Posts

Showing posts from January, 2020

A secret revealed

Image
It’s 40 years since cranes returned to the Broads in Norfolk having been absent as breeding bird from the UK for some 400 years. Chris Durdin, co-author of The Norfolk Cranes’ Story, tells their story.
This is the 4th and final blog of four blogs. The full story is in The Norfolk Cranes’ Story book, which recently came out in paperback. See www.norfolkcranes.co.uk for how to buy a copy.

A secret revealed When the cranes first returned to Horsey, secrecy was an important part of protecting them. It helped that cranes have a knack of disappearing from view during the breeding season. There were rumours that the birds were ‘escapes’, which discouraged some birdwatchers from wanting to see them. 
But it would be easy to be unrealistic about how secret the Horsey cranes were: they are large and sometimes noisy birds and word of their presence spread. As the veil lifted somewhat, information was published in bird reports and books. But we remain cautious about saying where cranes nest.
After th…

Cranes in the UK – a brief history

Image
It’s 40 years since cranes returned to the Broads in Norfolk having been absent as breeding bird from the UK for some 400 years. Chris Durdin, co-author of The Norfolk Cranes’ Story, tells their story.

This is part 3 of four blogs. The full story is in The Norfolk Cranes’ Story book, which recently came out in paperback. See www.norfolkcranes.co.uk for how to buy a copy.

Cranes in the UK – a brief history The return of cranes to Norfolk is a recolonisation – a distinction worth making in view of the reintroduction project in the West Country. But exactly how many cranes used to breed in Britain and Ireland is far from clear – hardly surprising as they may not have bred since the 17th century.
The only proof of breeding in the literature is an account of a payment for a ‘young Pyper crane’ at Hickling in 1543.
Nearly 300 place names start with Cran, Carn or Tran, from the Old Norse or Anglo-Saxon names for crane. That suggests cranes were common and widespread, though some of these place n…

Why did cranes come to Horsey in Norfolk?

Image
It’s 40 years since cranes returned to the Broads in Norfolk having been absent as breeding bird from the UK for some 400 years. Chris Durdin, co-author of The Norfolk Cranes’ Story, tells their story. 

This is part 2 of four blogs. The full story is in The Norfolk Cranes’ Story book, which recently came out in paperback. See www.norfolkcranes.co.uk for how to buy a copy.

Why did cranes come to Horsey in Norfolk? What we didn’t know in the 1980s is that cranes in eastern and northern Europe were increasing in numbers and their range was spreading westwards. With hindsight, that first colonisation more than three decades ago looks almost inevitable. At the time, it felt like the cranes had a very tentative and vulnerable toehold in Britain.
Why choose Horsey? The coastal location plays a part, for a migrant bird. It’s a relatively quiet part of the Broads, with large and undisturbed reed and sedge beds suitable for nesting. These are close to open grazing marshes and arable where the crane…

'The biggest bloody herons'

Image
It’s 40 years since cranes returned to the Broads in Norfolk having been absent as breeding bird from the UK for some 400 years. Chris Durdin, co-author of The Norfolk Cranes’ Story, tells their story. 
This is part 1 of four blogs. The full story is in The Norfolk Cranes’ Story book, which recently came out in paperback. See www.norfolkcranes.co.uk for how to buy a copy.


“The biggest bloody herons.” That was the farmer’s description of two birds on the marshes at Horsey in September 1979. At the other end of the phone was John Buxton from Horsey Hall, who the excited farmer had phoned.
John guessed they were cranes, not least as it wasn’t the first time they’d been seen, as migrants, in the Horsey area. But this time it was different; these birds decided to stay.

The two cranes were seen in the Hickling-Horsey area from 13th September 1979 and a third bird joined them during October. They stayed all winter, sometimes feeding in potato fields. In early April they left, but returned two an…