Friday, 14 May 2010

Birding the Gulf of Finland

Despite a contrary forecast and a heavy downpour of rain late afternoon yesterday, this morning started sunny and by the time I started out for the sea-side (09-00) the temperature was already in the high 60's. Walking through the 'old town', always a blessing, birds seemed to be singing in all directions. Up above the breeding population of Common Swifts were 'screaming' as they provided for their young and in small gardens no fewer than c3 Lesser Whitethroat and c2 redstart were seen.

Arriving at the shore-line the tide seemed very low with Cormorants, Black-headed Gulls and herring Gulls (the nominate race Larus argentatus argentatus) taking full advantage of the exposed rocks. Further along, what looked like a 'tide line' of sea ducks were still present numbering several hundreds with Goldeneye, Common Scoter and Long-tailed Duck being most numerous but with a few Red-breasted Merganser being represented. It was something of a surprise to find c6 Goosander (c4 x make + c2 x female) among the waterfowl but Terns and a single Lesser Black-backed Gull (also nominate race Larus fuscus fuscus) were expected. I still haven't managed to photograph this Gull, although I have seen it on all 5 of my visits to Estonia, but each time they have been distant.

This Common Tern, with extra large gape, looked ready for a bit of fish passing?

With none forthcoming it settled for the 'closed bill' pose.

An obliging adult male Long-tailed Duck

surely deserves a couple of images of such fine plumage?

While on the subject of 'fish passing' (part of the bonding process between most sea Tern species) this male Arctic Tern has been successful with a catch, and is likely hoping to be successful in other directions!

and yes, the eager female awaits on a nearby rock.

A little teasing, don't let 'em have it all at once son, and the pass is made.

OK pal this one is nearly down the hatch, so off you go for another!

There were c5 Mute Swans along the sea wall including a juvenile.

A male Gadwall, normally associated with fresh water,

and his lady friend.

Just about at the northern limit of their range, this single Little Tern was considered a nice find.

Black-headed Gull, plenty of these to be seen.

Another White Wagtail

One of the male Goosander in preening mode.

A second look at yesterdays Icterine Warbler for comparison

with a back view showing some signs of a wing panel.

One record I forgot to mention yesterday and was the disappointment of the day was a splendid Camberwell Beauty Butterfly. How can you be disappointed with one of the most eye-catching insects in the world I hear you ask. Well, that came not with the sighting, but by the fact I nearly trod on it, it then did a 'get your camera ready circuit' before settling again briefly and I didn't get the shot. 

To update the Estonian Bird List, which on Wednesday reached 12 species, in addition I have now recorded:-

Common Swift, Starling, Sparrowhawk, Shelduck, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Mallard, Goosander, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Nuthatch, Tree Pipit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Greenfinch, Willow Warbler, Grey Heron, Pied Flycatcher, Goldfinch, Spotted Flycatcher, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, Robin, Common Tern, Common Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Little Tern, Eider, Great Black-backed Gull, Goldeneye, Redstart, Icterine Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat.

Bringing up a Trip Total of 44 and an all time Estonian Total of 92. Included in that final figure are Common Crane, White Stork, Golden Oriole and Great Snipe from previous trips.

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