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The Crane Landscape

The Crane Landscape

The landscape you can see was created by Richard Allen – an illustrative artist, commissioned by the project to produce a vision of the Somerset Levels and Moors throughout the seasons with cranes in residence.  The scene starts on the left in late winter/early spring and moves through the seasons -  finishing up in mid winter at the right hand end of the picture.  It also shows how the habitats that cranes require are, in essence  those that the native wildlife of the Levels and Moors also need to survive.   

Hover over the image to see the controls appear in a rectangle at the bottom, click on the arrows and watch the landscape rotate throughout the seasons.

If you want to find out what the landscape might sound like – then go down to the bottom of this page to listen.
To find out more about Richard Allen  - go to

Through the seasons


Spring on the Levels and Moors. The cranes are busy, their eggs and chicks safe on raised nests within pools of water.

All around is birdsong, snipe drumming overhead, redshanks calling on fence posts and Cettis warblers singing while slipping through the reeds. Its a great time of year.

Swallows are returning from Africa, still hot with desert sun, while dragonflies flit along ditches in which otters play. And that's not all. Buzzards circle overhead and herons lumber to and fro from their heronry. In the distance lapwings tumble and fall above open fields alongside yellow wagtails, as bright as lemons, looking for food and places to nest and places. Can you see all these creatures?


Its a hot day in high summer. The cranes youngsters have left the nest now and are out and about searching for tasty snacks.

All around are skylarks, busy with their own young, carrying insects by the beak full. Lapwings too have young, and are keeping their eyes peeled for predators - those fluffy youngsters might be someone's lunch.

Overhead marsh harriers carefully quater the fields looking for hapless small mammals, maybe even the odd water vole. Higher still hobbies chase dragonflies, while little egrets make their way to the ditch edges in search of fish. And all around cattle graze the butterfly rich fields, keeping the grass short, and a perfect place for birds to nest and feed. Can you see all these creatures?

Autumn and Winter

Its winter. The young cranes are on the wing with their parents, and flying around the Levels and Moors.

Around them flock thousands of water birds; birds that have flown south to escape freezing conditions further north.  Wigeon graze the fields, their whistles echoing through the frosty air.

Near them flocks of lapwing and golden plover roost, ever alert for peregrines overhead. A solitary barn owl carefully hunts the fields, in daylight at this time of year, eager to catch as much as possible to sustain itself through the cold winter nights. Along the ditch, a stonechat stands on top of a post, flicking its wings while calling for attention. Behind a kingfisher darts low over the water’s surface. And there, way off in the distance, a huge flock of a thousand or more starlings start to gather before their evening roost.  Can you see all these creatures?