Birder’s diary - 5.-6.06

Birder  Margus Ots,
 Translation: Liis
On Tuesday morning I was at the Valguta polder when a message came that the red kite (Milvus milvus)seen at Sõrve säär on the previous day had been seen again. At first I didn’t rush because it isn’t possible to twitch a bird that is flying past. But when a repeat message came saying that the bird seemed quite stationary and did not seem to intend to fly to Latvia at once, I turned the car towards Saaremaa and set out on a longer twitching trip. If the twitching would not succeed which was extremely likely, I could at least discuss autumn season plans in the birding station sauna. Half-way a repeat message came that the bird was moving around near the birding station as before and it seemed as if maybe it would be possible to see this rarity. But, arriving in place, it turned out that the searched-for creature was last seen 2 hours ago. Although there were some ten birders in the station who all to a greater or lesser extent observed the neighbourhood the kite was no longer to be found.
Red kite (06.06.2012 Sõrve säär)

Since all was quiet on the bird front I instead watched how Venus moved across the Sun early on Wednesday morning. This phenomenon is not visible until 2117 next time, can’t wait until then. When Venus had been twitched we again started searching for raptors. The nearest surroundings were carefully checked but no traces of the red kite. We also looked for possible feeding places. Some days earlier wolves had killed a flock of sheep near Sõrve säär. The slain animals were brought to the shore for eagles to feed on. Because the kite moved in the same area it might well be supposed that this carrion-eater had had so much lamb chops that it now could not even move and was sitting sheltered in some bush. But just as we had gathered again in the bird station backyard and had finished our searches a report came that a kite-like bird was approaching from the north. A few moments later it appeared in our view and it was the red kite! The bird flew past the bird station, and disappeared again. I caught some hazy photos from far away; a proper parade image of the bird is in the Estbirding gallery. According to information at the Bird rarities committee the red kite has been seen in Estonia nearly 40 times. Although it is seen regularly in Saaremaa nobody has succeeded in twitching this species earlier. The red kite is the 262nd bird species in my 2012 list. With the bird twitched, sauna visited, autumn plans discussed I headed back to the mainland.




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