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Let me introduce myself!

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Hi - My name is Michael and I have just started an 8 month secondment as the Somerset Wetlands Community Officer. I have been working as the Information Officer for the RSPB at the Arne nature reserve in Dorset. It's is a very different place to Somerset and I have been used to working with heathland species like smooth snakes rather than cranes.

I am really excited to have the opportunity to move to Somerset to work on the Great Crane Project and see a completely different part of the country. A couple of years ago I was lucky to visit Somerset and watch at least 30 cranes feeding in one of the fields on Aller moor. I was even more excited when a large group took off and it was only then that I appreciated the size of these majestic birds. It was a thrill to be able to see cranes roaming free in the UK and since then I have followed the project with interest.

Although I will be based in Somerset the highlight of my first week was a visit to Slimbridge to see the rearing programme first hand. This part of the project has had a lot of media coverage over the years and I have seen footage of the staff dressed in grey 'space suits' to act as surrogate crane parents. I didn't ever expect to get the opportunity to do this for real.

It was a pretty surreal experience to enter the purpose built crane enclosure completely hidden from view and be surrounded by several hungry crane chicks. Each chick has its own small enclosure but is exercised in the bigger enclosure 3 times a day.

The twenty chicks are all doing well and the oldest birds are developing flight feathers and are starting to exercise their wings a lot!

These are some of the larger chicks from group A and B  sheds.

Here is the obligatory pictures of me in a crane suit (some people might say that it is the best way to see me!)

I look forward to keeping you up to date with the progess of this year's chicks and the birds that are already here and I can't wait to see them in Somerset in a couple of months time!

 

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Michael Wilson joined the Somerset RSPB team in Spring 2014 as the Somerset Wetlands Community Officer.