ESTONIA IN AUTUMN ALBUM
John made a short trip to Estonia in early September 2013 to recce our forthcoming autumn tour in 2014
We have made 15 spring trips to this remarkably birdy country and now we are looking forward to our first in the autumn
The magnificent castle at Rakvere bathed in autumn sunshine
The autumn sunshine prolonged Estonia's warm summer making birdwatching a very pleasant experience. John recorded some 126 species during his four day stay
including the following specialities, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Hazel hen, Nutcracker, Hawk Owl, Black Woodpecker, Great White Egret and Red-throated Pipit.
In addition John recorded a fly over Two-barred Crossbill at Poosapea and found a Little Bunting nearby on the last morning.
Significant movements of passerines was evident along the west coast of Estonia. At some sites hundreds of White Wagtails and tens of Spotted Flycatchers were noted whilst large flocks of Coal Tits were also on the move with 10,000 recorded at one site alone on the 6th of September! The sheer numbers of migrating birds was just incredible with at least 4,000 Common Cranes seen roosting in Matsalu Bay. Lots of wildfowl were on the move with parties of Bean Geese, Wigeon, Pintail and large flocks of scoter on the move. Sparrowhawks, Merlins and Hobbies were all heading south whilst three species of eagle were watched at one location, 2 White-tailed, 2 Golden and 3 Lesser Spotted Eagles!. Waders to were passing in good numbers with huge flocks of Ruff feeding in the stubble fields alongside the cranes.
On one morning at least 5000 Swallows flew south whilst large flocks filled the meadows around Matsalu Bay.
Ripe plums attracted one of the many juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers which were on the move and they did taste good!
Black Woodpeckers proved much easier to see than in the spring as birds were dispersing out of the forests into copses and even gardens.
Nutcrackers to were highly mobile and visible in both Eastern and Western Estonia during John's visit. He also discovered a Hawk Owl in Eastern Estonia
one of five birds recorded in the country so far this autumn and these birds are on the move surprisingly early this year.
Flocks of migrating cranes from Finland and Russia stopover in Matasalu Bay in their thousands. The birds even roost flighted over our hotel!
A combination of Estonian and Highland cattle graze the marshes in Matsalu Bay
A mixed flock of migrating shorebirds including Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Curlew Sandpiper
Please note: The above photographs were taken on previous trips. Itineraries change from time to time and therefore you cannot rely on these photographs as being an exact representation of what can be expected on a future tour. For details of the each tour, you should refer to the brochure write-up.
click here for details of our next tour to this destination