Sunday, 15 March 2020

White Storks over the Thames

I managed to jam the two White Storks that had roosted overnight on Dartford Marsh from the Rainham side of the river. Fraser and Jono had both confirmed there presence in the morning whilst I was getting wet and not seeing much on Wanstead Flats, so with nothing to lose I thought I'd go and check them out - even though I knew how distant the views were going to be.

I arrived at Rainham (Wennington/tip end) and soon picked the Storks out across the river standing in one of a group of tall dead trees (as perfectly described by Jono) and then within a few seconds (and there's the jammy bit) they both took flight and started circling together, slowly gaining height. The Storks soon spooked all the gulls along the Thames foreshore and for a few seconds there were hundreds of birds in the air together. They started to slowly drift west along the Thames before I lost the pair of them as they headed further into Kent.

Reintroduction, Rewilding, London
Will this sight become more regular in the UK?
Not visible in the photo above but it was reported that one of these birds is wing-tagged or colour-ringed therefore they're mostly likely from one of the three reintroduction schemes in South-East England (Knepp Estate and Wadhurst Park in East Sussex or Wintershall Estate, Surrey) so unfortunately not genuine vagrants from across the Channel - none the less it was still good to see these large, magnificent birds in flight over this neck of the woods, and hopefully with the continued success of the re-introduction schemes this may become a far more familiar sight across UK.

Click on the link to read more about the White Stork Project.

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