Posted on Thursday, October 1st, 2009
The GBG welcomes volunteers to help out at our Salisbury Plain release site, and this autumn we have been delighted to have Elke, a freelance conservationist based in Germany, visit and work with us for three weeks. Here she writes in her own words about her stay…
My name is Elke Schmidt. I am from Germany and came over 3 weeks ago to help the GBG. In Germany I have written my diploma about the Great Bustard some years ago and I helped to reintroduce the German Bustards.
This year I wanted to support the British project also to get an idea what is different and similar in both projects. So I arrived on September 9th on Salisbury Plain. Everybody welcomed me warm and I felt being a part of the group from the first minute.
Beside watching the birds on their first days in the wild I’ve been with Al Dawes [GBG Project Officer] to a talk in Dursley where I could learn more about the important part of fund raising in this project. We also had a visit to the Slimbridge Bird Centre.
All in all I had a very nice stay over here. Everybody looked after me all the time. I am amazed of the enthusiasm of Karen and David Waters and how they manage this project which lets them hardly time for themselves. Not to forget all the other active members who are spending more time with the bustards than with their families.
But with the success of the first hatched chick this year which is now already bigger than his mother, it should show all of us how important it is to do things not only for ourselves but instead for the nature and therefore for all of us. This means when we protect the Great Bustard we protect beside this also other species (not only birds) in this habitat.
During my stay I have seen: Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, Hen Harrier, Red Kite, Lapwings, Stone Curlew (calls on the evenings), Red legged Partridge, Mistle Thrushes, Wheatears, Whinchat, Goldfinches, Linnets and many more which are attracted by the availability of insects, herbs, mice etc.
I am absolutely convinced of this project because of its enthusiastic project managers. And also it can take some time to bring the bustards to a stable population in the UK this idealistic project should show all of us how important it is to offer our help for a little bit of the public welfare. This means helping in social projects for others conserving the nature around us.”