Thursday, 27 May 2010

Viljandi to Tallinn

Good news to start today's Blog as Graham Walbridge and Paul Harris, between them, have come up with the identity of the Warbler seen on 'Bicycle Twitch' day. It is, they reliably inform me, a Blyth's Reed Warbler which I wouldn't have got in a month of Sundays - Thanks very much you boys!

We're now back in Tallinn after a lovely day in the small but interesting town of Viljandi. As we were preparing to leave Ennu Farm there was, what i like to refer to as, a 'fanfare farewell' of bird song including the now usual chorus of Golden O, Icterine Warbler and Whitethroat. In addition, our stay was ended with 2 new bird songs for me, that of Common Redstart (now in full voice) and Hawfinch, a pair of which graced the large Horse Chestnut tree in the small copse and sang for about 15 minutes. The Redstarts had by now started building in one of a number of nest boxes around the property, bringing the breeding total (just inside the confines of the garden) to c7, Swallow, Spotted Flycatcher, White Wagtail, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch Starling and the Redstart. If they find a mate, it's likely the afore mentioned 2 Warblers will do likewise?

Male Common Redstart having just added a little more material to the nest.

Same, taking a little rest between building forays.

The female helping out as well.

As luck would have it, there was no need to wait for the daily bus as Farmer's wife Pihli was driving to Viljandi that morning as well. There was time on the way to call in at their farm and have a look at the new arrivals which included half a dozen recently hatched Chickens,

and this few day old piglet, being held by Pihli.

not quite as 'wild' as the ones yesterday.

Time for a quick family snap before getting on our way with Ille, Farmer Rauno, Pihli, Rauno's Mum and the dog.

Ille had booked us into the Grand Hotel for a single night, and as the name suggests it was rather grand. Modern, well appointed, warm and comfortable a very nice base to enjoy a day in this also very nice town.
We stopped off on one of several bridges across the moat, built high on a hill, to admire the town's church.

Next we visited the concert hall which I took too immediately, having a warm feel about it and acoustics to match. This is the small hall. We were lucky to see some of the afternoon performance.

While there was nothing at all wrong with the small hall, the larger one would have held its own in any major city. We got the impression that any artist would be well pleased to tread these boards.

The Moat looking towards the Swing Bridge.

It's what it says in the tin!

Locally, they refer to this as the 'Swing Bridge' as it does so quite a bit.

Beautiful scenery throughout, I would guess the dimensions of the lake to be somewhere in the region of 5 miles long and a mile at its widest?

What remains of The Convent which was built in the 1300's.

a view in the opposite direction.

The town is full of small deciduous woodlands and parks, while the lake is surrounded by mixed wood. Once again we found a whole array of birds, mostly singing, including Thrush Nightingale, Wryneck, Pied & Spotted Flycatcher, Common Redstart, Raven, Mistle Thrush and no end of Rooks.

Singing Wryneck (I'm getting used to this now, so should be alright when I find one in Okers Wood).

Another 'unidentified' Dragonfly which doesn't look the same as the Downy Emerald from the other day if only in the less prominent wing veins. Perhaps Paul will take a look at this one for me as well? On second thoughts I think it is the same????

The Lake wasn't quite so productive, we were expecting a couple of Grebes at least, but the following fell to the camera.

Common Tern, there were just c2.

Little Ringed Plover an addition to the Estonia List.

Male Mallard, one of c6 that were flying about.

While having a sandwich and beer c2 adult, summer plumage Black-headed Gulls flew over the lake and later we recorded c6 Herring Gulls in a place which is probably as far from the sea as you can get in Estonia.

Back to the town, and we were finding these Giant Strawberries all over the place, which are the town's 'symbol'. Looks like this one has a 'bug' in it!

In the evening we enjoyed a splendid meal in the hotel restaurant 'Eve', with as nice a Greek Salad as you'd want, delicious Russian meat soup, lamb cutlets with croquette potatoes and 2 puddings, both of which Ille ate. Since my last jaunt I have been drinking almost exclusively Argentinian wine, so a couple of bottles of Mendoza Cab Sav went down quite nicely as well.

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