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Monday, 6 June 2016

Lynne Derry's Talk on The Great Bustard

May's talk  by Lynne Derry on the Great Bustard was fascinating and informative. Lynne has worked with them for the last 9 years, and gave us the benefit of her extensive knowledge about Great Bustards, much of it gained from working with them. Lynne showed us some lovely photographs of the Great Bustards, but from a projected image, they're not that easy to photograph.
here's the photograph at the start of the talk:
 Bustards are the heaviest flying birds, they tend to land in fields away from people, and are the size of roe deer, the male being much heavier and larger than the female, 40lbs to her 12 lbs. They can rise vertically when they fly. When trying to attract a mate, the males fill their throats with air as seen below:
Great Bustards were hunted to extinction in this country in the mid 1800s, although they exist in many other parts of the world, so when there was an attempt to reintroduce them to Salisbury plain in 1999, it was a matter of trying to find ones in places with a similar climate to ours so they would survive. Amazingly enough, as recently as 2007, Mike Prior, designed a flag for Wiltshire with a Great Bustard at its centre. More on the flag http://www.wiltshireflag.co.uk/about.html
In order to rear chicks, those looking after them have to wear dehumanization suits so the chicks don't become attached to humans. They are omnivores and exist in droves. The best time to visit the sites where they live is in March and April, to find out more look at the Great Bustard Group's website
 Lynne brought some back copies of their magazine, I photographed the cover of this one with a beautiful photo of a Great Bustard on the front.
Also Wiltshire Life magazine recently had a photograph of one in front of Stonehenge:
Maybe we should plan a visit next April?

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