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Animals

Birdwatch: the stately waterbird that’s the tallest species in Europe

Cranes were reintroduced to Somerset a decade ago and are thriving at West Sedgemoor

The crane (Grus grus) is a very large bird – the tallest species in Europe – so you’d think it would be easy to find. But the RSPB reserve at West Sedgemoor is not only very large, but out of bounds to visitors, making my task a lot trickier.

Fortunately, the viewpoint at the nearby Swell Wood reserve allows me to scan across this vast wetland. And usually, after a few minutes or so, I am able to pick up a pair or two of these stately waterbirds, feeding in one of the waterlogged fields below.

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