Godalming area birds

Godalming area birds

Monday, 16 October 2017

10th-16th October

Surrey is rarely in the national birding limelight but the recent irruption of Hawfinches into the UK has, perhaps unsurprisingly, thrust the most heavily wooded county in Britain onto centre-stage. Sensationally, 65 individuals from 9 different sites were recorded in the vice-county yesterday, including 23 over Capel and 15 over St Catherine’s Hill.

Hawfinch, taken in Białowieża, Poland, earlier this year
These types of irruptions are now doubt in some measure cyclical, but I can’t personally recall one in my time birding. Either the species had an unusually good breeding season, or there’s been a problem with their autumn/winter food supply – likely the latter, and these are probably birds from the east (i.e Poland, where they were one of the most numerous passerines when I visited in April), being pushed west as they move around seeking food.

Either way, to end up slightly disappointed at ‘only’ having 3 yesterday (all over New Barn, my new favourite vis-mig site) is demonstrative of the crazy numbers occurring that morning (40 over Hampstead Heath!), as well as the wondrous experience I’d enjoyed with the species the day before.

Arriving at Winkworth at first light on Saturday, there’d been little of note, until I heard two Hawfinches fly over the footpath that runs adjacent to Rowe’s Flashe. That was enough to make the day, so when I headed to Badger’s Bowl I wasn’t even contemplating any more. However, quickly another bird flew over, offering its typical flight-call (like a high-pitch sneeze), and then another, this time low before dropping into the trees in the upper arboretum.

Then, best of all, a flock of 6 irrupted out of one of the acers, followed shortly after by another. During the next 20 minutes or so at least 4 Hawfinches flew over in various directions. It was hard to know which birds were different, but there were definitely at least 13 individuals in the arboretum. Realistically, there were many more, and I assume these were on the move (possibly roosting in the acer overnight), and stocking up on the various berries and seeds around Winkworth. I had 2 more over New Barn later on.

Tenebrosus type Pheasant at New Barn, 15/10. A small
population of these variations resides here.
Both weekend mornings offered some tidy vis-mig, including increased Thrush numbers, notable alba and Grey Wagtails south as well as likely the last House Martins of the year. Most prominent though were finches – it’s entering peak time, and both Chaffinches and Goldfinches were passing over on both mornings in numbers. This morning, on Allden’s Hill, I enjoyed my first Bramblings of both the autumn and the year, as two individuals buzzed south. As well as being the earliest ever record here, they also brought my year list to 118, breaking the previous record of 117 in the process! Happy days.

The patch offers a dynamic habitat for Finches. There are plenty of unmanaged hedgerows and copses – perfect for Bullfinches, which are notably common, and I feel like I see more here than anywhere else in the county. The farmland element is, albeit patchy, prominent – scrubby meadows, numerous sacrificial crops and even some gorse mean Goldfinch and Linnets are probably the 2nd and 3rd commonest species respectively. Add in plenty of damp wood for winter Siskins and Redpolls, and even tracts of coniferous woodland for Crossbills, then you have a very decent mosaic. 

Brambling and Hawfinch are annually recorded (the former even locally common in some years) and, thus, 10 finch species are regular here in a year, with 11 having been seen in total in 2017 (including Common Rosefinch!). Indeed, in a good winter, you can stand on the Ridge and clock up 8 finch species easily. I wonder if, in 20 years’ time, Serin will have moved in?

Monday, 9 October 2017

5th-9th October

After a painfully quiet few weeks the patch returned to form in style this weekend, with a long overdue year tick and an excellent, varied autumnal vis-mig session making for a memorable couple of days. The year tick – number 117 for 2017 – came on Saturday when a Hawfinch flew west over the New Barn footpath.

Meadow Pipit, Bonhurst Farm, 5/10/2017. A nice,
easy Pipit.
The individual was calling, and seemed to land somewhere on Juniper Hill, so I guess it wasn’t a total surprise to hear another/the same bird over Nore Hanger the following morning. Nationally there were a few recorded over the weekend, and interestingly Wes has had 2 in 3 days at Capel – maybe there’s a slight Scandinavian influx this winter. Alternatively, the habitat here and indeed in this part of Surrey is good for Hawfinch, so there’s little reason why these wouldn’t be local birds.

