Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Our first glimpse of baby storks

Things were quiet at the Aiguamolls nature reserve today. When we looked out from the first blind there were fewer birds. Either the flamingoes were out for the afternoon or I suspect they have gone to their summer home. There were some nesting mallard ducks, herons, giant and small white egrets. One large rock was covered with turtles and every so often one would make a spectacular dive into the pond.

Once again all the huge stork nests were occupied. We were very lucky to spot a mother regurgitating her food and feeding her chick, which had already developed its down feathers. There was lots of activity with mothers and fathers exchanging positions on the nests as they took off to feed themselves. Storks eat sixty per cent of their body weight each day. Better them than me.

There were lots of birdsongs today. Most notable were the melodious savi's warbler and the cuckoo. As we walked down the path past the fields of brilliant, yellow irises it sounded like several cuckoo clocks were going off all at one time. There were some munching noises from across the stream but with all the tall vegetation it was hard to see what was making the noise. Finally we spotted a cow perched precariously on the stream bank dining on the tall grasses growing there. A case of the grass is always greener?

At the next blind our patience paid off and we spotted two moorhens and four tiny chicks. Every time the mother dove out of sight under the water the babies couldn't figure out where she went so they quickly hightailed it back into the high grasses. In another pond we watched a moorhen aggressively chase some mallards away from her nest. It actually looked like the mallards were enjoying teasing her.

We stopped and watched a thirteen centimetre-long electric green lizard sun itself on the path. It didn't seem to be too bothered by us watching it. Finally, it ambled off into the bushes.

We are looking forward to returning  to the Aiguamolls soon to watch the progress of the baby storks.

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