Monday, 26 October 2009

Estonian Language Unit One

The exceptional news this morning is that our suspicions of yesterday were confirmed as we placed a 'tick' against Great Snipe on the World List. Yesterdays sighting was brief, but there was just something about this bird in flight which wasn't Common. Fortunately, the hotel manager had introduced us to Kari, a birder from Finland, who agreed he had seen one or two in the marsh opposite the hotel and on our escorted visit early this morning, clinched it! Then came the bad news. We returned for a hearty breakfast, and the rain started At the time of writing (11-30 Estonian) it's still pissipertating (sic) down and looks nothing like clearing, but our plans are set, should we get lucky, the bikes, maps and directions are ready so we're ready to go.

So far the Estonian List has increased by 8 species* and this trip list is as follows:- (in Tallinn) Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon, Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Herring Gull, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Blackbird (en-Route to Altmoisa) Mute Swan, Jay (Haapsalu) Chaffinch, Barnacle Goose*, Goosander*, Gadwall*, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Wigeon*, Mallard, Black-headed Gull, Goldeneye*, Tree Sparrow, Coot, Coal Tit, Waxwing* (Altmoisa) Fieldfare*, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldfinch, Magpie and Great Snipe*.

Hooded Crow - Tallinn
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus argentatus) - Tallinn

While there is absolutely NO intention of bringing smut or profanities to these pages, here is one that we believe to be unmissable, in the surety that our readers will take it in good heart. In my endless endeavor to learn the Estonian language, I consulted my learned friend Dr 'Bomber' Harris of the Broadwey School of Foreign and Ancient Languages with a tongue twister I just couldn't manage. Trying to explain to Ille that I had spent 12 months in the Persian Gulf, she simply didn't understand this time span and so I was very kindly sent this link. I must point out this is not a spoof, as I have since proved it out here on the ground!

The rain abated just after noon so, with a little reluctance on my part, we took to the bikes. Visibility was less than a mile, but we were riding on a well made, flat road, hoping to make the village of Puise 8Km away, and occasionally walking to the foreshore. Almost immediately 3 Common Gulls flew over, and we located a small party of Siskin in a stand of Alders. The adjacent fields were alive with Common Snipe in company with a few Lapwings, while further up the road, Siskin were replaced by Mealy Redpoll but in greater numbers. A small group of Greylag Geese joined a few Teal on the sea as single Linnet, audible only, and a Golden Plover was seen flew above us. Later, a huge party of Corvids put to the air and it was soon apparent why. The massive shape of a young White-tailed Eagle hoved into view, and passed us at about half a mile. That was when the rain restarted and with about a 5Km peddle back, we made for home. Sharp ears picked up a less than familiar call, which was soon seen to be an adult male Black Redstart, and as we neared the hotel a flock of Starlings flew in for a final feed. So, now to dinner and finish our bottle of wine, hoping for a dry day tomorrow.

Golden Plover - near Puise

And finally my own contributions to the Double Entendres

Cricket Commontator at an England v West Indies test match 'This is the start of the second over, and the batsman's (Michael) Holding the bowler's (David) Willie'.

In the early days of colour televised snooker, the commentator enlightened some by announcing, 'for those of you watching in 'black & white' the blue is tight behind the green'.

From Badminton 'For those of you just joining us, we can tell you that Captain Mark Phillips, recently married to the Princess Anne, had a refusal at the first jump'.