Dinosaur of the week: White Stork

One of my favourite birds is Ciconia ciconia. This family was at home in Marchegg, Austria, in one of the biggest colonies of white storks in central Europe.

Generally, the species is doing alright, but threats include the continued loss of wetlands, collisions with overhead power lines, use of persistent pesticides (such as DDT) to combat locusts in Africa, and largely illegal hunting on migration routes and wintering grounds. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_stork#Conservation

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Dinosaur of the week: Red-backed Shrike

This is a male Lanius collurio perching on a maple tree in Austria. The bird winters in Africa and breeds in Europe. Its overall population size looks healthy. In Britain, however, it is all but extinct (https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/r/redbackedshrike/).

Swansong to a floodplain

Yeah, I’m feeling a wee bit sentimental. We’ve left our home of three years in Bratislava, said good-bye to many a good friend (who we hope to meet again in the future), and also said bye to our favourite twitching places along the river Morava / March. And because spring had already mightily started to spring, we had some lovely sightings in the floodplain near Devinska Nova Ves like a yawning stork, circling white-tailed eagle or a hare:

We also went to the WWF nature reserve -just over the border in Austria- in Marchegg, to see more storks and other birds:

I was particularly happy to have seen the breeding herons again. On top of that, I had never knowingly seen gadwalls before, so that was a rather welcome sight too.

Of course, there was some non-avian activity. The frogs and toads were mating, and snakes were around to hunt the mating amphibians.

Yep, it’s sad to leave such places, but there’s also the fact that we take some wonderful memories with us. Plus, there’s the chance to explore something new.