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Smashing records

I have had 4 Elephant Hawk Moths in a trap before, but Friday night with perfect conditions lured 15 into my trap in the back garden! Quite a sight, especially when some of the more sleepy individuals were left together to settle down in a conifer upon releasing them. I still struggle with some of the smaller species, but was delighted to see a single Rosy Footman amongst the haul. Others included Poplar Hawk, Buff Tip, Brown Tail, Sycamore, Smoky Wainscott, Leopard, Peppered Moth and Riband Wave. Over 100 Moths came to light during the night, my best ever trap for both variety and number.

Although I couldn't find a reported Mandarin at Rockland Broad on Friday, I did pick up 2 Curlew heading south which when I looked at my data proved to be a patch year tick. 10+ Tufted and 20+ Mallard were loafing on the artificial islands in front of the hide, and we surprised a Barn Owl from its roost and enjoyed watching it hunt over the marshes soon after.

Today I took some students to Minsmere, and despite the drizzle we had a goods day pond-dipping and bird counting. Best find were 6+ Spotted Redshank, along with 3 Blackwit and 1 Ruff. One of the lads netted a young Newt from the pond, and the expected Caddis Fly and Damselfly Larvae delighted the group.

It has been a slow month hence the lack of posts, but the Albatross at Minsmere proves anything can and will turn up. Hoping for a Caspian Tern or maybe an early Red-footed Falcon on the patch before I jet off for Thailand later this month. For now, I have been content with a local Tawny Owl waking us up over the weekend, and the usual Warblers are still giving the odd burst of song down the local marsh.

Coming up- a Bat walk at Strumpshaw on Friday and a Thetford foray Sunday. Then, hammer the patch before holiday!

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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…