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Damon Bridge's blog

A Leap into the unknown

A busy week catching up after the excitement and travel of the last fortnight.  It really feels that there has been a quantum leap forward in the project now from what was a very long and sometime arduous and circuitous planning phase into new territory,,,,an unstoppable straightline phase with only one outcome.  The birds are growing at a phenomenal rate and the regular updates from Nigel and the team are incredible....hearing mid week that the largest chick was now over 500 grammes...or a pound (half a bag of sugar) in weight....was really unbelievable.

in

Egg collection phase now complete

One week old  crane chick 8/5/10

Arrived back in the UK (Hull P+O ferry port) early Saturday morning having driven with Richard all the way from Angermunde to Rotterdam over Friday.  Friday’s journey was painless and pretty uneventful  -  approx 10hrs drive on easy roads in dull, overcast and occasionally rainy weather with little traffic.

Over our last few days in Germany we re-visited some of the sites where we had removed eggs a couple of weeks ago – and were really relieved to find that at least two pairs so far have re-layed, or at least, a pair of cranes has used the same nest site.

in

The journey with the eggs back to the UK

Back in the UK now - at Slimbridge and have been feeding the chicks....They're feisty little blighters with a real strength and determination - and are (although I may be biased) incredibly cute little birds. There is something of the reptile about them at this age - the oldest is just over a week and is about nine to ten inches tall with big sturdy legs and it really grabs the feeding spoon with some force! All that have hatched (now fourteen) are feeding well and there four more that are 'pipped' - ie they have made a hole in the egg and are fighting their way out.

Reflections on the last week before travelling back

An incredibly intense last two days have now come to an end and we are sitting around a camp-fire at the Glambekker Mill finally trying to relax - but knowing that we need to be up at five tomorrow morning to start the long journey back. All collection has gone incredibly well and we have now taken 25 eggs in total for transport to the UK, with seven travelling back in this current batch.

Field Notes from Germany - collection continues

Roland and Beate

A busy day collecting. Photos below show Beate Blahy from Vielfalt Biosphere and Pensthorpes' Roland Digby collecting eggs in a feldsoll (field hollow), the mill pool at dawn, RSPB's Richard Archer and the RSPB's film crew in the swamp.  Finally a picture of egg 21 .... Collected and ready for incubation.

Field notes from Germany

Alder swamp

A selection of photos from our latest adventures here in Brandenburg. An alder swamp and view across Biosphere Reserve from a drumlin (A post glacial morain that forms a small hill).

And finally....Beate collecting eggs and a crane in a typical nesting site outside of the forest in a feldsol (a pingo...or wet swampy hollow formed at the end of the ice age as the permafrost melted).

Damon arrives in Germany

Arrived at the mill finally after an 18 hour journey by taxi, train, tube, plane, subway, highspeed train, slow train, and a lift in the crane truck courtesy of richard. All pretty smooth...especially the high speed train - known as the ice train. ( intercontinental express ). Loved Berlin station a real shrine to minimalism and industrial architecture. Also loved the doubledecker slow train...what a great way to pack in more passengers whilst giving them fantastic views!

Serious case of butterflies

Had a call first thing to say that Nige and Roland will aim to set off Friday early morning from the Mill to make it to a late afternoon Eurotunnel train - a day earlier than expected - but back on track of the previous schedule before the flight cancellations...and St Georges day too... all very apt!  

in

Flying by the seat of our pants!

Had a great chat with the team last night from the mill in Brandenburg although I think they had forgotten that we are an hour ahead in the UK. 

It was wonderful to hear them...its quite an odd feeling holding the fort here in the UK - and the phone reception in that part of Germany is not good!  

in

Eyjafjallajökull Fallout

Ash cloud

Watched the 10 o'clock news last night....and discovered that more clouds of ash from Eyjafjallajökull are heading Europe’s way, so booked myself onto the Eurostar to Paris – and an overnight DeutschBahn train to Berlin.

in