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Wetland Success - A guest blog by The RSPB's Andrew Stanbury for World Wetlands Day.

All too often in nature conservation, stories are full of doom and gloom; highlighting species in steep decline. However, today is World Wetland Day and I thought it would be a great opportunity to celebrate a real conservation success story; the return of common cranes to the UK. Following the natural recolonisation of a few birds in 1979 and extensive conservation work, including a reintroduction programme, they are making a return after a 400-year absence. 2020 was a record year, with a total of 64 pairs present; of which, up to 56 attempted to breed and fledged 23 young.

What a year it has been!

Hello Craniacs

 

What have the cranes been up to this year?

The breeding cranes in Somerset have had a very good year in 2019 and the seven fledged juveniles continue to thrive.  If you want to find out more you will find details available for each of the released birds on the crane profile pages. You can find the individual profiles by clicking on "Cranes > Meet the Cranes".  The information is correct up to the end of September.

Crane numbers continue to climb

The 2019 breeding season has been one of mixed fortunes for the reintroduced cranes, but the overall trend is one of continued improvement in productivity.  This was the best year yet in terms of numbers of cranes fledged with the figure of nine new recruits an excellent acheivement.  Productivity can be measured in a number of ways - and it is usual to either use the number of fledged chicks divided by either the number of territorial pairs, or the number of pairs that made nesting attempts.  Both of these two figures 0.38 and 0.56 chi

SURPRISE!

 

Good news from our Somerset Cranes

juvenile cranes

The 2018 breeding season is now over and there is very good news from West Sedgemoor.  Three pairs produced three youngsters now fledged and in the photograph you can see two of them in flight.  Additionally the pairs who have chosen to stay at Slimbridge have also produced 3 youngsters, now fledged.  It has been a very good year for breeding attempts though not all have been successful.  Hop

They've been here before

I spent a wonderful afternoon on the low-tide foreshore of the Severn Estuary yesterday with Professor Martin Bell, and the Living Levels team from the Gwent Levels. 

Incredible to see lots of crane footprints from around 8,000 years ago...

And human footprints - (approx a size eight I thought!) preserved in the silty clay.