Winter does not give up
It’s mid- March but the temperatures are still quite wintery. Night temeparatures drop down to -10C, around zero during the daytime and snow is still usual every day. Badgers are up and active, so there is finally something to enjoy from the trail cameras Also some migratory birds have arrived aleady some weeks ago, skylarks first geese, lapwings. The only thing we have to wait is that COVID would ease things and sot of “normal” life would be restored.
Spring slowed down
It was beautiful start for the April but now the spring has slowed down. It has been raining, snowing and stormy last 8 days. Just few warmer moments. Hectic weather has slowed donw the nature as well. Not much of a good light to take photos, cold and wind is not exactly motivating to go out. Juts for the clearification- we do not have agressiv isolation rules in Estonia and we are allowed to be outdoors as log we keep 2m distance. Ural owl is still sitting quitly on her nest, not much of activity, i keep monitoring her once per day or two days. Elks are much more present, i have been stumbeling upon them every now or then on the same spot. Some bird species have arrived within last 2 weeks, white stork, marsh harrier, first blackcaps. And of course artic waterfowl and cranes are covering the fields…
Ural owl nest
Found a new ural owl nest. Very good location for filming and photography. Well lit and minimal if any disturbance while approaching the area. It’s european aspen forest edge that is surrounded by cleared area with low shrub, some mixture of and beside ural owl there is also balck and white-backed woodpecker habitat, heard pygmy owl far away, common cranes, roe deer and elk trails. This time the nest itself is more challaenging then 2018. Current nest is way deeper. So you can see on the image that owl dives inside the tree about 30-40cm. in the owl nest the owl sit much higher so it was well visible most of the time like you see on the image below. In general I feel very sad that such a nice spring is without birding tours. COVID has done its job and i need to do all birding tours alone. 🙂…
Some mornings are prettier than others. I woke up 5 am. The sky was clear, blackbird was singing and I decided to take a short bird watching trip (it’s a little part of our West Estonia birdwatching tour). The weather was very-very windy near the coast, but we still saw more than 35 species. Cranes, swans, lapwings, geese, cormorants were the most popular. #springmigration Be careful, enjoy the nature! Have a great day 🙂
Spring is on but the virus has done it’s job, so i think #visitestonialater is proper way to describe the situation. Europe is more or less closed, just last few days some emergency routes are open. It’s huge impact to the toursim sector. It’s clear that for nature toursim the spring season is officially off but i have pretty strong gut feeling that it will have huge impact to autumn season as well. But looking to the future, I think more people start to appriciate closer destinations and more sophisticated way of spending their holidays. So i do see that Estonia has here a nische to fill. I also hope that those guys who just few weeks ago thought that climate change is somewhere other side of the globe, approximately as fas as is the Wuhan province in China, now think a moment before posting a next comment to support…
Spring birdwatching has started well now. Last evening got the first crane, lapwings, skylarks, mixed flock of geese and of course common residents. Also went to check 3 pygmy owl spots and got positive reply from all of them. Was a good evening! (sorry for the poor image quality, subjecte were far away and it was getting dark, my intention was not to get images but just do some birding). If you need a guide for birding, click HERE for our daytrips
Spring bird migration in Estonia
Spring bird migration in Estonia is about to start. I went for a short tour this Sunday to find some skylarks lapwings or cranes but it was raining and snowing heavily most of the day and had no luck to see any of them. Still i got decent 34 species within some hours including snow bunting, huge flocks of redpolls, bullfinches, very nice observation of sparrow hawk, white-tailed eagle, dipper and after sunset got one balck woodpecker as well. Got a reply from pygmy-owl from 2 spots but did not saw them. In central Estonia, Tartu, Pärnu area and west Estonia larks, lapswings and cranes are present, first small flocks of geese are flying over as well. Last week we had also rare natural phemomena called snow 🙂 here. Of course I was travelling and almost missed it but at least had few hours of snowy landscape Today the snow…
I agree, that mute swans are not on the top of anyones birding list or main subject to aim with camera. But they are still lovely majestetic birds that always get my attention. Close to my home, there is a place called swan bay. When we had cold winters then they gathered to that bay, but now lately there has been just few couples and most of the pairs are spead all over the coastline. Lets see, how winter is progressing, if the sea freezes, they might gather there again.
Tallinn, what to do in winter?
Planning a long weekend to Tallinn and wondering what to do here in winter? Many people take a long weekend on even week trip to Tallinn before Christmas. Why? Well, first, Tallinn has highly recommended Christmas market, according to its thought one of the best one in Europe, see the article HERE. I was going through the city center this Saturday, the tree is already there and some market booths are built already. I think the market will be ready after week, maybe 10 days. I will share you the images of the market when they get it ready. I really hope there will be some snow to add dot on top of “I” letter :). I think the second good reason to be here is that it’s not crowded in winter. you can enjoy walks in the old town or Kalamaja hipster area, visit museums, enjoy dinner in Estonian…
Bohemian waxwings, those lovely nomads are typical birds to see during winter and we always try to find them during our birdwatching day tours around Tallinn (see the details HERE). This year has been good for mountain ash, so the food base is relatively good for them. But of course eating about twice of the body weight daily or 800-1000 berries a day the berries vanish quickly :). Did you know that they are called “pestvogel” plaguebird in Dutch and “Russ”- a Russian in Italy?