RSPB - Great Crane Project
The Great Crane Project has helped return Common Cranes to Somerset after an absence of over 400 years. The RSPB, as the lead project partner on the Somerset Levels and Moors, has been overseeing the release stage, and working with farmers, landowners and local communities to ensure the long-term future of the crane in the area.
Over the last 5 years the project has reintroduced over 90 cranes to Somerset Levels and Moors, and the birds are becoming an exciting addition to the nature tourism in the area. 2014 was the final year that crane chicks will be released on to the Somerset Levels and Moors and it is hoped that 2015 will mark the year that the birds breed successfully on the moors for the first time in over 400 years.
The project is a partnership between the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust based at Slimbridge, where the crane chicks are reared; the RSPB; the Pensthorpe Conservation Trust, based in Norfolk and Viridor Credits Environmental Company, which provides the bulk of the funding for the project.
The winter is the best time to see the cranes and it isn’t uncommon to see a flock of 60 or more birds as they circle over the Somerset landscape.
Between March and October the RSPB run special ‘Crane Safaris’ . These are a unique opportunity to join a specialist team of monitoring volunteers as they carry out post-release monitoring work on the Somerset birds.
To find out the best places to see the Cranes or how to book on to a Crane Safari , visit the Great Crane Project Website.
The Website also contains a Somerset Levels and Moors ‘Nature Calendar’ which is a handy guide to what other wildlife can be seen through the year and where the best places to see it are.