Tuesday 25 June 2024

Estonia - Day 4: 8th June 2024 for Oriole Birding

The pre-breakfast walk on our last morning at Altmõisa gave us excellent scope views of Icterine, Barred and Marsh Warblers as they belted out their refrains before the heavens opened with thunder and lightning and sent us rather damply back for sustenance.

Icterine Warbler

Montagu's Harrier

Montagu's Harrier

From here we headed south with a stop at the coastal Pojari once again where we added Avocets with a chick amongst a good wader selection that included Spotted Redshank and both Godwits.  A hulking adult White Tailed Eagle was casually sitting on a rock close in shore.  

White Tailed Eagle


Grey Partridge was a welcome find in a field with six Stock Doves before we stopped again on the outskirts of Martna to look for Ortolans.  They were silent but we did have our first Lesser Spotted Eagle overhead as pointed out by the local Ravens and a Hobby.  A purring Turtle Dove on wires not far down the road was a bird on the hoped for list today.

Lesser Spotted Eagle - wonder if it has a Frog?  In Estonia and Hungary they are called Frog Eagle

Everyone has a wood store and each one is so neat and stacked literally to the rafters.

Tree Sparrows

Norther Wheatear


A pleasant walk down a forest track at Tuhu may not have given us the woodland birds we were after although a Jay was new but we did see some quality butterflies and a yellow Misumena vatia yellow Crab Spider was all appreciated.

Northern Wall Brown

Northern Wall Brown

Northern Wall Brown

Scarce Fritillary

Scarce Fritillary

Scarce Fritillary

Lesser Marbled Fritillary

Lesser Marbled Fritillary

False Heath Fritillary

Poplar Admiral

Poplar Admiral

Black Veined White

Black Veined White

Black Veined White

Helophilus pendulus

Hybomitra sp

Lixus iridis

Misumena vatia

Solomon's Seal

Clammy Catchfly

Creeping Bellflower

Common Spotted Orchid

The farmland beyond gave us a Great Grey Shrike on top of a pine that stayed long enough for me to get the scope out and set up.  The breed in the stunted pine bogs that we then passed through but are almost impossible to see there.

Great Grey Shrike - Sean Moore

A walk through the wooded park in Audru was productive with a pair of Middle Spotted Woodpeckers attending a noisy nest and we saw our first Treecreepers and Robin along with a dashing Kingfisher and a calling Marsh Tit.  

Middle Spotted Woodpecker

Lunch was taken at a bakery in the heart of Parnu which was well timed to avoid a deluge and it was sunny again when we arrived back at Audru marsh.

It was an excellent couple of hours with yellow-headed Citrine Wagtails, Grey and Blue Headed Wagtails and many Whinchats, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and Reed Bunting along the track where baby Lapwings of different sizes fed like clockwork toys.

Citrine Wagtail

Pools held 18 Black-tailed Godwits, 11 Spotted Redshanks and a skittish Marsh Sandpiper while Snipe was heard and a dapper female Red-necked Phalarope swam back and forth; head bobbing and gyroscopically whirling in circles and zig-zags.  I have only seen a couple of breeding plumaged ones before so this was a real treat.

I was suddenly away of a familiar but unexpected call from the sedges in front. I heard it four times and to my ear it was a Baillon’s Crake and I ran to the other side of the van to get Tarvo but it stopped at that point.  I did not realise that there had only been one accepted record for Estonia but alas, unless someone sees it to confirm that it was not a frog it will go no further – not even a recording will suffice.  Tarvo circulated the news.

Meanwhile up above White-tailed Eagles ruled the skies and a Honey-Buzzard drifted through at range. Around the far side we successfully found a pair of Garganey pretending to be clods of earth and despite the increasing wind a pair of Penduline Tits were watched attending in invisible nest in Willow.  Great Reed Warblers were getting going and Bearded Tit pinged while a Herring Gull pointed out another adult Eagle which a male Marsh Harrier took exception too.

White-tailed Eagle

Penduline Tit

Reed Bunting - Sean Moore

From here we drove to our new lodge – Klaara Manni where a Red-breasted Flycatcher and Goldcrest sung in the pines, Fieldfares hopped around the lawns and Crested Tits greeted us after dinner.

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