White Storks are commonly seen migrants during our summer months, flying south once breeding or fledging in Europe and North Africa (with ringed individuals being sighted since 1909). After receiving an interesting stork resighting from the top of Sani Pass, by citizen scientist Doggy Kewley (Polish Ring: PLG04P23), I thought it appropriate to summaries some of our recent foreign visitors.
SAFRING has received a total of 1,843 White Stork ring records (953 initial, 214 retrap/resighting and 676 recoveries). These are predominantly made up of foreign ringed birds; with 1,650 being foreign (804 initial, 182 retrap/resightings and 664 recoveries), and only 193 being SAFRING records (149 initial, 32 retrap/resighting and 12 recoveries). Most of these foreign records were generated when SAFRING received recovery reports of deceased storks found in South Africa (78 % of cases), with only 22% being reported as a result of live resightings. Through the use of inscribed hexagonal (ELSA) rings, resightings are increasing in recent years. These are easily seen while in the field and offer significantly more detail than conventional colour rings.
In an attempt to discover the migration routes of these species, 60 registered studies monitored by 28 ringing schemes, ring 100s of chicks across most European countries each breeding season, and have discovered some interesting movement patterns. The greatest distance between two sightings of a White Stork in our database is 10 114 km (from Lading, Denmark to Alexandria Beach, Eastern Cape; Ring: VIB00465). Most adult White Stork ringing and all chick ringing in South Africa has been done in Bredasdorp, Western Cape as this is the only area they are known to breed.
Some of the interesting reports from the 2016/17 migration are as follows;
Ring: HN941 – Initially ringed as a chick in Germany on May 26th, 2015, and recovered August 3rd, 2016 in Kamberg, KwaZulu-Natal.
Ring: 8P560 – Initially ringed as a chick in Poland on June 13th, 2016, and recovered December 15th, 2016 in the Freestate.
Ring: TA12113 – Initially ringed as a chick in Croatia on June 17th, 2016, and resighted January 5th, 2017 in Laaiplaats, Western Cape.
Ring: PLG04P23 – Initially ringed as a chick in Poland on June 27th, 2016, and resighted January 23rd, 2017 on Sani Pass.
Ring: PH06766 – Initially ringed as a chick in Hungary on July 11th, 2014, and recovered January 26th, 2017 in Ludewa district, Tanzania.
Ring: PLG2P399 – Initially ringed as a chick in Poland on June 1st, 2010, and sighted February 6th, 2017 in Bultfontein, Freestate.
To help with these studies please keep a lookout for ringed White Storks in your areas. These are likely seen between September and March as these are the months most foreign birds will likely be in South Africa. If you do see one please contact us at SAFRING with the details and photos, and be sure to record the full ring number.
We at SAFRING really appreciate all the effort of ringers and the general public (the latter in reporting recoveries), and would like to thank everyone that has taken part in ringing and resighting in Southern Africa