It's been a while since my last post, just because I've been busy. The winds turned westerly but migrants continued to trickle regardless.
On the 8th, I came across the biggest flock of Yellow Wagtails I've ever encountered, at approximately 300 birds strong. They were more or less all nominate flava too, which was a new subspecies for me. On the 10th, I picked up a lovely flavissima, a scarce subspecies here in Catalunya.
|Nominate flava, Can Dimoni, Delta Llobregat|
|Flavissima, Cal Tet, Delta Llobregat|
On the 12th of April, I stopped my bike to check out what I assumed was a White Stork decoy in a flooded field. It was so close and was so still! When I stopped it turned it's head to look at me. Wow! A very welcome year tick. I watched and enjoyed this bird for some time. As I watched it I noticed it turn its head and look to the sky. When I looked up I saw another stork high up coming from the south. Apparently it saw the other stork too, despite the height it was soaring at, as it began to circle and descend, eventually landing, next to it. It was great! Migration in action right there and then.
One of the storks had a ring, as did a nearby Audouin's Gull. I read both of these, and this is where things were to become really interesting!
|Auduoin's Gull ring detail, Can Dimoni, Delta Llobregat|
|White Stork ring detail, Can Dimoni, Delta Llobregat|
I enjoyed them for several more minutes, before continuing to Can Dimoni itself, where I finally photographed a Painted Lady well. An hour well spent before work!
Afterwards I used cr-birding to locate the ringer of the stork and was surprised to see that it indicated it was from Sweden! I sent an e-mail and was really surprised to get a reply with all the details the following morning.What an efficient and friendly operation!
I learned that the bird "was hatched in late May 2018 in an aviary in Fulltofta in central Scania, Sweden. It was ringed on the 21st of June. It was then transferred to another aviary at Karups Nygård to be released along with 12 other young storks that had hatched late. The group was released on the 19th of August. Six days later, 25/08/18, it was seen in Güster, Schleswig-Holstein in Germany." This was the first report since then!
There is a fantastic website on the project here: http://storkprojektet.se/sida_historik_english.shtml In summary, it states that breeding white storks were common in Sweden in the 19th century, with approximately 5000 pairs. However, changes in farming practices led to a drastic decline to the point where the last breeding attempt failed in 1954. In 1989 the current reintroduction scheme was put in place, and it has been really successful, with approximately 100 young being produced in the aviaries each year.
|Volunteers cleaning nests at Fulltofta|
To date there has been 358 ringing recoveries of Swedish ringed White Storks in Spain, with 28 of these coming from Catalunya. A link to the Swedish ringing recoveries website can be found here. What a fantastic conservation story! I'll be keeping a close eye on any storks I come across from now on!
|Ringing recoveries of Swedish-ringed White Storks in Spain & Catalunya|