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Singing Chiffchaffs and other Spring features

Up and about early this morning, leaving the house on foot just after 7 to take in the patch. Highlights were 2 singing Chiffchaff, 1 near the pub and another in the scrub. I would presume these are resident birds that have been hiding throughout the Winter, but the warm air mass and records of Grasshopper Warbler and Wheatear further north may suggest otherwise. Joining the chorus were Reed Bunting, Cettis's Warbler and Skylark. A male Sparrowhawk cruised across the grazing meadow. Kingfisher and Green Sandpiper on the flash at Wood's End were the best of the rest.
On returning to the house, Small Tortoiseshell and Brimstone Butterflies had been encouraged by the balmy temperatures and were inspecting the heather I had planted yesterday.

This afternoon I got the itch to be out again, so popped to Wheatfen for an hour. a Common Buzzard was displaying over the wood, and although the Woodpeckers I had hoped to see were quiet, I did happen upon to basking Grass Snake. I finally caught up with the resident Nuthatch too, a fine sight to see as it stalked a Silver Birch. I chatted to a nice couple in the carpark who informed me of a South Yare Wildlife group talk on Bees, I shall make an effort to attend this seeing as Bees are a bit of a target this year.

Determined to catch up with some Woodpeckers, I drove to Wood's End. Passing the Water's Edge, it could so easily have been a mid-summer's day, folk out on the decking enjoying a drink. I followed a footpath and saw both Green and Great-spotted Woodpeckers. The Butterfly list also increased, Peacock and Comma on the wing now.

I am now tweeting, @SurlinghamBirds should you wish to follow me.


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Estonia Trip Report, April 2011

Estonia April 12th-19th 2011, Jim Bradley. ice_bear1@hotmail.com
Ice at the ferry crossing


Exploring the ancient forest



Red-breasted Goose at Audru



Pick the bones out of that!


Great-grey Shrike near Spithami.






Introduction.
Estonia is a place of real wilderness, yet easy to explore with the possibility of some cracking birds. Recent literature from both Gerard Gorman and Dave Gosney means that there is now plenty of useful information on birding Estonia, yet this country remains relatively unknown compared to other eastern European states such as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Steller’s Eider, Owls and Woodpeckers in early Spring, Citrine Wagtail, Great Snipe, Great Spotted Eagle, Black Stork and Greenish Warbler in May and beyond are just some of the birds you may encounter.

We used Estonian Nature Tours http://www.naturetours.ee/ to help plan and guide our trip. We are a young couple, so did not fancy being part of a tour bus scenario, and were keen to do most of the birding ou…