Birder's diary - 5-6.05

Birder Margus Ots,
Translation: Liis
May 5th
As an unpleasant surprise there was thick fog in the morning in Karala and watching the migration came to nothing. So I could simply sleep a few more hours in the morning. Before making further plans I waited for news from Kihnu island where a group of Tartu twitchers had gone to look for the Kentish plover discovered there yesterday. Photos of the Kihnu Kentish plover are in the Estbirding gallery. At 10:27 am a report came via Rariliin that the bird was still in place. It was a fair assumption that it would not disappear during the day and I decided to go to Kihnu by the evening ferry. On the road I stopped at several good birdwatching spots and a number of new species were added to my year list: Temminck's stint – 9 birds at Ariste bay beach in Pärnumaa, white-winged tern – 1 bird keeping company with black terns at Lake Tõhela in Pärnumaa, bluethroat – 1 bird in Liu harbour in Pärnumaa, little tern – 2 birds in Munalaiu harbour in Pärnumaa.
At 7 pm I was on Kihnu island and went off to search for the Kentish plover with Aivo Klein, the finder of the bird. After some searching I did find it at the southern end of the island. Now I have seen three out of the four Kentish plovers seen in Estonia. At the same time my year list got another very tough species, there are now 219 bird species. on my 2012 list.
May 6th
Because you cannot go to the mainland from Kihnu immediately in the morning I spent a couple of hours at the lighthouse at the southern tip of the island observing the migration. This year a surveillance project is running on the Kihnu island: the birds are counted during the whole spring and also autumn migration period. The weather was fine and visibility good and the morning turned out to be quite exciting. In the morning 54 Arctic skuas migrated past the Kihnu southernmost tip in the course of 4,5 hours!  I have never seen so many skuas before. In addition there were at least 400 loons on migration (mainly common loons ) and that too must be a day record for Pärnumaa. A short-eared owl too was said to have arrived from migration near the lighthouse but I did not see it (this year I haven’t seen the species at all) since I was looking for waders at the beaches then. Because the weather had been very good in the night the greater part of the birds that were on the shores yesterday had moved on, of the plovers too only some local nesters were left. From Kihnu I got the nightingale (the thrush or eastern nightingale) too for my year list; in the early morning it lashed out its song by the lighthouse.
In the evening I headed for the north-western coast in order to see the waterfowl migration at Cape Põõsaspea in the morning. On the road I made several stops in the Matsalu national park area. I didn’t meet any particularly exciting birds but of new species I heard the golden oriole in Meelva and the common rosefinch at Keemu. My 2012 year list now has 222 bird species.




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