Back - and big
Mike Dilger is in Norfolk first thing in the morning to see common cranes. The sound at this time is beautifully clear and you can hear the cranes bugling or trumpeting from miles away. At first light they leave their roost. With their calls and a two and a half metre wingspan, these are spectacular and rare birds. Mike sees 16 - almost half the British population of cranes - fly past in a line. But the real spectacle is their courtship dance, but that is rarely seen in the UK. Cranes were absent from the UK for 400 years until 30 years ago when a pair settled on land managed by naturalist John Buxton. John shows Mike some film he's taken of the cranes' dancing. Mike goes to see some captive cranes at the Pensthorpe breeding programme and hears that the population on the Broads is growing. Cranes are the tallest bird in Britain and even when their wings are folded away the flight feathers give the cranes a sort of Victorian 'bustle' on their rear end. They feed until dusk then fly off to join the other cranes on the roost, so that's the best time to see them.