Encouraged by the first success in capturing stork we set off down the river Tacingol on Friday after noon. In the village Nariian Teel, the seat of the local authorities, we stopped at the local shopping centre (read: a grocery shop with a small front room and yet smaller storage room, offering all kinds of goods) to fill up our stock of water and bread. We also added a small bottle of Mongolian vodka "archi" for a later celebration.
We started searching for another nest up the river. Walking along a hardly noticeable path on the dry slope of a not very wide valley we meet three young Mongolian riders and tops for a brief chat. However, as Gombo, notes, they know nothing about storks. We have to ask older locals. An opportunity for that emerges when we turn to a smaller side valley to check the cliffs with nests of birds of prey and to take some water from a tiny brook running from a narrow ravine. Nearby stands a yurta with a pen. A local elder comes after a little while. The man, about seventy years old, dressed in typical Mongolian clothes starts talking to Gombo accepts an offered cigarette but we learn almost nothing about storks from him. He nods upon a photo in our brochure - he saw such a bird but a long time ago. While we talked, a heavy storm raged across the valley.
We proceed two or three kilometres up the river that is slightly turning to the left. We keep our eyes on cliffs and their crevasses and ledges, where white splashes of excrement mark either nests or resting places of birds of prey, and, as we believe, storks as well. We pass another yurta with a herd of horses and to our left, we spot a backwards oriented cliff with a nest in the middle. I raise my binocular and at the moment I recognise young storks in the nest, I can hear Gombo's "yippee" accompanied by a gesture of victory. He saw the nest first again!
|Gombo with a brochure in his hand questions shepherds|
Some twenty metres high, slightly forward projecting cliff tested out climbing skills and quality of pegs that held our ropes. The nest was quite small and provided little comfort to two grown-up youngs. There were bits and pieces of old nests scattered under the cliff, so we used the sticks to enlarge the nest a little for the trap to match the geometry of the nest.