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Escaped White Stork Seen in Shalford Park

Published on: 2 Jul, 2020
Updated on: 6 Jul, 2020

An unusual sighting of a white stork has been photographed and filmed by reader Graham Dean in Shalford Park.

The white stork in Shalford meadows photographed by Graham Dean.

Graham said: “I came across the bird while I was walking my grandchildren home from nursery along the footpath beside Shalford Road between the rowing club and the football pitch.

“It was my grandson Joshua who spotted the bird and wanted to know what it was. He noticed the bird had a ring on one of its legs and that it liked to stand on one leg. I was scared to go too close to it!

Malcolm Fincham, who writes The Guildford Dragon NEWS’s popular Birdwatcher’s Diary column, had added the following details.

“A strange species of bird to some, I had been recently been informed a white stork has been gracing the water meadows in Shalford Park.

“This one has been confirmed (by the metal ring on its leg) to be an escapee from Bird World in Farnham.

“However, at first it was thought it might be from one of the recent reintroduction projects that are seeking to bring storks back to southern England.

“This includes a project I viewed at the Wintershall Estate near Bramley, just south of Guildford.

“The most famous one, I also visited last year, and now open to public viewing, is at the Knepp Estate, West Grinstead, near Horsham in West Sussex.

“Although unsuccessful in breeding last year, three nests containing eggs were being monitored on the private estate this year.

“In one nest five eggs were laid and the parents were seen incubating them before removing eggshell from the nest. And three chicks are being raised.

“White storks were once a common sight throughout the UK. That is, until persecuted to extinction.

“The last pair to successfully breed in the wild in the UK nested on St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh in 1416. The Hundred Years War was raging and Henry V had just defeated the French at Agincourt!

“They are perfectly suited to reintroduction, and the aims are to establish a self-sustaining population in Sussex by 2030, in the hope of setting them to breed in the British countryside for the first time in more than 600 years.

“The Saxon name for the village of Storrington, not far from Worthing, was originally “Estorchestone”, meaning “the village of the storks”. A pair of white storks still features on the village emblem.

“While other place names in the area, such as Storwood and Storgelond, evoke the stork’s historical presence there.

“Storks make nests of towering piles of sticks built up year after year, some so big that many other bird species will nest within them. They can make a significant difference to the availability of sites for some species. This is because they are happy nesting on buildings, and the folklore and cultural traditions surrounding storks are among the richest involving any bird species.”

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Responses to Escaped White Stork Seen in Shalford Park

  1. Stuart Barnes Reply

    July 2, 2020 at 11:47 am

    The stork was in our garden for a couple of hours yesterday. It looked as though it was going to settle there (we have got some pictures of it) until a nasty cat came along and drove it away towards Guildford.

  2. Kerry Quadrelli Reply

    July 2, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    It was happily walking along the river bank on the River Wey opposite our house for an hour. Fascinating.

  3. Andrew Smethurst Reply

    July 2, 2020 at 8:21 pm

    I’ve just seen this stork by the river wey, near the rowing club.

  4. Aubrey Leahy Reply

    July 6, 2020 at 9:39 am

    How refreshing to find a simple and heartwarming bit of good news.

    Thanks for posting. Quite made my day.

  5. Laura Musgrave Reply

    July 6, 2020 at 10:44 pm

    I have seen the stork several times now while out running near the rowing club.

    It seems friendly and not at all bothered by all the onlookers!

    Are people from Birdworld going to come and collect it?

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