At the nest at last! (Tuesday 16th July 2002)
I am in a camp near Kligina Lake at the south of Novosibirsk area not far from Altai. While I am waiting for the afternoon (your evening) entry made for Radiozurnal, Franta Pojer and Lubos Peske have been probably already climbing a huge pine 1600 meters away from here. They are installing a catching device to the stork nest. At last! After we had passed the area as long as from Hamburg to Krakow and from Prague to Stockholm, the reason of our stay here has finally come: to catch the Black Storks and mark them with "backpacks". But do not be unreasonably optimistic.
Today we went from Novosibirsk through the district town Suzun to Klyucziki village. We were pleased by its tidiness: mostly straight fences and freshly painted blue frames of windows pertaining to small Siberian timbering houses. Several Japanese cars with the wheel on the right stood in front of some of them. The cars were probably imported from who-knows-where. Klyucziki has 1464 inhabitants and most of them are employed in the local kolkhoz. Their salary makes a thousand rubles in average.
Let's get back to the storks again. We met a local huntsman Nikolaj Juzin in the village. It's him who showed Premek and Rostislav Silov (the director of the ZOO in Novosibirsk) the nest at the end of last week. He did not look any helpfully from the start even if he admitted he had walked round the other nestst as well and that one of them was occupied. But after we showed him some photos from African Odyssey he suddenly softened. We bumped 18 kilometers to the lake through fields and birch forests.
"The nest is about 600 meters away," said Nikolaj.
We dressed our anti-mosquito equipment and set forward. The birch forests are beautiful and you do not have to look for mushrooms - you just pick them. But the mosquitoes are even worse than in Gornyi. When you take off your gloves you can feel your hand penetrate little clouds of mosquitoes. Here and there, our clothes are covered by mosquitoes. I'll try to send some photos over satellite at night or in the morning, as you probably do not believe it without evidence.
The nest was not 600 but 1600 meters away (that's Siberia :). We approached it carefully. One of the parents stood above the hatches. Khalil snapped about two films and Franta with Lubos inspected the position of the nest thoroughly. Then we got back to the lake and started to build our camp. Nikolaj informed us he was about to catch some marriage and would be back tomorrow at noon to show us the second nest. Then he started to run to 11 kilometers distant home. That may be the Siberia as well...
I am calling Lubos with the transmitter but he won't respond. He might be on the tree. Grisa is trying to tune some radio station, but he does not succeed. So he played a MC with songs of Jurij Briliantov. See you for the time being.