Cranes first appeared on Earth around 40 million years ago and were last seen in the wild in the UK around 400 years ago. Loss of habitat due to drainage of the wetlands and their attraction as a source of food for human consumption were to blame.
The reintroduction of the birds in Somerset followed a detail assessment of the available wetland areas.
The project was developed with several partners bringing together experience of rearing animals in captivity so that they do not become humanised was an important requirement. The WWT at Slimbridge were vital for the initial rearing of chicks from eggs imported from Germany.
Looking after the young chicks after they were brought to Somerset involved dressing up in clothing which loosely resembled adult cranes and walking around with a stick with an imitation Cranes head.
The whole talk was filled with such detail and it was very appropriate that two of our committee were able to visit the Aller Moors on Friday 24th Feb to see the young flock for real.
The photo attached was taken during the visit. Further information can be found at the Project web site shown here.
Photo by D. German