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.