A white stork spotted over Fenland near the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Welney could be trying to make it home to Poland

White Stork spotted at WWT Wetland Centre at Welney. Taken by Twitter: @Railraptor

White Stork spotted at WWT Wetland Centre at Welney. Taken by Twitter: @Railraptor - Credit: Archant

He has been the most-talked about stork in the Fens since arriving at the weekend.

The White Stork taking off at WWT Wetlands Centre Welney. Courtesy of SFB @NthNorfolk

The White Stork taking off at WWT Wetlands Centre Welney. Courtesy of SFB @NthNorfolk - Credit: Archant

But now the remarkable life story of the white stork spotted near the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust’s centre at Welney has emerged after experts pieced together information through the bird’s rings.

It had been believed the male had dropped in as part of its migration to its summer breeding ground – but it had actually collided with power lines in Poland and was among a group of storks brought to the UK last year for rehabilitation.

Cared for at the Shorelands Wildlife Gardens near Diss, this particular bird felt well enough to venture back into the wild of its own accord... and could even be trying to find its way back to Poland to find his mate.

Ben Potterdon, director of Shorelands Wildlife Gardens, said: “We thought it was very unlikely that these birds would ever fly again; one had lost an eye and another had problems with its balance.


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“They were brought here mainly because the weather gets so cold in Poland.

“But the stork that ended up at Welney managed to get better and stronger.

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“I noticed he was flying loops of two or three miles, but now he’s taken off and ended up 40 or 50 miles away at Welney.

“It could be that he is trying to find his mate and may make his way back to Poland – storks are very finicky over who they end up with.”

Reports of the stork’s arrival at Welney has caused a stir among the birdwatching community, some travelling the country to catch a glimpse of the stork.

He left the wetlands centre on Monday morning and was last spotted circling Downham Market shortly afterwards. Mr Potterdon added: “Experts believed that storks in rehabilitation would never leave their group because they had plenty of food available and they have each other for company.

“It seems this bird has even surprised the experts. Whatever happens to him, it is good that he’s back in the wild and living his life again.”

Do you have a wildlife story? Email louise.hepburn@archant.co.uk

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