Over the last few days I travelled down to Salisbury Plain to visit the Great Bustard re-introduction site…

When I arrived it looked like this…

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So I didn’t hold out much hope for actually seeing the Bustards and after a 200 mile journey down to Salisbury was feeling a little deflated.

Lynne from the Great Bustard Group (GBG) turned up in theland rover and we waited for a while for the last two visitors.

wpid-wp-1399106508274.jpegThe view from the landy as we approached the hide.

Off in the distance I could see a small group of birds, which did turn out to be the Bustards.

Lynne told us that there were only 13 Great Bustards at the moment and half of them – the females – were hopefully off sitting on nests, so the small group of males were the only birds to be seen.
The hide is 300 metres from the release pen area which the birds enjoy coming back to and a particular clump of grass seemed to be their favourite spot.
We could see 5 young males and another younger male off to the left, besides the 2 decoy birds that the GBG use to tell the Bustards that this is a safe area to be. They are fenced in here, although they can fly free anywhere on Salisbury Plain and have been known to be found in France.

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As we sat in the small hide, the cows who shared the same field obviously use the hide as a bit of a toy and proceeded to push shove, scratch and eat the wood, especially on the corners, so it made it very tricky to record any useful sound, but I did get sense of the space and what the surroundings should sound like, so below find my best 3 minutes, but please excuse the snorting, rubbing, scratching and general cow noises…

So, it’s an open space with summery background birdsong, the odd crow, but a real sense of a wide open green area.
We only had an hour in the hide and it went all too quickly, but off we went to their little shop and headquarters just back from the release pen.
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In here they had the most fantastic stuffed Great Bustard, which Lynne was kind enough to turn round for me to get a good photo up close.

wpid-wp-1399124290543.jpegThe little shop was amazing and stuffed full of stuffed Great Bustards and clothing, and you could even buy Great Bustard beer!

I must say a big thankyou to Lynne, who helped me sort out the visit and has been more than helpful in any contact I’ve had with the group, and has amazing landrover driving skills as we squirmed and slid through the muddy bottom gates!
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