Wednesday, 21 June 2017

White Stork: Photo essay

The White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) is found across western Europe (but with large gaps within this range) to as far as the Caspian Sea. This population migrates to Africa for the winter, with large numbers arriving in southern Africa in time to take advantage of large flying insects which are abundant at this time. There is a further small isolated population further east which winters in northern India.

In Holland it virtually became extinct as a breeding species in recent times but the erection of breeding platforms across the landscape soon improved the situation & today there must be several hundred pairs breeding in Holland, nearly all on artificial platforms such as this one.

This pair were breeding on a farm where Rob & I stayed for a couple of nights in a B&B. The owners were very conservation minded & proud of their birds.

Adults continually add material to the nest, much to the confusion of the nestlings who think food has been delivered!

There is constant arranging of the twigs & branches which make of much of this bulky structure.

The adults call frequently from the nesting platform & is is loud! This may continue for several minutes.

White Storks are strong migrants, but their ability to cross large expanses of water is extremely limited. Therefore crossing into Africa from Europe tends to be  at the Straits of Gibraltar; Bosporus & the central Asian population flying down the rift valley through Israel. The rather more isolated eastern population have no such problems, apart from getting over the Himalayas! In southern Africa (where I spend a lot of time) it can be a common sight both in the highveld & in large national parks like Kruger. A very small number of birds stay throughout the year, thought to be first summer birds not yet ready for breeding.

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