Two and a half hours from Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport, is what I consider to be my Shangri-La……a peaceful rural retreat.
Miles of coniferous forest with abundant wildlife, of deer, wild boar, elks, wildcat, fox, capercaillie, even the European beaver recently introduced and causing havoc, chewing the odd trees along the highway.
A pleasant place to read all those books you ever wanted to, even with all the wildlife distractions. But, having all the amenities of the supermarkets, library, walk-in centre, church, schools, pubs, restaurants and even a town IT centre to name a few of the establishments, right on your doorstep.
When I arrived the other day, there was a metre of snow, and it just kept on comming. To my surprise, I noticed on my way to getting bread and general shopping the following morning, a large bird circling in spirals….a heron I thought…but no…too big. Surely not a stork! It’s winter.
Tracing the creature through the air, it landed, and there before me, I saw about 50 bedraggled white stork. There before my eyes on the tributary of the Nepryszka river, huddled, obviously cold and hungry and having just migrated over 2,500 miles at least, from Africa, across Turkey, and over the Urals to avoid the Mediterranean Sea, which has no thermal currents to assist flight……. to this -20 C land of Mr Frosty! I seriously think there is something wrong with our climate!
Every summer I marvel at these creatures, nesting on chimney pots, swirling in the air, on thermals…fantastic, graceful creatures that give a country a national identity. So inscensed was I by the plight of these majestic birds, that I persuaded the local butcher to provide a bucket of offal to feed them. This sparked a reaction with locals who saw the plight of this infamous bird, cars pulled up, photographers took an interest, ornithologists flocked, and before long children were involved in a fight to save the storks.
The next day ‘Polsat’, the largest TV network in the country placed the story of the storks as of national interest and broadcast bulletins inbetween their main news.
This Easter, the real story was ‘White Stork Peril’, the saving of a national bird of distinction.
This Easter, I feel proud to have been part of a national campaign to support these beautiful creatures…..to give them the chance to fulfill their life and have a friutful season, migrating once more, at the end of this summer with their flock.
My thanks goes to all the outside crew at Polsat TV. I appreciate thoroughly their support and interest in the story which affected the country so much.