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Bird Stories - A Tale About Storks part 4 (1 Viewer)

A Tale About Storks – part 4

Blue sky, sunshine and an unexpected balmy twenty-three degrees C°. Oudemolen, here I come! Relying on a thirty plus year memory of when I had been there last, I was looking for a lovely little white bridge, followed immediately by a broad entrance path into the woods. Friends of mine used to park in that spot on the few occasions that I had joined them for a walk there. I remembered tall, mature oak trees, wet marshy meadows scattered with wildflowers, small fens, towering Scots pines, sudden odd patches of heather, stretches of open fields bordered by hedgerows. And weaving in and out of this landscape, the dark iron-rich waters of that pretty river, the Drentsche Aa.

Things change Erna, I told myself, as I dutifully followed the unexpected signs to park my car in a designated - new to me - area for visitors. No sight of the little white bridge. though. Turning off the ignition, I looked up. There, straight ahead of me, the stark skeleton of a large (very dead) tree was holding a big stork’s nest high up in its leafless branches. On it, a single stork stood clearly visible against the blue sky. That’s a good start! My first tree nest, and I’m not even out of the car yet! Can’t go wrong from here, I remember thinking with an excited grin on my face.

Not having found any info online on where this stork colony was situated, I had decided to walk the seven-kilometre circular trail that was supposed to start at the broad woodland path near the little white bridge. But where was the bridge? Counter to my intuition, I followed a sign to the left. Ten minutes later, I knew for sure I should have turned to the right, but hey ho, just veer to the right a bit further on in the woods, and I will surely get to the river that way. That thought proved a touch too optimistic.

Hours and hours, and many a long, hot and sweaty mile later, I had walked through all of the beautiful bits of landscape mentioned above. Not a glimpse of the river though, and definitely no storks. Still, I heard a cuckoo - first one this year - and several woodpeckers fanatically drumming away. Blackbirds and varies other small birds singing and chirping away in amongst the trees, frogs croaking, and I could have sworn that I heard the deep caws of a raven when I passed a stretch of tall Scots pines. Butterflies, meadow flowers, wild apple trees and the hawthorn in bloom.

Completely disoriented by now though - tired, sore, and not so enthusiastic any longer - I finally managed to get myself into the direction of my car, using my phone. It told me I had another fifty-nine minutes to walk! Groaning, I doggedly set off along the tarmac road I had somehow got myself to. A sign further up indicated one of the prehistoric burial mounds (Hunebedden) this province of Drenthe is so well known for. Opposite was a track into the woods, reducing my walk by nearly fifteen minutes. I took it, hoping for the best.

Coming out of the trees for a bit, the lonely track led past meadows basking in the hot afternoon sun. There, in the middle of the path, were two large snails (Helix pomatia) entwined in their slow, persistent mating ritual. Never having seen that before, I gratefully sank down for a long-overdue break.

To be continued …
 

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