Hawfinches are rare visitors here, and on Sunday morning it was clear plenty of birds were moving (largely) south-east. I finally got my first Redwings of the autumn (10 in total), as well the Hawfinch, and an enjoyable mix of other species. My main watch was at New Barn, and the totals in an hour and a half were 5 Lesser Redpolls, 28 Siskins, 3 Grey Wagtails, 3 House Martins, 2 Yellowhammers, 56 Meadow Pipits, 16 Herring Gulls, 44 Woodpigeons, 48 Chaffinches and 2 Pied Wagtails.

Despite all the above, the standout moment of the weekend was something else. In fact, I’ve struggled to get it out of my head since it happened. At 07:53 on the Sunday, whilst walking the New Barn path to my watchpoint, I was stopped dead in my tracks by a very unusual Pipit call. It was clearly not a Mipit, and was a sound that didn’t instantly connect with anything in my mind, causing slight panic mode.

I struggle with separating the less common Pipit calls, but Meadow and Tree I easily pick out. This call simply didn’t come close to matching anything I could think of, including Water/Rock (I find these 2, and Meadow, very similar) and Richard’s, as well as the regular 2 species over here. It was drawn out, clean sounding and, most notably at the time, very unfamiliar.

Allden's Hill at dawn, 08/10/2017
The bird called maybe 3 or 4 times, and was going fairly low over our heads – my girlfriend got on it before I did. For whatever reason (probably because there was lots of action going on), I didn’t even register that it could be something rarer, and began to try and make it a somewhat late Tree Pipit. When I heard it, I didn’t think Tree at all, but as the minutes went by after the event I was calmly telling myself it must have been one. However, surely I would have instantly said Tree if it was one?

I called the boys up the Tower, and had a chat with Wes who, based on my description, suggested Red-throated. However, I still tried to dismiss a rarer option, convincing myself it was Tree. I hadn’t had one over for about a month, maybe I was just out of tune? I played Tree on my phone, and at that point became very uncertain. However, because of the activity in the skies, I put the bird somewhat to the back of my mind.

Back home and over breakfast, I went through a few Pipit calls, and I nearly spluttered my coffee out when I played Red-throated. That, surely was what we heard! My girlfriend remains adamant that Red-throated is the call she heard and, in her words, the sound was “longer, clearer, less buzzy and a little piercing”. As time has gone on, and I’ve recalled the moment and listened to calls countless times, I’m honestly left feeling that it was probably a Red-throated Pipit, and I’ve tried to summarise why below:

- The call was something totally unfamiliar to me - I like to think I'm good with flyover bird calls, and this instantly threw me.

- If it was Tree, which I tried to make it, then there'd have been no confusion and I'd have called it from the off.

- Red-throated don't sound like Tree Pipit's really, certainly to the trained ear, and what I heard didn't really sound like a Tree Pipit.

- Having listened to lots of calls, what we heard fits Red-throated nicely, and was very similar to this.

My only frustration is that I didn’t play Red-throated at the time, or even after Wes suggested it. If I had, with the sound I heard fresher in my mind, I may have been able to make more of a connection. It might seem crazy, but for me that bird was a possible/probable Red-throated.

Topographic map of south-east England
Anyway, one that got away, but a glorious, mystical and totally uplifting one. The fact a Red-throated Pipit even maybe flew over shows not just the reason to keep on patching during the slog spells, but also the immense flyway potential of my patch – I would love for more birders to give it a go here.

I’ll blog in more detail about this soon (though it’s essentially a deeper examination of the Hascombe Gap theory), but look at the picture to above and to the right. The High Weald ridge stretches from south-central Hampshire (near Waterlooville) to the north Kent coast (near Gillingham). There’s one obvious gap, marked by the black mark (the River Mole at Mickleham is also a notable gap, though not as expansive). Prominent avian access/departure points Climping, Beachy Head and Dungeness are marked red.
Topographic map of Surrey

Now examine this closer, clearer topographic map. The prominent gap in the vast High Weald is again (roughly) shown by the black mark. This gap, with the Arun flowing up to just beneath it, and the Wey flowing to just above it, is surely very appealing to migratory birds. That black mark? My patch!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

26th September - 4th October

A slight gap in blog posts, mainly because it’s been so quiet. Desperately quiet. It’s the peak of what’s considered the busiest time in the British birding calendar, and I’m currently on my longest gap without a year tick in 2017! It’s not about the lack of year ticks though - that isn't really frustrating. It’s about the grim pace of things, particularly the past fortnight. Next to no signs of visible migration, either in the skies or on the deck, and a discouraging number of birds.

