Report from Tarvo Valker, coordinator of the event
Photos from Haapsalu birdwatch day: Arvo Tarmula
The preliminary summary of the City Birdwatching Day or Intercity Bird Rally is ready. This year altogether 115 people took part in the action, representing 43 teams in 18 Estonian cities. Whereas the number of participants was comparable to that of the previous year, the total number of bird species observed – 116 - was a record in the 14 year history of the event. It is however not due to an increase in the number of birds in cities, but to the abundance of migratory birds that had arrived here thanks to the warm early spring.
The friendly intercity competition was this time won by Pärnu with 88 species, followed by Tallinn (82 species) and Haapsalu (81). It is worth noting that more than 80 species have never earlier been observed in any city.
A new record was set in the species count of mainland cities too – again in Tartu where 75 different species were noted.
As to teams, the greatest number of species were reported by Margus Ellermaa and Andrea Maier (Pärnu, 82 species) and Alpo Koukila, Tarvo Valker, Marko Valker, Hille Viigipuu (Haapsalu, 77 species). Both teams made the city birdwatch as an eco-trip, that is, no motor vehicles were used in the rally.
There were many exciting observations and many watchers have already speedily entered them in the Biodiversity database. Some noteworthy observations were Canada goose, great egret, kingfisher, dipper, green sandpiper, black grouse, pygmy owl. Altogether 7 woodpecker species were seen, 3 owl species and 2 galliformes.
Of expected migrants, no dunnock (although heard by 1 observer in Haapsalu) or black redstart was seen.
Full reports with lists of all species and ace species will be published already on Monday on the Estonian Ornithological Society’s website.
Happy bird spring!