Monday, April 28, 2008


Ian Fisher calls me up this afternoon to tell me that someone has reported a White Stork on the airstrip at Bockenfield near Felton, just off the A1. As it's en route home I gave it a look. Within a few minutes, there it was, the Stork, paddling about in some waterlogged lawns beside the runways guzzling large lobworms.

Now, I've had 2 White Storks in the county but both turned out to be ringed birds so I made myself a rule that I wouldn't tick one unless I could see it on the deck well enough to check for rings. There are too many free flying captive bred birds in the country to overlook this detail for me ( I do like a clean list).

First things first, check those legs. Bird showing well, striding around and not a sign of leg iron. Get in! Number 387 on the Brit List and 316 for Northumberland, time to celebrate, first British lifer since the White tailed Plover last June and one more step towards the big 4-0-0...blah blah blah...

Until...a text from ADMc then a call from Ian Fisher and Iain Robson to say the bird, No 387, is in fact a Budgie, complete with a tiny closed ring on its left ankle...desperation kicks in. Remember the Cranes at the QEII? Those were ringed too according to the crack ( but not according to John Malloy's brilliantly sharp images in Birdwatch magazine)...It must be a trick of the light, a wet leg scale or something, PLEASE.


My own photo's are enough to tell the true story. Cue deflation and de-ticking in that order. One day I'll get a good 'un.

7 comments:

HARBOURDAZE said...

Great images of the Stork, wonderful to see these creatures in our area.
my wife caught a glimpse of a bird tonight near Ellinton village,she thought it might be the crane but when she checked the pictures you posted a while back she thought not ,it was on the field where the pheasants gather, dont know if you ve heard anything, keep up the good work,

abbey meadows said...

Nice shots. Is this where the bird that flew over my hoose a couple of weeks ago has been hiding or has the rain brought this one down.

Boulmer Birder said...

Seems like this is a new Stork. The migration urge is still quite strong considering it was probably bred in Yorkshire!

st said...

Oh well, never mind. i'm still going to see it in the morning.

Border Reiver said...

Hi BB, great pictures. T

here's a bit of W Stork movemt as you say at the moment. On the 16th April a farmer ploughing in Somerset noticed some "big gulls" walking behind the tractor, took a photo with his mobile, then forgot. A week later in the pub said to a birder, here what e these ere then moi luvver (they talk like that down here).... 7 White Stork!! They stayed a day then headed off north, but doubt they'd got as far as Nthmb, but you never know. Also keep an eye out, an influx of over 20 Bee-eaters in different groups down here at the moment heading north... quite a buzzzzz of excitement :-) BR

dean ( mostlymacro ) said...

Great pics Stewart. Shame about its credentials though.

Northumbrian Birding said...

Have to confess I thought the adult Crane was ringed as it seemed to show in my photos,not to try and dish the sighting but just mentioned out of interest,Mh and I had 3 WS fly in over Holy Island many years ago,you where probably to young at the time !!!!!!!
Brian