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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Leptoptilos crumeniferus

I moved into Kampala's central business district yesterday (for the last five nights), which is nice for a number of reasons - one of which being that I can walk more places. However, whether it's the early morning gray-ness or the scorching mid-day heat or the purple-y quiet twilight, I feel like I'm being watched. Perched atop Parliament, National Theater, the Serena, and street trees caving under their unusual birdy weight, the Marabou Storks are the sentries of this town. They peer down at you and pace the tops of buildings, their folded wings hunching behind them, giving the appearance of a sinister old man with a determined walk, hands clutched behind his back, long skinny legs with wobbly knees. When they come in for a landing, one can't help but pause to see if those long filament-like legs will support the girth of their black bodies and long, fleshy pink gullets. As I type this blog in the unusually boiling morning sunshine, I can count 18 of these grouchy, watchful, bumbly old men congregating atop the MTN building, probably handing out their surveillance posts for the day.

4 comments:

Omutahinga said...

A friend who visited Kampala from Egpyt recently asked me if the marabou stork was the bird represented on Uganda's national flag. Perhaps it should be.

hmb said...

truly! although the crested crane is much prettier (I prefer the mohawk to that gross gullet neck bulge thingy)

James Chan said...

Are they the same storks that 'deliver babies'? Eurgh... for an eerie stork sensation, head down to the railroad towards Bugolobi around sunset. It's where everyone walks to avoid the traffic. They're all over the pylons and on the embankment, just watching....

dessertratt said...

I had been following your adventure as my daughter was in Gulu at the same time. Your project is similar to their aspiarations of micro-ecconomics vs charity. Concerned that you have dropped off the face of the earth! Hope it has worked out-