After a long pause I finally got away on a bird trip again. Checking some old locations for short-toed eagles (Circaetus gallicus) in northern Estonia was on the agenda. During the last decades breeding of short-toed eagles in Estonia has not been confirmed, the old territories are empty and very few observation at all are known. This year information has moved around among birders about four observations but with the present stand just one report has reached the Bird rarities committee. Autumn will show how many reports will be in the sieve at all. As on previous search expeditions, I did not manage to find the short-toed eagle today. If weather in the next few days permits I will check some old finding places in north-western Estonia but it seems that finding the short-toed eagle has to be forgotten this year.
It was windy and rainy on the north-western coast today and that does not suit looking for birds of prey. Since it had rained in the night it could be presumed that numerous waders might have been forced to land and instead of looking for raptors I visited wader hot spots. In several locations at the beaches great numbers of sandpipers were on the ground, the most varied company as species go was at Havers beach. Here a real compote was present. The most numerous species was the dunlin (Calidris alpina), altogether 230 birds to be seen, but also 25 curlew sandpipers (Calidris ferruginea)and 30 ringed plovers (Charadrius hiaticula) were busy on the seaweed banks. I scoped for nearly 2 hours at Havers and quite many species lined up. Of more interesting creatures among the others I noted 2 sanderlings (Calidris alba), 1 red-necked phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)and 1 broad-billed sandpiper (Limicola falcinellus) in addition to the more common species 1 red knot (Calidris canutus), 2 little stints (Calidris minuta), 1 Temminck’s stint (Calidris temminckii), 2 little plovers (Charadrius dubius), 1 black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa), 2 bartailed godwits (Limosa lapponica), 3 lapwings (Vanellus vanellus), 2 common sandpipers (Actitis hypoleucos), 1 green sandpiper (Tringa ochropus), 15 wood sandpipers (Tringa glareola), 3 greenshanks (Tringa nebularia), 1 spotted redshank (Tringa erythropus), 4 common snipes (Gallinago gallinago), 2 ruffs (Philomachus pugnax)and 1 whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus). Havers offers a great opportunity to learn to identify waders, many species are present at once in front of you and you get quite close to the birds.
Foggy photo from Havers beach. Applying some imagination you notice a larger gang of dunlins, curlew sandpipers and common ringed plovers among the seaweed. With the dark background it is difficult to notice the birds. Only on scoping you realise how many of them really are scuttling around. (30.07.2012)