Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Birding Tours: Estonia - March 2010

From March 22-28, 2010, I will be guiding a birding tour in Estonia. This will be another original tour itinerary and the main target will be Steller's Eider Polysticta stelleri. These lovely ducks winter in the area and we will search for rafts of them in the seas off Saaremaa island. Other birds should include Hazel Grouse, Nutcracker and several owls and woodpeckers. If you wish to come along, then drop me a line.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Special birds: Short-toed Lark

Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla is a small lark, a little smaller than Skylark, and a bird of dry grasslands, steppes and barren farmland. In Eastern Europe it occurs mainly in lowlands in the Balkans. This fine photo was taken by Earl Harrison in Dobrugea, Bulgaria.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Special birds: Three-toed Woodpecker alpinus race

The alpinus race of Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker is found in the centre and south of Europe, in several rather isolated populations in the Alps, the Bavarian Forest (Germany), the Sumava Mountains (Czech Rep), the Carpathians, the Rhodope Mountains (Bulgaria), the Balkan Range and the Dinaric Alps (Croatia) etc. Note in this shot that the white back patch is marked with black bars. This is a variable feature, but generally typical for alpinus. Photo of this male taken by Ralph Martin in Bavaria.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Destinations: Somova Oak Pasture - Romania

This open oak woodland lies in north-west Romania, just west of the village of Somova along road 22. Tulcea is just 30 minutes to the east via the same road. In season this is a good site for Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Wryneck, Booted Eagle, Levant Sparrowhawk, Sombre Tit, Woodlark and Ortolan. Avoid on holidays when locals picnic here in numbers.