29 June, 2009

Black stork IN garden

Yesterday, out walking, we saw a large black bird, with a red beak, across the field. No binoculars, no zoom lens, what is it?

This morning sitting in Paradise and Roses (in-Persian-garden) I’m peacefully eating my breakfast bowl of muesli, and chatting to the Ungardener, enjoying the morning sun. Out of the sky comes a great, dark, shape; scoops a frog out of our pond and climbs onto the island. It is a very little island, about the size of a bathtub. (The Ungardener says it is 3 x 3 metres.)

Black stork

A black stork! Please excuse the soggy chest feathers. He tidies himself up, waits, graciously, while the Ungardener fetches his camera. Poses, left profile, right profile, OK? And flies away. My heart is still going pit-a-pat.

Chocolat and Aragon, although he stands about a metre high, both went to investigate. If I didn’t have the picture to prove it, I wouldn’t believe it myself!

You make your choices in life, some with deliberation, and some are just, oh but I never realised that the goldfish would eat the frogs! We wanted frogs, so NO fish. And do we ever have frogs. Even a stork passing overhead can see that. When I call Chocolat before I go to bed, in season, the frogs fire back the whole 1812 overture – from the chirping reed frogs, all the way down to the oompah brass.

All shall be well
And all shall be well
And all manner of things shall be well
- Mother Julian of Norwich

From SASOL Birds of Southern Africa by Sinclair, Hockey and Tarboton. 2nd ed. 1997 Distiguished by red bill and legs. Juvenile is browner. Feeds in streams and ponds. Uncommon resident. Nests solitarily on cliff ledges.


  1. Oh, how lovely and how lucky you are, it would have been a lifer for me!

    Another birdwatcher! Yay!

    Love us!

  2. What fun -- hope he (or she) returns for you. Keep those frogs hoppin'.

  3. We also have a pond--much smaller than yours--which proves to be major bird magnet. Most have been smaller species, but an occasional great blue heron has stopped by in years past. It's such an amazing sight to have such a large and dramatic bird come for a visit. It's usually not good news for the fish in the pond, however...

  4. To James. No fish, but lots of frogs! It was always going to be a froggy pond - with kingfishers

  5. WOW, it's beautiful. I hope he becomes a regular feature. Can you semi-tame a stork? Do you think it will bring a baby to the garden one day, haha, or does he only care about his own tummy??!

  6. A black stork in your garden--wow! We occasionally get sandhill cranes flying over high in migration calling their wild, rolling calls, but we've never had anything as large as a black stork in the garden. (Well, okay, there was that black bear strolling through one night. But it only left it's, ah, well, calling card, and we didn't actually see the bear itself.)

  7. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow.

    Okay, that's all I have to say.


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