AFTER pulling a pint and learning how to sign write Prince Charles moved a few miles deeper into Wiltshire to do a bit of bird watching.

The Prince of Wales visited the Great Bustard Project on Salisbury Plain and took up position in a hide to try and see the rare birds that had been extinct since the 19th century until a breeding programme was started by the group.

He was able to see 12 great bustards feeding and then once, in position in the hide, saw another male and female.

Dave Waters, project executive officer, said: "Initially birds were raised from eggs rescued by the Great Bustard Group in Russia as this had been thought by academics to be a better genetic match to the original UK stock.

"A genetic study undertaken for the GBG showed the Spanish birds were a closer match and since 2014 eggs have been collected under licence in Spain. The eggs transported in incubators and then hatched at Birdworld in Surrey. The GBG then undertakes the rearing on Salisbury Plain.

"The rearing is complex as the young chicks need to be bill fed, and a puppet is used along with a special suit to disguise the rearing staff. The release phase is a gradual process and the birds adapt to the wild over the summer months."

The prince met project staff, who are nearly all volunteers, the Commandant of Salisbury Plain Training Area Lt Col. Stew Andrews and Torsten Langgemach from Brandenburg based-great bustard project in Germany, one of many international colleagues of the GBG.

The bustard group presented the prince with a set of salmon fishing flies specially tied using great bustard feathers which were naturally moulted.