Monday, 31 August 2009

Destinations: Haeska - Estonia

Haeska is a hamlet on the northern side of Matsalu Bay (Matsalu laht) in Estonia. There is a high birdwatching tower here (Haeska Linnutorn) which gives views over the bay. In season, this is a great place to scan for waterfowl, wildfowl and waders. The surrounding grazing pastures, on the approach road to the tower, are often full of Barnacle Geese in spring. Rarities like Red-breasted Goose and Lesser White-fronted Goose turn up here every year, too.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Birding Tours: Eastern Romania - July 2010

From 4-10 July 2010 the Scotland based company Heatherlea are running a tour to Eastern Romania. It is based mainly in the Danube Delta with time also birding the steppes, lagoons and woods in Dobrudja along the Black Sea coast. Key species are Dalmatian and White Pelicans, Ruddy Shelduck, Booted Eagle, Levant Sparrowhawk, Pied and Isabelline Wheatears, Paddyfield Warbler, Rose-coloured Starling, Sombre Tit and many more. Here is the link:

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Special birds: Steller's Eider

Steller's Eider Polysticta stelleri breeds in the Arctic, but many winter in the Baltic. Good areas to search for rafts of this very attractive diving duck are the seas off Estonia and Latvia, from November through to March. At this time, however, male birds will not be in their striking breeding plumage. And it can be cold and tough hereabouts at that time and trips to the offshore islands maybe needed, too. Photo by Jari Peltomaki.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Special birds: Short-toed Eagle

Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus is a fairly common and widespread bird of prey in the drier, southern countries of the region where its reptile prey (snakes, lizards) abound. Further north, from the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the Baltic States it is rather scarce. A migrant, most arrive in March-April and leave in September. Photo by Dan Bastaja: Kiskunsag, Hungary, August 2009.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Conservation: ODNS (Slovakia)

There are many non-governmental conservation organisations in the Eastern European region. I intend to occasionally highlight them in this blog. Here is the first Ochrana Dravcov Na Slovensko (ODNS) which is an NGO that focuses on raptor protection and research in Slovakia.