Only this week, in response to this poor run, have I slightly taken my foot off the gas, but I’ve still been a couple of times. Clear skies and a gentle north-west wind on Tuesday morning seemed promising, but aside from a few Chaffinches on the deck, there was nothing new. Anyway, I’ll keep plugging away, despite the seemingly endless forecast of westerlies. The Thrushes will have to arrive at some point…

Green circle marks the spot - the private pond
where a Bittern was seen in 1996
Going back to August (oh productive August, with its 5 year ticks) I was delighted to add Yellow-legged Gull to the historical site list, and in a milestone capacity, with it seemingly becoming the 150th Thorncombe Street area bird. However, it turns out it was the 151st, after a golden nugget of information from Wes A confirmed that, rather astonishingly, a Bittern was recorded in 1996.

A relation of Wes’s was the Wintershall gamekeeper in the 1990’s, and as well as regular sightings of Grey Partridge (which is now extremely rare here), he also had a Bittern on one of the many private ponds within the estate, near Honeymead Barn. These particular ponds are almost impossible to view, with no footpaths running nearby, and I’ve only managed a couple of glances before.

There’s no doubt that this pond (which I’ve marked in the photo in this blog) and the others adjacent to it, particularly the largest one at Grafham Grange, has the potential for good birds. Sadly, though, I’m unlikely to ever know. Bittern becomes another bird that will be exceptionally difficult to get back here, and makes it 5 heron/egret species for the patch, pretty crazy given the general dearth of water bodies. It also offers a bit of inspiration during a time when it’s particularly lacking.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

18th-25th September

We're in the depths of September. For the birding community, the narratives are firmly about rarities, weather fronts and migration. Winds from the east, and Siberian jewels are on the menu. Gales from the west, and lost Americans are there to be found. Back-of-camera shots with expletives and exclamation marks fill up the timeline more than ever, and it's very easy to grab your board and jump on the wave of anticipation.

No decent bird pictures this week, so atmospheric
landscapes will have to do!
During these times, I've been guilty of forgetting I'm an inland birder (and a dry inland one at that), and that my chances of finding something rare really are quite slim. Every morning bushes are stalked, skies squinted into, in the anticipation that some lost waif is waiting to be found. The sad realty is that, in leafy Surrey, it's as much luck as judgement.

For the past few weeks I've hit the patch daily, sometimes twice, and while holding down a pretty busy full-time job, as well as other commitments, it can sometimes feel ever so slightly like a strain. The first problem one encounters when trying to unearth something special is the geographic location of Surrey - it's landlocked. This obviously is the main restrictive factor. However, I believe Surrey suffers from an additional geographical problem, particularly in the autumn.

When species are moving south, it's going to take a lot for rarity to end up in Surrey. Regardless of where they've come from, the north, east or west coast is always likely to be the first destination. Surrey is not going to be a place an east or west originating bird is likely to pitch up, and surely not many grounded birds, waiting for blocking winds to pass, will wait here. It's interesting to note that most (possibly all?) autumn Red-breasted Flycatcher records in Surrey have come in November - fairly late in the season - and perhaps because it takes longer for lost passerines to penetrate inland.

I've mentioned before to birding friends that I actually feel like spring and early summer is a better time to find something interesting in Surrey. Given it's southerly location within the UK, it's not as much of an unlikeliness for overshooting birds to find themselves here. Indeed, if they're pushed or carried just a little inland from the south coast, Surrey is a reasonable destination. I guess I'm basing a lot of this on my own experience on patch - autumns are generally less interesting than spring.
Junction Field, not long after dawn, 21/9/2017

Going on my hours put in so far, September hasn't provided too much. August was fantastic, and September always had big boots to fill in that sense, but I'm a little disappointed with just 1 year tick so far this month. Thankfully though, if finding unusual birds is what gets me going most, then it's closely followed by (or maybe even on a par with) watching migration in action. In this respect September has certainly delivered.

