Posted on Thursday, June 28th, 2012
T5 in Montchaton in Normandy, photo © John Burnside
After spending more than six months without seeing another bustard, it is exciting to be able to report that T5, released in September 2011, has now been back at the project site for a month. In that time we do not believe that she has ever been separated from the other birds - she must be enjoying the company!
The story started in November last year. She was seen at her release site for the last time at the beginning of the month, before undertaking the longest round-trip ever achieved by a bustard from the project. She was seen briefly in Purbeck in late November, and a month later appeared near a village called Montchaton in Normandy. She then spent over three months in the same lucerne field, becoming a bit of a local celebrity. She was a regular feature in the local newspaper, and was even incorporated in a painting by an artist in the village.
As we expected, when spring came she headed north. However, the Channel must have seemed a big obstacle - she was still in France on 17th May near Cherbourg. This was as far as she could go without crossing the sea. Soon afterwards she was back in England, at Exmouth, looking strong and healthy. The return to Wiltshire only took a few more days, with a brief stop in north Somerset.
And then the journey was over! As soon as she saw other bustards, she joined them, and now she seems very settled. We do wonder if she may spend next winter in France too though...
News about this bird and others from the project, updated monthly, can be found in the bird news section of the LIFE+ website.