By Kevin Ford
After the success of our Yarnbury Yomp 10k race and the connection we have with the Great Bustard Group, plans were put into action for a Sunday morning run on Salisbury Plain to see the Great Bustards “in the feather” so to speak.
The day arrived with not a single cloud in the crystal blue sky; a slight easterly breeze reminded you winter had not yet closed its doors.
Meeting up at Enford
17 brave souls from SRC met David Walters (Great Bustard) at Enford Village Hall for a quick rundown on the birds and what we hopefully might expect to see. Just after 9.30am the Bustard gang set off for a 5 to 6 Mile run.
We headed off through the hamlet of Enford, passing the Swan Inn and the tempting smells of fresh bacon wafting from their kitchen.
A quick left turn over the river Avon and up to the main road gave rise to one of many excitements of the day; a distant cousin of the Great Bustard… a Road Island Red Chicken off on a wander from a cottage garden… Duly returned.
We followed the bridleway up a gentle incline and arrived at Enford Farm; the smell of mixed fresh Silage, Farm and Cattle quickly cleared the nostrils and any thick heads. A further half mile and we met up with Dave Walters again, who had set up binoculars and a telescope for us to view a drove of Male Great Bustards.
Viewing the Bustard drove
Around 15 birds were some distance from us, lying in a field off of Lucerne. Male Bustards are distinguished by their orange neck feathers and their distinctive moustache feathers. Some would say not dissimilar from David’s, “but I could not possibly comment”
After spending some time looking at these magnificent birds and having the added sighting of a rare Hen Harrier flying across, we set off on our homeward journey; up and down tank tracks, taking in the views of Salisbury Plain.
Following Nicks GPS, we eventually arrived back in the village of Enford where we were welcomed by cyclists taking part in a 98k off road event. Enford Village Hall was their first drinks break and we were kindly offered Coffee and Hot Chocolate (all free of charge).
The company of like minded people and excellent weather set us all up for the rest of the day.
Please take a look at the work the Great Bustard Group are doing to restore and protect this beautiful bird in the UK…