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Philip is Spending His 10th Winter in Bodrogkeresztúr!


A white stork has lived on the banks of the Bodrog River since 2006, and unlike his friends and relations, has wintered at home as well! We know that on June 7, 2003 an Italian researcher ringed the stork in north-east Spain in the Ebro River Valley in the town of Lucena. The black plastic ring and its code show up well against the white background of the stork, and can easily be spotted and read with binoculars or a camera. Therefore, Philip can be kept track of fairly easily.  On October 5, 2008 he was seen in the town of Kenderes, but that has been her furthest excursion from home. He spent the winter of 2008-2009 in Bodrogkeresztúr.

Fülöp a gólya Among Philip’s compatriots, it is common to spend the winter close to their nesting places because of milder winters, or because landfills offer a regular source of food. Philip was given his name based on the first letter of the code on his ring, and named after the Spanish Crown Prince (king since 2004). Philip travelled 1905 km from his birthplace to his chosen home. He is the first known stork in Hungary that was ringed in Spain. This is interesting because Western European storks travel through the Straits of Gibraltar on their way to Africa and not through Central or Eastern Europe on their way back to Western Europe to nest.

 FülöpHe has always survived the winter without human assistance. For example, when a tractor is working in the fields, Philip is right behind plucking up food. There are also always plenty of voles in the alfalfa fields. He has access to water in the Bodrog River, or if frozen, around the ferry which are usually free of ice. When the temperature dips below -10C, he seeks out a nice spot next to a warm chimney. During the winter, all the stork nests in the village are his and his alone. If he cannot locate enough natural food, he supplements his diet with pickings from the local garbage dump. In addition to his own nest, he has been seen resting in a nest on the corner of Tarcali út and Dózsa György u.

Over the past 10 years, Philip has fathered at least 1 and sometimes 5 chicks in three different nests, for a total of 25 chicks in ten years. For two years he inhabited a nest near the ferry in Bodrogkisfalud, and for six years on the chimney of the primary school in Bodrogkeresztúr. From 2014 he has nested on an electric pylon across from the Mayor’s Office.


author: József Serfőző
photos: Bertalan Majercsák

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