Birder's diary - 2.05

Birder Margus Ots,
Translation: Liis
In the morning I checked the best bird spots on the south side of the Matsalu bay, but no one in particular was noticeable. I now had the choice of going northwards to the Haapsalu area or crossing the sea to Saaremaa? I decided for the second option, it would be useful to shake out the ”juniper stand rarities” of western Saaremaa. When I already had reached Kuressaare information arrived that a pelican had been seen yesterday in Karksi in Mulgimaa. A pelican really was there in the enclosed photos, more precisely a  great white pelican, and the bird was sitting in a white stork nest! And what was it doing there? I called the finder of the bird and it turned out that the bird had been moving around in the area all day until evening. This morning it had not been seen but nobody had looked for it either. On that I turned around and set off on the road towards Karksi. There a search for the bird started at once too, at first nearby water bodies were to be checked. Actually I had passed Karksi already last evening but then I knew nothing about the bird yet. If I had seen the pelican in the white stork nest then, I might have held the view to be the result of a too long Walpurgis night.
Great white pelican (02.05.2012, near Karksi)
On the road I had to explain about the pelican to several media, in addition many birdwatchers asked for additional information all the time. After all an exciting find, the last time that a great white pelican was seen in Estonia was in 1963. Not a single one of the current generation of birdwatchers thus have this species in their Estonian lists. On the road I had time to consider where it would be worthwhile to look for the bird? In addition to fish the pelican is supposed to eat all that it can overpower and swallow. On the web are several video clips where a pelican gobbles up a duck or pigeon. I haven’t seen the European species but for instance in Australia pelicans, like gulls, forage in landfill sites. Maybe it was egg-robbing in the stork nest in Karksi? By the time that I finally was approaching Karksi I had the idea that the bird might be somewhere in a meadow or field together with storks catching frogs? A little before Karksi I glimpsed between trees storks far away on a ploughed field. I decided to go and check, just in case, and to my great surprise the searched-for pelican huddled in the same field.

The pelican was not particularly brave, no rings could be seen on the legs, maybe it really has strayed here on its own (02.05.2012, near Karksi)
Obviously we have to do with a young bird (2nd calendar year) and it is evidently the same bird that was seen a month ago in Latvia. The bird was not particularly bold, on approaching it flew a little further away. Rings could not be seen on the legs. All suggests that the bird has strayed here naturally, i e it has not escaped from some aviary. Information on the new location went out at once by  Rariliini and before dark several twitchers managed to see the bird. Even from Haapsalu people managed to arrive in time. Tomorrow parties from Tallinn and Finland should reach Karksi.
In addition to the great white pelican I got one more species to my year list – stopping on the road at a forest somewhere around Tihemetsa a blackcap was singing beside the car. My 2012 list now has  208 bird species.




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