Stalking Storks

[Editorial note: This post began to be composed on 22 September 2011.]
“Normally” every Thursday (and we’re back to “normal” now the summer courses are over) I go shopping in Guissona. The ancient Roman town of “Iesso”. Thursday is Market Day.
Today was my first “normal” Market Day of this Autumn. Hey! It’s Autumn! “Autumn” being also the beginning of the Academic Year. A new rhythm of weekly work, shopping, &c. Not the sort “normal” people have, because our “weekends” don’t coincide with theirs. We’re strange. We work Saturday and Sunday more intensely than other days. We have other anomalies.
So I set out to drive to Market, to Guissona.
And just two fields before the roundabout, something caught my eye. Something white in the field on my left. Was it a a bunch of seagulls flocking to some revolting manure spread on the field? Was it some egrets in a damp meadow?
It was storks. A huge (by my standards) flock of storks.
They were irresistable. We have known storks before. Keith has filmed storks nesting and flying  in Villafranca del Ebro and Urueña… And once some storks paused on their migration near our village, apparently because one of the flock was injured and couldn’t keep up…
But that is another story.
That Thursday (as I get back to my story slowly, it is longer and longer ago) I became very excited, and decided to completely warp my usual sequence of parking and shopping to get to the storks.
This meant parking at the Àrea de Guissona and walking back on the verge of the highway:
A dull-looking American housewife [significantly non-native species] in a potentially dangerous locale.
Nervously traipsing along the narrow “verge” of gravel between the highway and the array of ditches, camera dangling from my wrist, I progressed. Most vehicles gave me a very wide berth. Whether they thought I was likely to fall over into their paths, or what, I don’t know. That was scary in itself because often I could see that an oncoming truck in the other direction seemed timed to head-on at exactly the moment the vehicle behind me might be at the furthest point of it’s Amanda-avoidance trajectory.
And it was hot.
As soon as possible, I crossed the ditch. Then I was in a field and less dangerous to traffic. The stubbly field was remarkably uninteresting to tramp through in my American sandals. Strangely, I happened to be wearing black-and-white. I think that might have been an advantage in stork-stalking. With my ungainly gait and sympathetic colouring, I might have seemed less threatening.
I wanted to see why they had picked that field. They were eating. They were finding things moist and lively enough in that dry-looking field, that they hopped and pecked and gulped and swallowed. What?
Stalking storks from behind a frieze of reeds and weeds. There they are:
Soon I seemed to be “herding” them gently.
Whichever way I turned and approached affected every member of the flock. They ambled “casually” away from my threatening presence. Silently I pressed my digital shutter…

…and keeping the ambient sound.
God, they are so beautiful. I am a storkaholic.
Large, bipedal non-human creatures. And they can fly. Wow.
The pan includes the furthest left and right storks. The erect stork on the right seems to be a sort of sentry, guarding that boundary of the flock…
I will have more to add to this (and perhaps the story of the other local stork experience (distant ones, filmed by Keith, are a matter of record).
But with my slow loading connexion, this is all I can do now.
More to come….


About Catanea

I'm 1/2 of "Keith⁊Amanda" - that's a Tironian "&", but it confuses people, so we write it with a "7" [seven]. Calligraphers. In Catalonia.
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3 Responses to Stalking Storks

  1. Julia says:

    Thanks for this, Amanda! When I began to read the post I was hoping you were carrying your camera with you… And, YES, you were!

  2. cheethatsme says:

    Great Stork Stalking pics! They are beautiful. What WERE they eating???

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