'Whatsapp' was nearly as busy as yesterday. Today it was all about the Stork. First it was people asking for up-dates. Then just after midday it was reported circling over Strathbeg. I went to see if I could see it after all there was last nights report of a Little Ringed Plover to chase up as well.
There was no sign at the Visitors Centre. The log entry for 12:00 read 'gained height and headed west'. The bird appeared to have gone elsewhere.
I didn't find a Little Ringed Plover either. There were a couple of Ringed Plovers, 57 Black-tailed Godwits and the Little Gulls. I went to try my luck at the Tower Pool Hide. There was not a lot going on there so I returned to the Visitors Centre. As I went through the door Alex rang to see if there was an update on the White Stork and to tell me what he was looking at at the Ythan, a Whimbrel no less. Well, I was saying that the Stork had flown when some one in the VC shouted that they had seen it just minutes ago. It had flown across the reserve and looked like it may have landed, out of sight in some fields, or it could have not landed and continued on its way.
Alex drove the 30 or so miles from the Ythan to Strathbeg. I stayed at the visitor centre hoping the the Stork would return. At 3:15 it arrived and landed some way from the VC but clearly visible.
The Stork came from Poland where it was injured in a collision with electricity wires. It was brought to Shorlands Wildlife Gardens to treatment in 2015 after which it became a free flying bird which has wandered around the UK. Shorlands have other free flying White Storks in the gardens hat have not wandered. Shorelands posted on their Facebook page on 14th March -
'One of our pairs of White Storks have lined last years nest and we expect the first egg in the next few days.'
Now this information has generated a lot of debate locally. Can it be counted on the year/life list?
I will be counting it. It is a free flying bird, and has been since it recovered from its injuries, that has survived in the wild for two years. It was a wild bird when it lived in Poland. I know Alex and Brian will be counting it and no doubt John W will be as well. Purist will not be counting it as it did not come to the UK of its own accord and therefore must be seen as a captive bird that has escaped. If that is the case I would argue that 99% of White Tailed Eagle sightings are introduced birds that did not come o the UK of their own free will and 100% of the Great Bustard population in the South of England have similarly been introduced.
I am sure that wherever it turns up in its travels bird watchers will be having the same debate.
On a final note the tradition of White Storks bringing babies into the world is alive and well at Strathbeg. The Konik ponies introduced to the Strathbeg reserve to eat the rank vegetation and open up the mud that waders like and originally from Poland I think, have a foal.
| Konik Pony and Foal|
Total on list 152