April 2012 Photo of the Month
April 11, 2012 • Leave a Comment
April's Photo of the Month was taken in April, 2011 late one afternoon in the Polish countryside. April means Spring in Poland and as the temperatures warm and the landscape turns green, migrating birds return for the summer, when they nest and raise their young. White Storks were written into legend, thanks to Hans Christian Anderson, as the bearer of human babies. This ancient legend pre-dates Anderson's writings in the 19th century, but it was because of his story titled "The Storks" that the legend came into popular knowledge. In reality, White Storks winter in Africa and then fly north into Europe during the Spring and stay until the Autumn when they return back to Africa. The species, while still numerous, once nested throughout Europe, but due to the industrialization of the 19th century, their numbers declined. They are now most numerous in Poland, Spain, and the Ukraine. Their huge nests, which can be 7 feet deep and 5 feet in diameter, can be found throughout Poland which has over 50,000 breeding pairs at last estimate. Having a stork nest on your property is considered a sign of good luck.
This image shows a mated pair at their nest. As we watched them, they decided to fly down to the meadow near where we were parked to feed. I was able to photograph them as the first bird took flight. It flew over us, landed in the meadow and began foraging when the second one soon joined it. I shot this with at 500mm handheld, braced against the car window for stability. The late day light and an ISO of 400 allowed for a fast shutter speed to stop the action. In the end, it was a cool way to end a day of photographing these amazing birds!
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