Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire is probably the easiest place in the UK to see wild cranes. The birds that we released in Somerset for the Great Crane Project frequently fly up the Severn Estuary to the wetlands of Slimbridge and several have adopted it as their permanent home. Throughout the year they are seen flying overhead and feeding and socialising in front of the hides.
Of the 93 cranes released as part of the Great Crane Project over the past five years, 75 are still alive and well and living in Somerset or at Slimbridge. Because each bird is individually marked, we know who has visited Slimbridge over the years. Although the peak count of birds at Slimbridge on any one day is 16, a total of 43 cranes have visited us. The birds have been named by schoolchildren from Somerset and have wonderful names like Twinkle, Swampy, Bop-bop, Gibble, Excalibird, Elizabeth Royal and Christmas Shoes!
Welney Wetland Centre on the Norfolk/Cambridgeshire border is also regularly visited by cranes from the population in the East of England. Autumn is when activity peaks with birds gathering in a post-breeding flock to feed up, ready for winter. Views of adult cranes along with any juveniles fledged from the summer, can be had from the visitor centre and hides.
In 2018 a pair of cranes bred successfully on the reserve at WWT Welney for the first time. The pair raised a single chick, which fledged over the summer.
If you see cranes in the wild, please report them here.