After the Meadow Pipit madness last weekend, numbers dropped off, though small groups have still been flying through each day. The past week was really all about the colossal hirundine migration in the south-east - at Sandwich Bay 110,000 (!) House Martins and 47,000 Swallows flew through on the 20th - and the following day Surrey had its share. Over 10,000 of both species were recorded at Canons Farm, and I managed 829 Swallows and 355 House Martins in an hour or so before work.

Also on the 20th, the first Yellowhammer of the season flew over New Barn, and some commoner species began to increase. Blackbirds and Song Thrushes, certainly, have arrived in recently, and it won't be long until the first Redwing flies over. During the back half of the week, Goldcrests numbers rose, along with those of Robins and, overhead, Woodpigeons and Stock Doves.

On the Ridge, the first few Reed Buntings are back on the crops, somewhat early, and I've already enjoyed sifting through them for something special. At Mill Pond and Winkworth there seemed to be an increase in Mallards, many of them very nervous - maybe these have come from Russia for the winter.

Thankfully, these regular species and their movements, in sync with the shifting of the seasons, will always give me joy and encouragement when out on the patch. Noticing these subtle changes help fuel the hope that something special is yet to come, and keep me going when there again is no Wryneck in that scrubby meadow, still no Red-backed Shrike on that blackthorn, and no Yellow-browed Warbler to be found in that sycamore.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The One That Got Away, volume 3 - no.3

3. 1st October 2015, 11:10

It’s factors outside the patch that place this entry in 3rd. I’ve been lucky enough to savour 5 Harrier sightings, from 3 different species, over the area during the past few years. As a result an unidentified one, whilst frustrating, shouldn’t annoy for too long, as I'm lucky enough to have previous encounters. With this bird however, it’s not the case.

The juvenile Pallid Harrier that spent time at the Burgh,
West Sussex, in autumn 2015 (Surfbirds).
Matt P and I were ending a fairly lively vis-mig session on a crisp autumn morning, and had seen 4 bird of prey species, including a late Hobby. A handful of hirundines and Meadow Pipts had flown through. On our descent from the Ridge we picked up a raptor, clearly a rather slender Harrier, moving low and slowly south. Both getting bins on the bird we ruled out Marsh, and given the time of year Montagu’s could also be considered fairly unlikely an option, with the flight not fitting this species either. However, looking straight into the sun, we managed to get no details on it, and could only watch a Harrier silhouette drift out of view.

The record came at a time when a juvenile Pallid Harrier was present for several weeks at the Burgh, an area of farmland in Sussex no less than 20 miles (as the Crow, or Harrier, flies) in straight line to the south of Thorncombe Street. During its stay that Pallid Harrier became famously hard to see, often taking hours to be found. Perhaps on this sunny October day, it wandered north up the Arun, and took a liking to here, as many raptors have done before, dropping down for a nose around. What a record that would have been. 

Of course, it could well have been a Hen Harrier, and indeed I saw a ringtail over the Ridge just over 2 weeks later. That record itself came the same day Robin S had one over Winterfold, though it's thought the birds were separate individuals. In a funny turn of events, Matt and I had another unidentified harrier over the Ridge on the 24th.

As things stand, 2017 will be the first Harrier-less year at Thorncombe Street since 2014.

Monday, 18 September 2017

11th-18th September

The last few days have produced an enjoyable variety of birds, as autumn begins to move into first gear. After Storm Aileen during the week, the weekend weather switched to what are traditionally optimum vis-mig conditions here, and indeed a gentle north-west with clear skies on Saturday generated big numbers of movers.
Allden's Hill, 16/9/2017

It started on Allden's Hill with Meadow Pipits obviously moving overhead as I pitched up at 07:10. It turned out to be a remarkable day for this species - by the end of it I tallied 378, a huge figure for here, and over triple my previous record of 115. Interestingly, lots of the groups were moving high north-west, into the wind, though at least 30-40% were travelling high south. The Allden's Hill vigil lasted until 09:00, during which time 174 were counted.

Later in the day a flock of at least 50 dropped into the long grass at Hive Field, during a spell of showers that also saw more than 150 hirundines (primarily House Martins) fly south over Tilsey Farm. Until that point Swallows had been the main hirundine movers, with 124 going south during the earlier Allden's Hill watch. The final tally of Swallows for the day was 213, and House Martins 143.

