Sunday, July 01, 2007

Bustard Flush

If you're out walking in Dorset, or on the Somerset Levels, its entirely possible that you'll flush a bird which weighs 50 pounds and has an 8 foot wingspan. You will be correct to exclaim that this must be the heaviest flying bird in the world. And no, you won't have walked into a David Attenborough film set and you won't be dreaming either. You will be looking at a Great Bustard. Never mind that you think, as I did, that the Great Bustard became extinct in the 1840s. Its back and flying wild in the South West of England - for the time being at least.

I'm grateful to the Telegraph for reporting on the attempts by the Great Bustard Group to re-introduce the bird. It seems that 40 eggs are imported from Saratov, 700 miles South of Moscow every year, and reared in a pen with 8 foot high fences, near Salisbury. Eventually, the chicks hatch, grow and fly over the fence and join millions of other tourists by heading down to Dorset and Somerset. Its a marvellous story and this blog wishes the experiment success.

In my homeland area of Mid Wales, we have already seen the Red Kite recover from the very edge of extinction over the last 30 years. And we have seen Ospreys, probably en route to Scotland, stopping off in Wales to nest again over the last three years - one pair nesting successfully in Berriew, the village near where I live. I get excited about these things and like to share them with those who visit my blog - hoping that they too will be overcome by excitement.

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