Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Estonia May 2013 - Day 6

Friday 17th May 2013.

Sadly, our last day on birdwatching in Estonia, but as we started the day at my favourite site Valguta Polder I knew it would be another great day.

The birdwatching at an another area within the polder was again brilliant with Great White Egret, Marsh Harrier, White-tailed Eagle, Black Tern, Common Tern, Whinchat, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Reed Warbler, White-fronted Geese, Osprey, Black-headed Gull, Lapwing, Grey Heron, Shoveller, Pintail, Barnacle Geese, Goldeneye, Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon, Ruff, Greenshank, Common Crane, Spotted Redshank, Wood Sandpiper, Little Gull, Cormorant and Great-crested Grebe.

The warm morning, brought out Holly Blue, Peacock, Swallowtail, Brimstone and Map Butterflies. I was also surprise to see two new moth species with a Mint Moth (pyrausta aurata) and Lattice Heath (Chiasmia clathrata) moth.

At lunchtime, we stopped near a small village called Love were we heard a Corncrake very close to the path. This was the closest I had ever been to a Corncrake and so as we waited people within the group spotted the bird moving within the vegetation. I just couldn't see the bird and I kept thinking that it would stop calling any minute now and my opportunity for this lifer would be lost. The noise got louder and more intense as the scanned the tops of the plants for the elusive bird. No luck, so tried plan B - standing on top of a pile of bricks and looking down on the plant tops. The calling continue as a scanned back and forth, then after what seemed like a lifetime I spotted an eye, then a head, thanks to John our leader's patience. Once I had seen the bird I watched as it move through the plants without any vegetation movement occasionally popping up its head to survey the area. At last Corncrake was added to my Western Palearctic List. Also present was a Red-backed Shrike.
In the afternoon we visited the Ilmatsalu Fishponds to look for Red-necked Grebe. As we walked from the car park within a few hundred yards a Bluethroat (white-spot) was seen. White Stork, Black Tern, Black-headed Gull, Sedge Warbler, Hooded Crow, Swallow, Thrush Nigthingale, Coot, White Wagtail, Whooper Swan and Reed Bunting were all seen as we walked down the path passing local fisherman catching Carp.

We heading towards the bay, stopping to watch a Penduline Tit feeding in amongst the trees. As we stood beside the bay we counted six Red-necked Grebe in beautiful summer plumage. Overheard flew a Hobby and Marsh Harrier and the air was once again filled with the sounds of Thrush Nightingale and Corncrake.

In the trees at the end of the bay we spotted two Penduline Tit nests and watch a bird visiting a nest.

What a fantastic end to our trip to Estonia!

I had seen 154 bird, 11 butterfly, 2 moth and 7 mammal species showing what a excellent country Estonia is for wildlife watching. It was a pleasure to see a country not covered in litter which is a major problem in the UK.

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