I love birdwatching. I am willing to stay put for long periods of time just to see birds, to watch them do what they do. In Oregon, my home state, there is great birding, from all the migrating ducks and water birds to the elegant song birds, and flycatchers, finches, woodpeckers, and all the rest that grace our state. In Mongolia, there were the huge vultures, cranes, hoopoes, and wagtails, to name just a few. Now I am in Macedonia, and a whole new world of birds is opening to me as spring arrives.
I’ve been keeping company with these two all winter:
They are the Eurasian Magpie and the Eurasian Jackdaw. I have been hearing what sound like Choughs, too, but haven’t determined yet what they are.
I have wanted to see a stork for years. When I lived in Greece (41 years ago), I wasn’t paying attention to birds. Now, however, I know that I am in stork territory, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting my first sighting. I have been seeing stork nests, which have given me great hope all winter. One such nest is in Gostivar along the highway between Dibër and Skopje. Each time I have looked at the nest, I have known that one of these times, there would be signs of life. And yesterday it happened! I peered up at the nest as I sped by in the vehicle, and there was an adult White Stork standing on it! It looked like this:
Just back from Africa, after a trip of about 49 days.
These birds are big! According to Wikipedia, they measure from 100–115 cm (39–45 in) from beak tip to end of tail, on average, and have a wingspan averaging 155–215 cm (61–85 in). They weigh up toward the weight of a small turkey at about 2.3–4.5 kg (5.1–9.9 lb).
Spring and the urge to nest will probably inspire this kind of behavior in the weeks ahead:
Storks are carnivores, eating close to the ground and in shallow water.
Both members of the pair build the nest and incubate the eggs. Both parents feed the young.
These new storks may live more than 30 years. Good luck to them! They’re magnificent!