Sunday, 6 June 2010

The wanderings of a Hungarian Black Stork

When a Black Stork turned up on Unst on 2nd June 2010 this was exceptional enough, as it was only the third Shetland record. The bird was, however, carrying a colour-ring. This immediately told us that this was the same Black Stork that had been in the Outer Hebrides earlier in the spring, as this was also carrying a white plastic ring. A quick e-mail to friends there soon confirmed that they had seen the ring but not read it, so getting the code was a priority.

On the stork's second day on Unst it went to roost on the cliffs in the late afternoon, and this gave us the opportunity to get close enough to read the ring. After a little effort we had it - 50P9.

It was then off to the internet to track down the bird's origins, and within 24 hours we had an answer. The bird had been ringed in northern Hungary, close to the Slovakian border, in June 2007. Even more interestingly, it had already been sighted on two previous occasions - in SE Hungary, close to the Romanian border, in September 2008, and in the NE of the Netherlands in March 2009.

It was probably first seen in Scotland on 8th May this year, when a Black Stork was seen flying over the Findhorn valley. All the sightings in Scotland are shown on the following Google map.

View Black Stork 50P9 in a larger map

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