By Russell Wynn, 12 May 2018
The following is reproduced from a Wild New Forest news release that subsequently featured in the Lymington Times.
A rare White Stork was discovered in fields near Woodlands at the weekend by Prof Russell Wynn, co-founder of the Wild New Forest initiative. The spectacular bird was first seen on Saturday evening (28 April), feeding on worms and other invertebrates in fields just south of the village. It roosted overnight in a large oak tree and was still present in the area the following morning, allowing other local wildlife enthusiasts to watch and photograph it.
Careful observation and analysis of photos indicated it was carrying a metal ring on its right leg, and the combination of letters and numbers revealed it was the same bird as that seen earlier in the week at Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve on the Solent coast, and at a site in Northants a few days prior to that. The ring details allowed the bird to be traced back to a long-term reintroduction scheme in the Netherlands.
This is the first White Stork to be seen in the New Forest for several years, but historically they would have been a common sight in and around the local villages. There are now plans to reintroduce the species at the Knepp Estate in West Sussex as part of a rewilding initiative.
Prof Wynn said: “The wet meadows within and around the New Forest are often overlooked as wildlife habitats compared to the ancient woodlands and open heaths, but they can also contain abundant flora and fauna if managed correctly. For example, the meadow where the stork was feeding was full of cuckooflowers and also contained a pair of feeding Curlew and two Roe Deer.”