Birder’s diary - 30.- 31.05

Birder Margus Ots, Linnuvaatleja.ee
Translation: Liis
 
The scheduled bird trip of the University of Tartu Natural History Museum on Wednesday evening went to the Aardla polder close to Tartu. It had been raining hard the whole day and several of those who had signed up for the trip did not dare to get out. Luckily the rain ended at the right moment and those who showed up were not disappointed. All kinds of exciting creatures could be seen - 2 white-tailed eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) harassed waterfowl right under our noses, a pair of citrine wagtails  (Motacilla citreola)posed nicely, at least 5 marsh sandpipers (Tringa stagnatilis)were notable. The rainy weather had grounded great numbers of waders from their migration. At Sõrve säär  in Saaremaa thousands of red knots (Calidris canutus) and dunlins (Calidris alpina), bar-tailed godwits (Limosa lapponica)  and grey plovers (Pluvilais squatarola)have been seen in the last few days. These species don’t much stray inland, but even we saw two largish flocks of bar-tailed godwits and grey plovers (hundreds of birds altogether).
 
Green sandpiper chick, perhaps a few days old (31.05.2012 Valguta polder)
 
On Thursday I again went to the south-eastern part of Lake Võrtsjärv, to the Valguta polder. Since elsewhere great numbers of waders had landed from the migration because of the rain, even here someone interesting might be found. The  bar-tailed godwits (Limosa lapponica) and red knots (Calidris canutus) that were here yesterday were not present any more, and of the large flock of grey plovers (Pluvilais squatarola) only 3 birds remained. Among other waders however at least  25 red-necked phalaropes (Phalaropus lobatus), 20 ringed plovers (Charadrius hiaticula), 6 dunlins (Calidris alpina) and 4 little stints (Calidris minuta) were noticeable. At the first opportunity, when the weather improves the slightest bit all these birds migrate further. These species will not remain to nest here. But for the nesters at the Valguta polder the young begin to hatch by and by.
 
Great egret (31.05.2012 Valguta polder)
 
In several black-headed gull (Larus ridibundus) nests chicks a couple of days old can be seen, the local  whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus) this year has 4 young; I also found a just hatched green sandpiper (Tringa ochropus) chick. For some time I observed the doings of the great egrets (Egretta alba) but by watching  only from a distance it is as before impossible to say how many there can be nesting in the impermeable shrubs. In a month we will try to make a serious search. Then it should be clear whether there really are at least 10-15 nesting pairs of great egrets here, as might be surmised now.


 

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