Two crane chicks hatched at Slimbridge
A newly-hatched chick in Gloucestershire could be the first wild-born crane to survive in the west of Britain for 400 years.
A study of Bewick's swans at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire has been running for 50 years and is still going strong
Not one, but two crane chicks have been born in the wild and fledged for the first time in 400 years.
The parents were released onto the Somerset Levels three years ago and now, as Richard Payne reports, it's a move that's produced its first success stories.
Wardens at Slimbridge were surprised to see a mute swan rearing a goose.
It may look like a cygnet but its yellow brown down gives it away. The differences will become more apparent in the coming weeks. Staff aren't sure how she ended up hatching the gosling but now they're inseparable.
One of the longest-running animal research projects in the world is 50 today. The Bewick's swan study was started at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire by Sir Peter Scott in 1964.
He noticed that the birds have unique bill patterns, which researchers have to learn before they can take part.
More than 9,000 different swans have been identified. The work has provided data on survival rates and meant breeding sites in Russia have been protected.
Staff at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Gloucestershire say visitors are loving seeing a seal at the reserve.
A harbour seal has been making the River Severn near the Slimbridge reserve its happy hunting ground for the last 2 months.The harbour seal is usually found on the east coast, in Northern Ireland and in Scotland.
– James Lees, Warden at Slimbridge Reserve
It presumably comes in with the tide each day and has chosen to hunt just off our reserve.
It is very specific where it hunts as it seems to have learnt where the fish will be at a certain state of the tide.
It likes to feed between the land and an island in the river.
It is also quite a prolific hunter and seems to catch at least four or five large grey mullet every day.
We have also seen it take and eat a gull from the surface of the water.
A seal has been spotted at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire.
The animal has strayed miles from the sea and has been making the River Severn near the reserve its happy hunting ground for the last 2 months.
Staff say they've been seeing the harbour seal on a daily basis.
A flamingo in Gloucestershire has shunned standing on one leg for floating in water in an effort to cool down.
Experts at Slimbridge Wetland Centre say they have never witnessed the "unusual" behaviour before.
The 52-year-old Andean flamingo began floating when temperatures first soared a few weeks ago.
He now regularly indulges in a mid-afternoon float, with his legs outstretched behind him.
Paul Rose, a flamingo expert at WWT Slimbridge, said: "Lots of flamingos go for a quick paddle around but I've never seen anything like this.
“I first noticed the unusual behaviour as the weather warmed up a few weeks ago so I think it is his way of keeping cool in the heat of the day.
“He floats with his legs outstretched behind him for long periods of time.
“I think it is his way of relaxing, as he seems very content. It is presumably the equivalent to a human floating in a swimming pool on a lilo.”
Conservationists at the Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire have set up a round-the-clock guard to protect the first crane egg laid in the South West in over 400 years.
Hunting and the loss of wetlands drove cranes to extinction in Britain.
For the last three years, the Great Crane Project has been rearing the birds in captivity and reintroducing them to the West Country.
The egg at WWT Slimbridge is the first known to be laid by cranes released by the project.
Bird spotters are able to see the male and female cranes taking turns at sitting on the nest.