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Test flying an RSPB drone

Posted on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 by Andrew Taylor

This project has trialled its fair share of hi-tech bird monitoring techniques over the years, but we experienced a new one this week when we had the opportunity to test fly an RSPB drone. The drone was fitted with a camera, GPS device and altimeter, and we tested it around our release sites. We flew […]

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Displaying season once again

Posted on Thursday, February 27th, 2014 by Andrew Taylor

At the project we always look forward to the beginning of March as the start of spring for the great bustards. This is when the mature males join the younger, less impressive birds in full display. The display of the great bustard is one of the strangest and most impressive in the bird world. They start by strutting with […]

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Tarpaflex donates debris netting

Posted on Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 by Andrew Taylor

Debris netting in use, covering a great bustard release pen Over the last few years we have found debris netting to be the ideal material to cover our bustard pens. It has two main advantages – its fine mesh size which removes the possibility of a bird becoming caught in the netting, and its softness compared to other […]

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The Great Crane Project

Posted on Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 by Andrew Taylor

Two cranes released by the Great Crane Project. Photo © Nick Upton (rspb-images.com) We have taken the opportunity provided this autumn by the absence of released great bustards in Wiltshire to visit and learn from a range of similar translocation projects. The last in that series of visits was to the closest and most similar […]

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Returning corncrakes to England

Posted on Thursday, October 17th, 2013 by Andrew Taylor

  Releasing a corncrake at the Nene Washes Corncrakes are summer visitors to the UK, spending the winter in sub-Saharan Africa. They suffered a dramatic decline during the last century and disappeared from most of the UK except Western Scotland.  Their decline continued until the 1990s when they became the subject of a long-term conservation […]

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Farming for bustards and linnets…

Posted on Friday, October 11th, 2013 by Andrew Taylor

…and plenty more besides! We have been doing lots of work on our second release site over the last few months, all targeted at great bustards but with lots of benefits for other farmland birds too. The site has a range of options funded by Higher Level Stewardship, the government agri-environment scheme, providing nesting habitat, […]

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Releasing bustards in Germany

Posted on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013 by Andrew Taylor

Louise Jane reports on a trip to Germany in September… A four-day autumn visit to the German great bustard project yielded some valuable insights into different ways of releasing birds. It also provided an opportunity to talk through rearing methods, which has given us some interesting new points to consider. During my trip, I visited […]

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Project welcomes visitors from Germany

Posted on Thursday, June 27th, 2013 by Andrew Taylor

This week we have had three visitors from the German great bustard society (www.grosstrappe.de). The great bustard rear and release programme taking place in Germany is the most similar to the project in the UK, although there they are reinforcing existing populations rather than creating a new population. This means there is lots of opportunity to share knowledge between the […]

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Night time bustard activity

Posted on Wednesday, May 29th, 2013 by Andrew Taylor

Purple 5 displaying at night Although great bustards are not a nocturnal species, they are certainly at their most active at dawn and dusk. We have always been interested in their level of activity during the hours of darkness, when we are not able to see them.  Over the years we have had a few clues – bustards […]

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Black 17 back in the UK

Posted on Thursday, April 18th, 2013 by Andrew Taylor

In November last year Black 17, a two year old female bustard, became the first adult bustard from the project to migrate to France. She wintered with a flock of several hundred cranes on the west coast of France, near La Rochelle, and had not been reported since 27th February. Not surprisingly, we were very excited […]

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