Thursday, 7 April 2016

White Stork twitch

A rare opportunity arose when a White Stork was sighted a few days ago in the Ham Wall/Westhay Moor region of the Somerset Levels. Last year I missed out on a local White Stork seen near the Yeovilton area during the Summer and this time I really fancied having a go and seeing this magnificent bird.

Last year Hannah and myself took a trip to Extremadura and we saw White Storks every single day of the 2weeks holiday we had. They are such a abundant bird nesting on church towers, tall buildings, power line towers and nearly always several around any wetland habitat we encounter. The White Stork is very common in the Mediterranean regions of souther Europe and thousand's migrate over the Staris of Gibraler in southern  Spain to breed in towns and cities of Spain, France, Portugal, Switzerland, Poland, Germany and stretching across to their stronghold in Eastern Europe.

Hopefully in the near future with impacts of climate change, warming temperatures and increasing populations, birds such as the White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret, Night Heron may get a strong foothold as breeding species in the UK just like how the Little Egret, Cranes and Great White Egret have now done. With Little Bittern, Glossy Ibis, Night Heron, Purple Heron breeding on occasions.....only a matter of time before White Storks come across.

This bird that I went to see is an adult bird and most likely overshot Spain on it's migration to Europe due to the glorious weather and southern winds and now dropped down in the Somerset levels alongside Little Egrets and the long-staying Glossy Ibis at Tealham Moor near Burtle village.

Once I arrived there were several birders with scopes and cameras looking towards a  flooded field and straight away, unmistakeable a White Stork casually feeding beside a Little Egret and several Mute Swans!!

The Stork gave some fantastic views no more than 100+ metres awat from the road side. I fired off a few shots of the Stork and watched it as it feed alongside some Egrets (dwarfed in size by the stork). This White Stork is a British first for me. A nice addition to my UK life list and  my year list.

On my way back I had good views of the Ham wall Glossy ibis and Cattle Egret present near by to the Stork...... Really getting a feel of Spain again with these Mediterranean species feeding on vast wetlands!!! Other highlights of the day was cracking close up views of a male Gadwall, drake Garganey and plenty of Swallows hawking insects overhead.

A great start to Spring migration...Lets hope a Hoopoe or Woodchat Shrike turns up nearby or on the local patch. Watch this space...........................

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