First of July I had very nice summer trip to Estonia with my uncle Jände. Our target place was Audru Polder in Parnu area where the first ever breeding of Black-winged Stilts were found earlier this year. This species were missing from my Estonian list, so I really wanted to see that.
Estonia is and has been always a special place for me. I started my bird watching hobby and later lifestyle there with my uncle 24 years a go. My life list there is comparatively better than here in Finland when you think how many species have been recorded in both countries. In Estonia the number is something around 400 and in Finland around 500.
Anyway we started early afternoon and I even had to work a bit from the ferry before we arrive to Tallinn. Almost two hour drive to Parnu area we first went to check our hotel and soon after that we headed to Audru, our main target. About the hotel, there was suppose to be a air conditioning, but all we had was table fan and about 34 degrees.. Great..
Audru was amazing. Black Terns flying around, even a flying Great Bittern surprised us. Many Great Egrets, Marsh Sandpiper etc. We went to check the place where the Stilts were seen at the nest and suddenly we met Matti Rekilä in the middle of the road in the middle of nowhere! Jände knew that Matti was in the area, but still funny situation. He told me were to look for the Stilt and first bird was feeding about 200m from the road. First tick in the bag!
At the place we also had two Citrine Wagtails, which is pretty common in the area and tame Mash Sandpiper. We moved a bit towards the nest ( still watched it from the road ) and there we were able to see two adults and three juvenile Black-winged Stilts! First ever documented breeding!
Here is a short video of the birds and you can see at least two chicks there!
Matti also told that he had at least one calling Little Crake around the area. That was one of the most common species which was missing from my list so we drove to the place and walked bout 30 meters before we heard one calling! Two ticks in a day! Later also another calling bird near our cars. I was so happy to get this one too to my list.
At some point we noticed that sun was setting, so we drove to Parnu to get something to eat and to the hotel after that. Night was tropical and sweaty...
|Flying Great Bittern. |
|Marsh Sandpiper stretching.|
|Spotted Redshank and Black-winged Stilt.|
|Can you find the Citrine Wagtail? |
Nest morning we started from West side of the Parnu. Place was small lake surrounded by forest and there was couple pairs of breeding Black Terns. We had nice photo shoot with the terns ( I got only bad ones ) and some butterflies also around the area. Worst thing was not my bad photos, but flock of Horseflies... After the lake short visit to Audru to check the place.
Next destination was Avaste area which is normally good place to see Montagu´s Harriers and other species of Raptors. We had one Montagu´s, one Lesser-spotted Eagle and that was basically it.. Two Turtle Doves were nice. Even with the oves the best thing were thousands of butterflies on the road! Poplar Admirals, Emperors, Lesser Emperors and some Eurasian White Admirals were drinking lime from the road.
|Adult Black Tern.|
|And another. |
|Close up of Poplar Admiral (limenitis populi)|
|Common Adder (Vipera Berus)|
From Avaste area we drove to Haapsalu, checked our next hotel ( This time we really got the air conditioning ) and we made evening trip to cape Pôsaspea. Absolutely zero migration, like you can imagine in the middle of the summer.
We drove back to Haapsalu, I visited a grocery store and had dinner at the restaurant downstairs. Great piece of meat tasted nice after a long day.
Last morning we slept so nicely in the chilly room that we woke up like 8am which was very very too late... We packed our stuff and we went to see if there was any migration at the Pôsaspea, but nothing really. Two flocks of Common Scoters, some Whimblers, Dunlins and other common birds.
We also checked Haversi wader beach, but nothing else than weird looking wader which was probably just retarded Wood Sandpiper.
Soon after Haversi we started our drive back to Tallinn and to the ferry.
What a great trip and great birds! Thanks to Jände for company. We always have great time and sometimes even a great birds. My Estonian list is now #289 species.
Till next time.