tisdag 17 maj 2011

Tahkuna and Ristna – two migrating hotspots!

We got up at 03:30, as usual these days. While we had breakfast and first morning light find its way through the wood our misgivings turned out to be true: The island were still embedded in fog. After the breakfast we drove the short way to the tip, just to check if the fog covered the sea, which it of course did. Plan B: We got back to the house again and slept for 1 ½ hours. The fog were still present when we woke up and we decided to birding the island instead. We drove to Körgassaare for a third try on the Red-breasted Geese, but had no luck. A quick stop at Lehtma produced a female Bluethroat. Quarter past nine we reached Tahkuna lighthouse at the northwestern tip of Hiiumaa, after an adventure ride on a narrow and somewhat waterlogged gravel road through the northern beautiful woodlands.

We decided to stay at the lighthouse and its nice surroundings, as the fog suddenly disappeared and breaks in the overcast. Many thousands of Long-tailed Ducks roosted off the tip, but it was clear that the northern tip is a great site for migrates. Bird sightings worthy of mention at Tahkuna 09:15-12:00: Barnacle Goose (1686), Brent Goose (827), Sparrowhawk (32), Buzzard (14), Rough-legged Buzzard (6), Honey Buzzard (1), Kestrel (3), Hen Harrier (2), Hobby (3), RED-FOOTED FALCON (1 adult male), White-tailed Eagle (5), Common Crane (14). Also good passage of migrating passerines.

Well back at the house we took a power nap for an hour and after it Raul cooked a delicious dinner with a Spanish touch. After that taste sensation we headed to the tip of Ristna for the evening session. Some results from the countings (16:00-19:15 hrs): Long-tailed Duck (8361), Common Scoter (2680), Red-breasted Merganser (161), Brent Goose (235), Barnacle Goose (194), Black-throated Diver (36), Red-throated Diver (22), Arctic Skua (6). We also saw a Carrion Crow, which the Estonian birders had found earlier in the day, only the 8th record for the country.

Raul and Janne scanning the sea at Tahkuna lighthouse.
Keen birder Raul in action, while Barnacle Geese passing behind.
Female Black Redstart at the Tahkuna lighthouse garden.
Raul celebrating the Red-footed Falcon at a local bar.

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