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Great bustard spotted in Somerset

A rare great bustard has been spotted in Somerset. Credit: Ben Nicholas

If you wanted any proof that the project to reintroduce the Great Bustard to Britain is a success, this could be it. The birds became extinct in the UK due to collectors and changes in agriculture. That was until the Great Bustard Project began in 2004 to release pairs on Salisbury Plain, with the aim of increasing the population.

Ben Nicholas photographed this female great bustard in Chewton Mendip in Somerset on Friday 22 September - quite some distance from Wiltshire - which suggests the bird is making itself at home.

Bird droppings study to help Great Bustards

Scientists at Bath University are studying the droppings of Great Bustards to help boost their survival in a conservation project.

The world's largest flying birds have been reintroduced from Russia to Salisbury Plain. Researchers are collecting droppings to monitor how diet changes during the year.

Great Bustards are the world's largest flying birds Credit: John Burnside
Scott Gooch studies Bustard droppings under the microscope Credit: Nic Delves-Broughton, University of Bath