Estonia April 2007
Eurepean White Fronted Goose
Taiga Bean Goose

We decided a week in Estonia would be a super tonic and a good chance to catch up with Eastern European wildfowl and Woodpeckers. The following is a quick fix trip report to most of the popular sites, cold as it was a superb trip.

We flew direct to Tallinn, picked up our rental car and headed south to Matsalu Bay, here we found decent Accomodation called Baltic Hotel on the Promenaadi to stay for a few days. This was our access to several sites for Woodpeckers, duck and Capercaillie etc. Early mornings were essential for these birds. Here we saw after several attempts White backed Woodpecker, Great Spotted were common enough including one or two pecking at lamp posts. Capercaille was also seen on one morning, we did flush four Hazel Grouse here also. From our hotel we watched and photographed superb Goosander and Long tailed Duck. We met a Finnish birder who gave us gen for Pygmy Owl and Lesser Spotted Eagle which we saw locally. Ural Owl was also seen close by. Bewick Swans and Smew were ever present along the bays.

Highlight of the week long trip was Hiiumaa Island which we ferried across. Here we sought and found our target bird or birds Steller's Eider, if fact eighty eight stunning birds! a few pairs were just offshore but the main Scoter like flock were a good distance away, the brilliant whiteness of the males made them easy to pick up even at long range. Here we also saw plenty of littoralis Rock Pipits in their Water Pipit like summer bloom. White tailed Eagle were ever present. The ferry crossing had Black throated Diver, Velvet and Common Scoters, Long tailed Ducks and Greater Scaup all in good numbers.

Below a list of birds of interest and roughly the status of birds as we saw them, Common-(C). Local-(L).

Black throated Diver (C): Cormorant sinensis (C). Bittern heard only (2). White Stork(L).
Bewick Swan (C). European White fronted Goose (C). Taiga 7 tundra Bean Geese (C). red breasted Goose (1). Stellar's Eider (88). Velvet Scoter (C). Long tailed Duck (C). Smew (C). Goosander (C). White tailed Eagle (C). Lesser Spotted Eagle (2). Rough legged Buzzard (1). Capercaille (1). Hazel Grouse (4). Crane (C). Pygmy Owl (10. Ural Owl (1). White backed Woodpecker (1). Woodlark (L). Rock Pipit (L). Black Redstart (2). Crested Tit (1). Willow Tit (L). Marsh Tit (L). Long tailed Tit (C). Bearded Reedling (C). Brambling (L). Parrot Crossbill (2).

Apart from web information we used Birding in Eastern Europe by Gerard Gorman.

Apart from the cold the birding was just fantastic, A pure plethora of Wildfowl.

Paul & Andrea Kelly 2013.

Tundra Bean Goose
Red breasted Goose
Long tailed Duck
White tailed Eagle