The other large Meadow Pipit flock that were on the deck was at Bonhurst Farm. This group was well over 60 strong, and feeding in the livestock fields and adjacent grass meadows, but by my second visit in the afternoon they'd all gone. Presumably, these birds had dropped down on their way south for a short-while, or perhaps they'd pitched up here the previous evening and fed up before departing.

Whinchat, Bonhurst Farm, 16/9/2017
Whatever the case, they weren't the only ones to use Bonhurst as a pit-stop, with 3 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Whinchat and plenty of Hirundines also present. I've never seen this farm so lively and attractive to migrants before - the Surrey Wildlife Trust have already made improvements to the site, and it bodes well for the future. Elsewhere, a couple of Siskins and a Hobby moved through, and there seemed to be a slight increase in Blackbirds and Song Thrushes - probably a sign of things to come.

The winds on Sunday were the same, but conditions very different, with mist and drizzle throughout. Good for grounded bits I thought, but in practice little to see, though a Barn Owl flushed from the willow scrub opposite New Barn Pond was a very welcome illumination on this gloomy morning.

As I was visiting my parents in the afternoon I figured it’d be rude to not stop by Pagham Harbour, and it was well worthwhile, with 16 wader species, including Spotted Redshanks and a Curlew Sandpiper, and a juvenile Turtle Dove among the highlights. This area is probably my favourite place to bird after the patch, bringing back memories of childhood, as well as the perennial belief you could find something nice, no matter what time of year.

Grey Phalarope, Hayling Island, 17/9/2017
On the way back, we briefly visited Hayling Island, and enjoyed good views of the Grey Phalarope which had been present on the flood adjacent to the oyster beds since Storm Aileen. I somewhat ambitiously searched all the patch ponds for a lost seabird following Aileen's visit last week, and even scoured the wider area, including the reservoir at my old stomping ground Tuelsey Farm. Alas, nothing to be found, though the latter site did produce a Common Sandpiper and Kingfisher.

Weather-wise, there’s more to come, and it seems the weekend and beyond hold a great amount of potential. With a hurricane to the west and easterlies, originating over Siberia and converging on Britain, occurring in tandem, I doubt I’m the only birder licking their lips in anticipation. A beast from the east this autumn would be the perfect icing on a remarkable 2017 cake.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

4th-10th September

Early September always tends to be productive here and this year has been no exception, with migrant action in full swing over the weekend. Yesterday, a dawn vis-mig session on the Ridge didn't yield massive numbers, but 3 Yellow Wagtails, the first couple of Meadow Pipits of the autumn and a trickle of House Martins flew over.
Wheatear, Bonhurst Farm, 6/9/2017

House Martins were seen moving through different parts of the site during the morning, with 102 the final total. On the ground things remained fairly quiet, but I returned for a quick check after the heavy showers that took place during the afternoon, and was rewarded with a Spotted Flycatcher near the disabled car park at Winkworth, and a Garden Warbler in the paddock at Slade's Farm. The latter is a new latest record for the species.

Despite the deluge yesterday, last night was relatively clear, and with a few hours of sunshine and gentle wind in the morning it seemed a good window for birds to get on the move. This proved to be the case, and as I got in the car this morning 2 Yellow Wagtails flew over my flat, a good sign. I didn't actually manage any of these (which are probably my favourite vis-mig species to encounter) on the patch, but I was still treated to big numbers and a great variety.

On the deck it seemed a fall of warblers had occurred, particularly so Blackcaps, with 25+ noted. A thorough bash of the bushes and gardens around Slade's/Raggett's didn't produce the hoped for Redstart, but a Spotted Flycatcher was good compensation. A singing Willow Warbler in the chicory crop on the Ridge was a bit of a surprise, and the second Reed Bunting of the autumn was also here, with the big Linnet and Goldfinch flock.

A steady southbound movement of Meadow Pipits was in evidence, and this was noted throughout the rest of the area. Most groups were around 6 or 7, and the final total for the day was 108 - an excellent count for here, and just 7 off the previous record, which came in March 2015. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the Mipit numbers a Tree Pipit also flew through, with a heard-only individual moving south over New Barn at 09:23, the third record of the year.
Common Buzzard, Ridge, 9/9/2017

All pretty good going, but none of the above was the most notable activity today, with the House Martin passage at times spectacular. Getting ahead of the forecast rain and wind huge feeding masses were present, most notably at New Barn where at least 120 were hawking, all slowly disappearing south. The final total was 366, though there was probably more than that. 72 Swallows were also recorded moving through the area.

