SD4314 : White Storks at the Nest

taken 28 days ago, near to Tarlscough, Lancashire, Great Britain

White Storks at the Nest
White Storks at the Nest
A White stork at the nest feeding its mate who is sitting on the eggs. The breeding time of the White Stork is from the beginning of April and lasts 32 to 33 days. They most often lay three to five eggs and both parents share the task of sitting on them.

White Storks were once native to the British Isles and evidence suggests that they were once widely distributed but they are now rare visitors to the UK with only around 20 birds being seen each year. The last recorded breeding pair were in Edinburgh in 1416. Whilst it is unclear why this spectacular and sociable bird failed to survive in Britain, it is likely that a combination of habitat loss, over-hunting and targeted persecution all contributed to their decline. The largest population of white storks are found in Eastern Europe, with a quarter of these birds living in Poland. In winter, they migrate to Africa, flying in disorganised groups. Three white storks were released into the waterfowl gardens near the Eco-garden in June 2017 and more storks were released into the enclosure later in that year (LinkExternal link WWT Martin Mere).

The White Stork Project is working to restore a population of at least 50 breeding pairs in southern England by 2030 through a phased release programme over the next five years (LinkExternal link The White Stork Project). A pair were reported to be brooding on the Knepp estate with young due to hatch in June 2019 (LinkExternal link The Guardian).
WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre :: SD4214

WWT Martin Mere is a wetland nature reserve managed by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT). Situated on the West Lancashire Coastal Plain, it is one of nine reserves managed by the WWT, and it is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), an SPA (Special Protection Area) and a Ramsar Site LinkExternal link .

The centre takes its name from the mere on the west side of the reserve which has been provided with eleven observation hides. On the east side of the reserve there are a number of pens providing habitats for birds from Africa, Australasia, North America, South America, Siberia, and Asia.

The lake, Martin Mere, was formed at the end of the last Ice Age, when water filled a depression in the glacial drift. Until the late seventeenth century, this lake was the largest body of fresh water in England (5 miles in diameter, 20 miles circumference three times the size of Windermere). Christopher Saxton's map from 1579 LinkExternal link shows the original giant lake stretching from Rufford in the east, to Churchtown (then known as North Meols) in the west.

Active management of the mere began in 1692 when the first drainage channel was dug, and further attempts to drain it were made in the 1780s, but effective drainage was only achieved in the mid-19th century with the introduction of steam pumping. Farms and market gardens were established on the rich soils of the reclaimed land.

The first 363 acres of the site, known as Holcroft's Farm, were purchased in 1972 through local fundraising and the site was opened to the public in 1975 by Sir Peter Scott, founder of the WWT. Since then the reserve has been extended and is now one of Britain's most important wetland sites, visited by thousands of migrating wildfowl in the autumn and winter. It is also home to 100 species of tame birds, many on the endangered list and part of breeding programmes.

LinkExternal link WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre website
LinkExternal link RSPB Liverpool group
LinkExternal link Wikipedia

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SD4314, 90 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Tuesday, 20 April, 2021   (more nearby)
Saturday, 24 April, 2021
Geographical Context
Wild Animals, Plants and Mushrooms 
Camera (from Tags)
Panasonic DC-G9 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SD 430 142 [100m precision]
WGS84: 53:37.3169N 2:51.7309W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SD 430 142
View Direction
South-southwest (about 202 degrees)
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