Between the heathlands of Hartland Moor and the muddy creeks of Poole Harbour is a remote area of wet marsh and reedbeds on the edge of the RSPB reserve at Arne. The National Trust own much of the surrounding area including the cottages at Middlebere Farm. Recently a rare and very large visitor has been seen here, a Common Crane.
These birds really were common in the Middle Ages but soon disappeared as agriculture took over their marshy nesting sites. They have recently started breeding in the UK again after re-introduction projects have started in Somerset and East Anglia. The interesting thing about today's bird though is that without any leg-rings it is likely to be a genuine European bird.
The video below features a bird from the Somerset group, clearly showing its leg-rings. The video was filmed at WWT Slimbridge in Gloucestershire, where the cranes were reared before being released in Somerset. They obviously like Slimbridge as several of them flew straight back there!