This week we have been fortunate that a White Stork has been seen in the valley and it seems to have taken up temporary residence, maybe just until the weather improves.
White Storks were resident in the UK until a few hundred years ago, but are now being re-introduced at a few sites in the South East. This bird is tagged and identified as one that was brought to Knepp in West Sussex from Poland as an injured bird in 2017. Having recovered it now flies free although not usually this far from Knepp. More information about the White Stork project can be found at www.whitestorkproject.org
Another unusual bird that has been seen recently is the Scaup (photo above courtesy of Jake Gearty). Similar to a Tufted Duck, they are rarely found inland but a male and 3 females spent some time on the flooded meadows a few weeks ago.
A regular winter visitor to the valley is the Marsh Harrier. They prefer marshland and reedbeds to hunt their prey so the valley is ideal. This male, photographed in October 2018, was tagged as a nestling in Norfolk and had also been seen in Northern France.
Every winter about 200 Water Pipits visit the UK and several of them can be found in the Park. They are quite shy and look very similar to the more common meadow pipit but can be identified by the white stripe above each eye.