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Common crane on nest

Chris on the nest in the corner of Tack Piece directly in front of the Martin Smith hide. The webcam was mounted on the fox-proof fence to the right (dividing Tack Piece from the Rushy Pen). Slimbridge WWT, 12th May 2014.

Common crane on nest
gentle lemur, 20 May 2014
    • gentle lemur
      Chris on the nest in the corner of Tack Piece directly in front of the Martin Smith hide. The webcam was mounted on the fox-proof fence to the right (dividing Tack Piece from the Rushy Pen). Slimbridge WWT, 12th May 2014.
    • Pertinax
      I was going to ask if they are in a fox proof part of Slimbridge, and still not quite sure?
    • gentle lemur
      No they are on the estuary side of the fence. The Rushy where they nested last year, is inside the fence (because it originally held pinioned birds, although I think that it is now exclusively for wild birds), but that didn't stop last year's chick being taken soon after hatching, probably by a rat.
      The cranes have to be able to see foxes off. There is some video of them doing this in a recent Slimbridge update [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zp4w1Z7b2nI&list=PLo1mTRHuYcz0_hKpdmCyiiMlU-XCIIgEm]Wildlife Weekly Slimbridge - Episode 21 - YouTube[/ame] - it's about half way through.

      Alan
    • Pertinax
      Thanks. The threatening crane and fox shots are intercut, though there is a shot of three(?) Cranes showing threatening interest in a Fox.

      I also hadn't realised last year's chick was probably predated- thought it died from chilling. I'm still a bit concerned about Foxes though, even with two protective parents present they can be very persistent in their attempts to steal chicks(whatever species).
    • TeaLovingDave
      It's really rather gratifying, of course, to see just how well the reintroduction - both human-assisted and through natural spread from across the channel - of this species is going. I have very occasionally seen a pair of crane flying overhead when visiting Hel up in Northumberland, so I would not be surprised if the species attempts to breed in the area before too long - assuming of course that it has not already made attempts at a secret location, which is always possible.
    • Pertinax
      The two reintroduction schemes- Cranes and Bustard, are having very different success rates. The cranes' survival rate has been remarkably high, exceeding their targets by a long way even and I believe this year will see the final batch of introduced youngsters from Germany. Now we need to see if they can continue to extend their numbers with breeding, though the East Anglian group have over the past few years already proved they can do it really. By comparison the Bustards seem very much in the doldrums and haven't really succeeded yet.

      The websites for the two species seem very different too- the Crane one is very well organised and fully informative, not so much the Bustard one IMO.
    • TeaLovingDave
      I suppose another of the major issues is that whilst the native wetland habitat of the crane is still present in many parts of the United Kingdom, the agricultural downland which the bustard prefers is in much shorter supply now than it was in the 1800's when the species originally disappeared from the UK.

      The regeneration and careful upkeep of our wetland habitats is - in conjunction with the warming trend over the past few decades - leading to quite a lot of long-extinct British birds making their return; of the seven heron species which were native breeders here prior to the Little Ice Age (which lasted from about 1550 to 1850) all have returned to a greater or lesser extent in the past 20 years or so - two, of course, having never left.
    • gentle lemur
      I think the important thing is that these hand-reared birds appreciate the threat from foxes and are suitably wary of them. Foxes are a potential threat to cranes at all times and have probably taken a few of the released birds, although they may have already been weakened by illness or injury.
      Frankly the project won't succeed unless the cranes find fox-free nest sites or they protect the chicks effectively. While I really hope that the current chicks are raised successfully, it is not essential that this happens: cranes are long-lived birds and provided that Chris and Monty can rear 4 chicks to maturity in their lifetimes, and a reasonable number of other pairs eventually do likewise, the population should become properly established.
      I know little about the bustard project, but each reintroduction scheme is different. I think the crane project has benefited greatly from the work done on sandhill and whooping cranes at the ICF in Barraboo, Wisconsin. I don't know how much progress has been made with bustard reintroductions in other parts of the world.

      Alan
    • Pertinax
      That is at the crux of it.;) They really need good wetlands/ deep marshes where foxes can't penetrate easily. In the Norfolk Broads area that need is met, but I don't know how much of the Somerset Levels replicates that (normally I mean, not after this atrocious flooded winter there) or whether the Cranes will be forced to use more sub-optimum nesting areas where Foxes can reach them more easily.

      It would undoubtedly have helped this pair's chances of success this year if they had chosen to nest just the other side of the Fox-proof fence though.:rolleyes:

      I think the Bustard scheme is bedevilled with Fox predation (among other problems)- particularly with the few chicks that have hatched so far. Until they can sort that out, I believe they are working on it (they really need a fox free zone-an impossible task?) I think it will continue to struggle to get the numbers up.

      BTW this Slimbridge Gallery seems to have some sort of settings problem.:confused:
    • gentle lemur
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