Hi and welcome to my Blog, my name is Paul Riddle and I live in south Leicestershire, UK. Back in August 2007 my quest began to locate as many local Little Owl territories as possible. The driving force was a reported decline in the uk numbers so I thought I would do my bit and conduct a study in my area. After 7 years and countless hours out in the field I have detected over 200 different sites. With a thirst for a greater understanding of the owls a more comprehensive monitoring and nest box programme then commenced. This also now includes monitoring the local and very sparse population of Barn Owls, please pop back occasionally and catch up with the life and times of my owls and any other wildlife that I come across. I hope you enjoy your visit!!!

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

White Stork!!!!!!!

Col Green and I were conducting some more checking out of our owl nest boxes late yesterday at one site in the south of the county where (not too far from Countesthorpe) where we have several boxes sited. Whilst there the land owner told me and said there was a "strange white bird" walking around in one of his fields. I initially suspected Little Egret but he was adamant it was something else so I agreed to go and investigate......

We drove along some farm tracks to the last location the bird had been seen. As soon as we pulled up the bird came into sight, although distant (200 yards or so) I knew straight away that this was no Little Egret.

Blimey I was looking through my binoculars at a White Stork!!! I still didn't get too excited as it could be an escapee, from this distance no leg rings could be made out so it looked promising? I then called Col (who was checking boxes at another location on the estate) and he initially though I was pulling his leg. Ten minutes later we stood shoulder to shoulder watching the bird, it was at this stage that we both agreed this bird must be the real thing as neither of us could make out any leg rings and it was absolutely spot on for the time of year.

We then discussed putting out the news, sadly the landowner was adamant that he did NOT want hoards of folk all over his land and we had no option but to respect his wishes. We did try to work out a compromise but as the only access point and viewing location meant going right through the middle of the farm we reluctantly agreed. 

Luckily both Col and I had our camera kit with us, so after taking some distant record shots we drove along a dirt track and parked up. Our theory was the bird would hopefully work its way towards us enabling some better and closer up images. This plan worked perfectly and as the bird gorged on earth worms it did come closer and closer (50 yards would be a guess?) and the images below were bagged.

Posing nicely

Feeding on earth worms
Whilst watching the bird we did make a couple of phone calls (county recorder, LROS news line) to explain the dilemma we were in with respect to the restrictions of putting the news out, we made assurances that if there was any change we would call back. Well there was a change, sadly it was a negative one, as without notice the bird took flight and headed off high in a westerly direction.  

Flying off
So a great bird for Leicestershire, great views were had even though it was for only a short period. Apologies must be made to any birders who would have welcomed viewing the Stork, we tried our best but the logistics just couldn't be agreed.

I'll be back again soon with another post, more Little Owls I suspect!

  

17 comments:

  1. Hi Paul, what a find, again your are always in the right place at the right time. I can understand the farmer having seen what idiots have done at Warren Hills. Regards John

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    Replies
    1. John, the estate owner here is a very nice bloke, he has sited several reasons for not allowing access and I have to respect that. Definitely a case of the minority spoiling for the masses.....

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  2. The silly thing is, your last post was entititled 'Right place, right time!', but this event makes that one look commonplace!

    This could be your event of the year, and my greatest admiration for capturing it so well on camera, but (knowing you!) you'll probably come up with something even more sensational, although it's hard to imagine what, without coming up with silly suggestions!!!

    Respect!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Yes Richard you are spot on, right time right place is far more appropriate for this species. Goodness knows what's next? Thanks for your comments mate, i appreciate them!

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  3. You don't get many days like that mate, just shows what birds can turn up in the middle of nowhere but what a great bird. I'm just thankful the estate owner rang you, could have easily have said nothing.

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    Replies
    1. We were very lucky Col, shame we couldn't arrange access for more folk to see it.

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  4. Replies
    1. Quite rare here in the UK, thanks Ana.

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  5. Well done.
    The main thing is you have recorded it.

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    Replies
    1. We tried hard to organise a viewing Carl, sadly it was not to be but yes it has been recorded.

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  6. Superb photos Paul. It just shows what can be achieved with a little thought and patience, well done.

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  7. Cracking find and images Paul. To be fair I don't blame the farmer, even if you'd managed to agree to allow birders on site from a vantage point, some idiot would've ruined it.

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    Replies
    1. Yes I think you are right Doug, there was a GGS on his land a few years ago and a few idiots were trampling all over his crops!!

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