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Black Stork sighting on Christmas day!!!!

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Offline harryabbott

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« on: December 26, 2008, 09:26 AM »
Hi folks,
I had the most marvellous christmas day bonus present yesterday when I had a Black Stork (ciconia nigra) circling above me on the Rio Grande near Villafronco! What an exceptional treat! We were actually looking for Gitano Barbel of which we saw no sign but then there above us and low was the black stork.
The Guia de Aves del Estrecho de Gibraltar only records 4 winter sightings so perhaps you understand my excitment at not only seeing this uncommon bird but to see it on Christmas day!
Can anyone tell me are winter sightings getting more common with global warming changes?
Regards,
Harry

Offline Jan

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« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2008, 10:13 AM »
Hello Harry,

Apparently there exists a small wintering population in the Guadalquivir rice fields in SW-Spain (http://www.alados.org/bs/invern/winter.html). So your bird might have been heading that way?

Greetings,

Jan.

Offline harryabbott

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« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2008, 10:32 AM »
Hi Jan,
Thanks very much for that link.
It raises another interesting point which is that the birding books do get quickly out of date as our knowledge or perhaps the birds behaviour changes. My copy of the Guia de Aves del Estrecho de Gibraltar is the latest 2008 reprint which I got for Christmas so it is very disappointing to find it is so inaccurate!
Thanks again Jan.
Harry

Offline John C

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« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2008, 13:36 PM »
Don't be too quick to condemn "The Guia de Aves del Estrecho de Gibraltar" which is, in my opinion, an excellent, but a much neglected book.  It is a pretty good field guide, having superb illustrations, useful local bird distribution maps and a Spanish/English text (very useful when meeting a native birders).  Crucially it provides an excellent guide to when birds arrive and depart the area.   More often than not it is the only book I take with me when birding in south-west Spain

The thing to bear in mind is that the book covers only the southern half of Cadiz province and it's comments about abundance have to be taken with this in mind.  This means, for example, that many of the marshlands that are found along the Guadalquivir are outside the scope of this book.  Comments about the status of various birds have to be adjusted accordingly.  Unfortunately I am rarely in the area in winter, but small numbers of Black Storks do now seem regular in winter on the saltpans/marshes near Sanlucar and (I think) La Janda (near Vejer).  I suspect, given that the species has always returned to Iberia early in the year, that  few birds have always wintered.  However, I think a variety of factors have meant greater numbers are being reported - better observer coverage, increasing protection and, not least, global warming' which has encouraged this trend,
John

Offline Dave

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« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2008, 13:53 PM »
Hi All
and Welcome to  :sign: Harry. Not a black stork, but last weekend on the church tower at Villaobispo, just outside Leon, I spotted a very early White Stork, they usually arrive at the end of February. A couple of days later, sat in the lounge we both saw another White Stork flypast in the dark., they seem to get earlier each year.
Regards
Dave

Offline John C

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« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2008, 15:27 PM »
Some more details concerning this species in winter - according to "A Field Guide to the Birds of Donana'  (Vazquez & Gellegos) depending on the weather, between 50 and 80 Black Storks winter on the Coto - including, presumably, those found on the western bank around Sanlucar. This makes me even more confident that they're regular in winter on La Janda but - as I said above- I'm rarely get out birding in te area bewteen Oct and February so have no personal experience to support my view,

John

Offline Jan

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« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2008, 15:40 PM »
To put things in perspective: a few Black Storks winter in the Camargue (France). The habitat they frequent there probably resembles the Spanish wintering site: extensive saltpans, marshland and rice paddies (dry throughout the winter, I presume).
This makes me wonder whether in between these sites any wintering birds can be found (Ebro,...)? Does anyone have any information on this?

Offline John C

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« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2008, 11:11 AM »
Amongst the goodies that awaited me below the Christmas tree was a facsimile copy of Irby's "The Ornithology of the Straits of Gibraltar" (originally published in 1875).  In it Irby records seeing a Black Stork near Seville on 11th January 1872; clearly the species has always wintered in small numbers.  Perhaps, as Jan's comment implies, changes in agriculture (i.e. rice paddies) have increased this trend,

John

Offline Jonathan01

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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2008, 11:47 AM »
I read all this last night and lo and behold, I dreamt of black storks :santa_azn:  Im off to Bavaria today, so i shant see anythere but I shall post what I do see when I return, Have a good New year's everyone
Regards J
As the eagle was killed by the arrow winged with his own feather, so the hand of the world is wounded by its own skill.

PeterJ

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« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2009, 19:44 PM »
Hi Harry,

A warm welcome to the forum and good to have you here, increasing the Andalucian contingent to even greater numbers. Black Stork have wintered close to Malaga for some years now and tend to buck the trend regarding salt marshes etc. So it is not a great surprise to read your report.

 :santa_afro:

Sorry couldn't resist old santa.

Peter