Other odds and sods heading south included a couple of Siskins, and a 2nd-winter Great Black-backed Gull, which flew fairly low through New Barn. I have never vis-migged here but I probably should - the number of Pipits and Hirundines here today were very impressive, and this funnel like area, directly above my speculated Hascombe Gap, has produced Kittiwake and Cattle Egret previously. An afternoon visit here produced 3 1st-winter Herring Gulls, all going north.

Midweek was fairly quiet. I checked the paddock at Slade's daily, with little reward. However, a Wheatear showed nicely at Bonhurst Farm on the 6th (the third of the year, and first of the autumn), Firecrests were recorded on a couple of days, and a site record 11 Gadwall were present at Mill Pond on the 9th. Red-legged Partridges and Pheasants are more conspicuous than ever following recent releases. Today, one flock of 150+ of the former were on Allden's Hill, helping make up a ridiculous record day total of 180.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Surrey White Stork Reintroduction Project

It certainly came as a surprise when I heard the news a few months ago, but the Wintershall Estate, on my patch in the Thorncombe Street area, are becoming part of a White Stork reintroduction scheme. The birds are due by the end of this month, following the release of Storks at the Knepp Estate in Sussex in the summer, with approximately 20 set to arrive.
White Stork at Bialowieza, Poland, earlier this year
The movement to bring back this charismatic species, perhaps unsurprisingly, hasn’t gained large-scale acclaim. Like most birders, when I first heard the news I was sceptical. I had no relations with Wintershall, which takes up a lot of my recording area, and is predominately a shooting estate, with small-scale farming and a wedding venue also in operation.
It seems the biggest question is, when there are so many other, native species in decline, why is reintroducing a bird that’s common on the continent a priority? Surely this species could and may colonise naturally in time, anyway? Is it just a big, engaging species, that can draw the public in? These were some of the questions I had when the Hutley family, who own Wintershall, reached out to me for discussions about the Storks.
As previously mentioned, I wasn’t sure about the motives the estate had for this project, but I’m delighted to say that it’s absolutely no publicity stunt, or commercial gimmick, and in fact stems from a deep-rooted desire to reconnect with nature. I’ve now had several meetings with Nick Hutley, and he won’t mind me saying that, initially, they were unsure about the best way to approach the situation. I explained the negative view birders had about this scheme, and it soon became apparent he wasn’t just wanting to dump a load of Storks in a field, but manage areas of his land for natures benefit.
In time, I drew up a list of priority species, and various ways to either keep or attract them. The Storks enclosure is being created currently, and has multiple species in mind – it’s hoped they will be part of a small wetland habitat, in effect a mini nature reserve, a move that alone shows a commitment to the wider wildlife. A reedbed, scrapes and wet meadow are hoped to be included.
White Stork at Knepp Estate, Sussex
(Martin's Sussex Birding Blog)
We’ve also earmarked several pockets of land which are hoped to be turned into ‘wild’ areas, with species like Turtle Dove and Nightingale hoped to be the beneficiaries. Furthermore, the Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers that live on Wintershall land are going to be given as much help as possible. Nick has also given the greenlight for ringers to set up nets on his land, which is something I hope begins this autumn.
The Storks arriving hail from Poland, and similar schemes in the Netherlands, France and Belgium have been undertaken in recent years. Young White Storks are usually faithful to their natal site, and depend on an established colony for successful breeding, so these programmes use captive birds to seed initial colonies. Thus, the Wintershall birds will be protected by electric fencing, and will have their wings clipped.
The Stork enclosure is not going to be open to the public. The site is pretty secluded, and visits will be possible on request. Details on this will become clearer in time. It’s hoped that the wetland will attract other species, but this remains to be seen. It is of course, an experiment. The long-term goal is a patchwork of habitats dedicated to nature, with free-winged Storks breeding naturally in the surrounding area. The short-term goal is to provide a comfortable home for the Storks, in an area created and dedicated to other wetland wildlife, in particular birds.
White Stork reintroduction shouldn’t be a priority for conservationists. There are plenty of more pressing matters and species. However, in this day in age, particularly on a shooting estate, if the landowner wants to give parts of their land to nature, and try to reconnect with wildlife, then I personally can only see it as a positive thing.