Unexpectedly successful finals (Monday 22 July 2002)
It's early morning. We are in Novosibirsk and our expedition is close to its end. To the surprise of all who watch our travel and to the surprise of us ourselves, we finally managed to "backpack" to three Black Storks. The result we had resolved at the start :)
First off a short flashback:
On Thursday, we marked the second Black Stork with transmitters in Siberia in the southern part of Novosibirsk area in Suzun district. Here are the videos.
And now what happened in the last three days:
On Friday, it seemed that the second stork would be the last one as well. In fact, we decided to leave both "utilized" nests in rest. Which meant to find the third nest - and nothing indicated we actually would on Friday.
By coincidence, Franta and Khalil went shopping in Klyucziki and drove two hitchhikers - a married couple going 35 kilometers by foot from their daughter to Taradanov town. The Zakourcevs (this is the name they were called) then introduced us to one of the Taradanov hunters named Valerka.
"One of those nests is about five kilometers away," Valerka said and tried to describe the nest. His description did not fit much for storks...
On Saturday morning, Nikolaj the hunter from Klyucziki, who had shown us the first two nests, appeared again. He went fishing all Friday as he had promised to bring them on his daughter's friend's marriage before we had come here. He spew out how many people he had asked for information about storks but had known nothing for sure.
We set off. The next huntsman, whose surname was Nikolaj as well, went to see "his" nest. Right after we had got to his home he came back as well.
"It's all abandoned," he said.
Our next stop was at Oleg Zakourcev's home. It's him who had brought Valerka. We did reached a nest under Valerka's command. It was a stork nest. We could see white feathers on it. Anyway, it was empty.
"The marten probably stole out the hatches..." noted Franta.
We wandered around the forest but it lead nowhere. A fisher who lives a few kilometers away in a bunker near the Ob River was our last hope. Nikolaj already told us about him in the morning.
"I sometimes see black eagles here," said the fisher. "They fly around but I don't know about any nest. Why should I look for it?"
Well, we'll try to look around here," Nikolaj decided.
As time went by, after an hour I heard Franta from the transmitter:
"Found it! Found it!"
Oleg found an occupied nest with three hatches, and yesterday morning the third "backpacked" stork flew out over the Ob River.
PS: I'll write you more about Oleg and mainly Nikolaj (Khalil started to call him 'Crocodile Dundee') after we go back. We should get back to Prague on Wednesday 8:30 am.