If you’re on a driving trip near Vienna or around the Czech and Slovak borders, I’ve got a great detour to recommend: the WWF Stork Sanctuary at Marchegg, Austria, about half an hour north-west of Bratislava. I stopped there on the advice of a friend a few years ago, without realising it’s a World Wide Fund for Nature project, and I was impressed.
Storks fly up from Africa to breed in Marchegg every year – last year 43 breeding pairs produced 92 baby storks, according to the close-watching experts. The season generally goes from late March or mid April through to sometime in August, and this year the first stork arrived on March 19. When I visited I saw dozens of stork nests in trees, and if you look extremely closely in the picture, you’ll see I also saw a lot of storks (mostly their heads!).
There are various walks you can do around the sanctuary and I’m not sure if it’s always the case, but during my visit, volunteers were there to answer questions and there were a few tasteful souvenirs to buy in support of the WWF work.