Posted on Monday, September 19th, 2011
Early days so far! The birds have been out and about for less than a week, but so far it is all as good as it could be.
Two older males who had been hanging around the original release site have stuck around and are mixing in with the youngsters. The release of the new birds was a matter of opening the pens up and then allowing the birds to wander out when they choose to leave. the keeps the stress levels very low when compared to the alternative of catching the birds and then letting them go. The new arrivals duly wandered out over the course of the day, and the next day the old males actually wandered into the pens to investigate, so at least to look for food!
At the second release site our oldest female from 2004 had been in close attendance during the soft release phase and she has now joined the flock of new birds, which can only be a good thing.
All is too early to make any predictions about the success or otherwise of the new methods used this year, but the monitoring team, led by Kate Ashbrook, but involving everyone, is keeping close tabs on it all and we will soon see how it is working.
We had a report from a farmer of a Great Bustard close to Middle Wallop. The birds do not often travel to sites east of Salisbury Plain, but this birds was found to be one of the females from 2005 and one of the breeding females from this year.
Another report, this time of a young Great Bustard which had found its way into a garden in Amesbury was investigated and turned out to be a female pheasant. All the reports do need to be checked out.
I am away in Russia for an autumn census for the next few weeks but will ensure a weekly update is posted in this section of the website in my absence.