Friday, 31 May 2013

Estonia May 2013 - Day 3

Tuesday 14th May 2013

On day 3 we visited sites on the southern side of Matsula National Park.

We stopped at Kasari Meadow and climbed the Kloostri birdwatching tower for a great view. If you are not worried about heights then a climb to the top of the tower will help you improve visibility if there is a heat haze.

There were three young  Elk feeding across the water meadow and Corncrake could be heard continuously. Along the footpath, Brimstone, Large White and Orange Tip butterflies were seen.

After the water meadows we stopped on an old road bridge which crossed a river and it was here that I heard and watched my first River Warbler. A Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was also seen drumming in a dead tree near our parked minibuses.


White Stork nest on a chimney near our lunch stop at Vesiroos.

At Penijoe Manor we spotted a Nuthatch, but I was thrilled to spend 20 minutes watching a Camberwell Beauty and a Red Admiral chase each other presumably the beauty was defending its territory. Although the Camberwell Beauty looked faded and had damaged wings, the chase was relentless and the aerial agility of both insects was amazing. As I watched the butterflies flying around a small Map Butterfly came to rest on the on the ground enjoying the warmth of the sun.

The flowers at Penijoe were fantastic too.

On the way back to the hotel, we stop at Raune for and are lucky to see a pair of Grey-headed Woodpeckers

In the evening we took a boat trip into the Matsula reedbed to experience the evening sounds and sights of the reedbed. The sky was at times filled with flocks of migrating geese, such as Barnacle Geese and two Garganey flew past the boat. Savi's Warbler could be heard from deep within the reedbed and a Great Reed Warbler was seen briefly. After an unforgettable laughter-filled picnic-tea floating amongst the reeds, we were taken to area where European Beaver sightings were possible. As the boat cruised the channels the sun was slowly setting and then we spotted a dark shape in the water. Looking through our binoculars the shape became clearer and it was a Beaver swimming directly towards the boat.

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at the Kasari Meadow again, with the hope of seeing Spotted Crakes. Sadly, no crakes were seen, but in the evening light four adult Elk had decided to graze much closer to the footpath. Roe Deer were also seen grazing, but it was the magical sounds of the area which filled our ears. Concrakes, Bittern, Grasshopper Warbler, Thrush Nightingale, Cuckoo, River Warbler and Wood Sandpiper were all calling in a top-drawer evening symphony never to be forgotten.

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