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News Report Page 7 of 32
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1st Ever Red Crowned Crane Chick Hatches at WWT Martin Mere Wetlands Centre

EXCITEMENT at WWT Martin Mere as1 of the rarest species of crane successfully hatches for the 1st time. The red-crowned crane, also known as the Japanese crane (Grus japonensis), is1 of the rarest crane species in the wild, and is currently endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.

The breeding pair, which are both captive, were introduced to the site in 2017. The chick is their 1st successful offspring as previously laid eggs have been infertile. The new addition is particularly exciting, as it can be hard for the species to breed in captivity.

The red crowned crane, along with the other species of crane, is monogamous and will usually find1 partner which they will mate with for life. They have a fascinating method of mating by synchronised dancing, which they will perform together over the years to strengthen their bond.

They will breed from April until May and will build their nests on wet ground or shallow water. Usually, they will produce 2 eggs which will hatch in around 29 to 34 days.

In the wild, the semiaquatic bird's natural habitat is wetlands in places such as East Asia and Russia. Due to a loss in wetland habitat, there has been a decline in population over the years which is why it's vital to reserve these habitats if we want the population to thrive.

Centre Manager, Nick Brooks, said:- "The successful hatching of the red-crowned crane chick is a great achievement for the centre as the breeding pair have struggled in the past with previous eggs being infertile. We will be keeping an eye on the chick as it grows. We are currently giving it preventative treatment once a week, measuring, weighing and worming it. However, the parents are doing a great job feeding and protecting it, so there isn't much intervention needed."

You can meet the chick at the centre by walking to the wildfowl collection during your visit. Plan your visit through the WWT Martin Mere's website.

Southport Contemporary Arts Exhibition

NO strangers to the local art's scene, Sefton Artists will be unveiling their latest paintings from 12 July to 30 July 2022, at the ArtHouse, Southport. Regular exhibitors at the Sefton Open, for the last 2 years they have also exhibited as a group in the Landing space at The Atkinson and earlier this year they again held their regular Spring Exhibition, in the Wayfarers Arcade, also in Southport. Other recent venues have included:- 'Café d'Art' in Formby and 'Cass Art' in Liverpool.

Established in 2010, this enthusiastic painting group is made up of artists from all across Sefton and West Lancashire who still regularly meet up every Thursday, at The Lydiate Village Centre, to paint and pool ideas. Their shared philosophy is an all embracing passion for painting whether art is a leisure pursuit or profession.

The linchpin of the group, Anne Wilson, confirms:- "Being part of Sefton Artists allows an exchange of ideas, helps update materials and offers support and encouragement."

As a retired Teacher, painting is now both Anne's relaxation and hobby:- "I take my ideas for my paintings from my local environment and since I'm lucky to live in Southport, ideas are everywhere from the Sefton Coast to the Parks and Gardens. My painting of sunflowers was inspired by the beautiful display in Churchtown Civic Garden."

As a group they have a collective emphasis on producing high quality paintings at affordable prices. Experimenting with a wide variety of media including:- oil, pastel, acrylic, watercolour, pen and wash, silk and enamel, their different styles and subjects; from traditional landscapes to abstracts and experimental work; guarantees their continuing wide appeal.

Mike Birkby, a retired Teacher from Birkdale, is an amateur artist and an enthusiastic walker who combines both pastimes in his paintings:- "I link my 2 passions by spending many hours walking in the area, in the Lakes and on the local nature reserves. They inspire my painting as I try to catch the challenging light, atmosphere and history of these wonderful areas. My recent acrylic painting:- 'An Old Silver Birch,' was inspired by the Freshfield Nature Reserve in Formby."

Growing up in Aintree, Dave Morgan only recently picked up his brush and paints again following his retirement as a typesetter in the printing and pharmaceutical industries:- "I always had an interest in art and design. Retirement led to lots of walking along the Sefton coastline and I was inspired to paint by strong winds at high tide in March 2021."

Now reacquainted with his easel, Dave, who hasn't painted since leaving School, is welcoming the challenge:- "I see myself very much as a beginner as an artist. I pick as many diverse subjects as possible although the Sefton coastline features prominently.:- 'Winter Sun' was created in late 2021 as an attempt to recreate the spectacular effects that light creates on a winter landscape. It was produced using acrylics on paper."

Also from Aintree, retired architect, Veronica Haimes, who has been a member of the group since 2016, although still sketching in pen and wash is currently enjoying painting abstract images in acrylics and further experimenting using mixed media. She took her inspiration for her latest submission:- 'Aztec Gold' from the inherent symbolism in the intricate and very ornate jewellery of Ancient Mexico.

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