Black stork from Poland winters in Thrace

Black stork from Poland winters in Thrace

In the beginning of previous week, we were contacted by a colleague from Poland with a request for collaboration. Piotr Zieliński works in the Department of Ecology at University of Lodz and during the summer jointly with Regional Directorate of State Forests in Lodz have started the project “Black Stork online” In addition to live streaming camera from the nest of this elusive species in the framework of the project stork chicks are marked with colour rings and one of them is fitted with satellite transmitter with the aim to study its home range and migration route. The Black stork tagged with the transmitter is a female bird and researches have given her the name Lodka. Piotr shared his concerns that instead of being in Africa, Lodka has settled in the vicinity of Saedinenie town from the start of December. It wasn’t a great surprise to us since back in the mid-1980s our colleagues have described wintering Black storks in the region where rice fields provide good habitat to spend winter.

Our first effort to locate Lodka was last Friday in the rice fields between Saedinenie town and Malak chardak village. Led by coordinates sent the day before we have encountered a flock of 6 Black storks that typically for that species evaded approach and flew away leaving us without a chance to seek for colour ring. Confident this should have been Lodka’s group we sent information on hour and coordinates of observation to Piotr. Though it turned out that at that time the juvenile bird was about 2 km south of us and most probably was not in the observed flock.

We made next effort to find Lodka on Monday. Coordinates have shown change of roost to the north and visit of fields, grasslands and small reservoirs. On the very first stop to scan a small reservoir next to Golyam chardak village we saw 2 Grey herons and 1 Black stork. Careful look has revealed these are not the only birds and few more Black storks were close by. Detailed watch of each bird has brought the happy news that one of the birds has a ring and after some more effort we read the symbols as 193L – the code of wanted Lodka! The flock was resting and feeding in the water and the adjacent wet meadow around the reservoir. We were glad to find out that Lodka is in good company – together with another juvenile bird they are accompanied by 10 adult Black storks. 

Good luck to colleagues with methods of tracking and luck of birds during the winter!

Dimitar Popov - +359885108712