|Top of the tree: Boss Stork|
The stork in Latvia is considered a sacred bird. Farmers try to attract them to nest in the hope that they will bring good fortune. They make outrageously big nests from twigs on top of telegraph poles alongside main roads through the country... and on tall buildings where they can.
The white stork is a common sight in the fields in the summer, foraging for frogs, lizards, worms and insects, with possibly 10,000 pairs nesting across Latvia - a healthy increase on previous years that's caused some to call Latvia 'The Land of the Storks.' But a dry year means fewer storks, as less rain means fewer frogs.
Latvia is certainly alive with the stork and grey heron and all kinds of hunting birds. The countryside is beautiful and the stork is one reason I got married there.
|Stork sanctuary: nothing to see, please move on|
Having been married in a ceremony at the Laumus Dabas Parks near Talsi, Latvia - where white storks nested on telegraph poles and grey herons wheeled into the sky as we approached - we re-located to the banks of the Danube for our honeymoon.
And there we found, to my joy, actually, a rest home for injured storks. There they were, standing on one leg, ignoring the pony rides and ice cream-buying of the public passing the park on Margrit Island.
But that's what it was: a stork sanctuary. Here's proof - five in this picture, though there were about eight. Some with broken legs or wings and clearly finding life a bit difficult but it was heart-warming to see.
I love storks. Stoical and symbolic, they represent a simpler life for me. I love the fact that there's a sanctuary for injured storks in Budapest. That's kind of getting the balance of life right for me.