Monday, 26 August 2013

The Case of the Mysterious White Dead Thing . . .

Found a disc of old photos and re-discovered a mystery I'd forgotten about from ten years back. I'd only just moved into the valley a few weeks earlier and came upon this scene along the Derwent Walk late morning on October 18th 2003.

A very large, dead, and mainly white bird was being pecked at by a couple of crows. A long trail of white feathers could be seen going away from the body, whether blown by the wind or a trail left as it crashed to earth or been dragged along by something I don't know. What the picture doesn't show is that there are pylons and power lines going across the field, a possible (or even probable) cause of death.

I've cropped both photos and in the close-up shots you can see an area of black to the left of the body. Unsure if this is tail or wing but I do remember one of the crows pulling at the wing on that side of the body, stretching it out to reveal long black primaries on an otherwise white wing though can't remember extent of black fully.


It was only about ten minutes walk from home and I promised myself to go back with my scope but either got side-tracked or just being a lazy sod, didn't, so it still has me baffled after all these years :(


  1. If you say it is a bird, then your choices are:
    Snow goose
    Moscovy duck
    White stork
    Unless ive missed any? You can rule out 3 of them and be left with snow goose, moscovy duck and white stork. Youre choice :0

    1. Certainly a bird Steve, my view was better than the photos suggest. Out of the list you give only white stork is a contender (gannet? haway man this was nowhere near Birtley)
      But it's ten years ago now, I never even considered a stork at the time, my best guess back then was actually an osprey but like I said I can't remember the wing pattern now apart from black primaries. Will remain a mystery.