This book tells the story of how cranes bred at Horsey in Norfolk, and how they were protected and studied there. The cranes' story starts with their arrival at Horsey in 1979. Their first nesting attempt was in 1981 and the first chick fledged in 1982.
Their guardian at Horsey was – and is – John Buxton. Much of what we know about cranes in the UK was contained in John's memory and notebooks. The cranes were kept a secret in the early years. Steadily, as the years went by, the nesting cranes became an open secret and finally public knowledge.
In recent years, the birds have started to spread away from their core area around Horsey into other parts of the Broads, the Fens and elsewhere. So this seems like the ideal time to tell the Norfolk cranes' story; in effect, how it all began.
- Part one, "The Horsey Story" tells the story of cranes at Horsey.
- Part two, "Cranes: History, Observations and Management" includes a history of cranes in the UK, how 'Crane Country' was shaped, crane behaviour, and information on land management as it affects crane habitats for breeding and feeding. - Part three, "Cranes in Europe", Nick Upton describes the challenges facing cranes in the rest of Europe, charting their recent rise in numbers that has contributed to their reappearance in the UK.
John Buxton MBE is a wildlife filmmaker and crane enthusiast since their arrival at Horsey in 1979. He was awarded an MBE in 2007 for services to conservation in Norfolk.
Chris Durdin worked for the RSPB for 30 years, including helping with crane protection in the early years. He runs Honeyguide Wildlife Holidays.
Dr Nick Upton writes and produces award-winning wildlife films around the world for many broadcasters, currently working with the RSPB Film and Video Unit on crane films.