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Winter hits Claxton

Awoke this morning to find a fine covering of snow over the land, and the ice-grey sky promised more. I headed out towards the river and encountered a feeding frenzy on route to The Yare. Goldfinch, Chaffinch and calling Bullfinch were all stocking up on fat reserves. Overhead, Fieldfare and Redwing restlessly broke cover before joining the Starlings out on the grazing marsh. Sleet fell, and any chance of Raptors hunting diminished, although I did observe a Buzzard making for cover. At the river, the usual carpet of Wigeon. A few Teal were in the dykes and flushed easily. Back on the marsh, a buff female Stonechat perched atop a gate. I think I have finally pinned down these species here, and thankfully they seem to be present year-round. Back home, and the feeders in the garden are finally getting some attention, with Great, Blue and Coal tits all enjoying the sunflower seeds.




Last weekend I completed the WeBs counts at Church Marsh and Rockland Broad, which were rubbish. I flushed a couple of Snipe at Church Marsh, which along with 2 Mute Swans and a Mallard were all I could find. Rockland was almost as bad, 3 Coot and 150+ BH Gull as exciting as it got.

Turning away from the birds for a moment, this next bit is a shout out for a mate of mine who runs his own online business making quality leather accessories. All items are natural and respectfully sourced and hand-made. I have added a photo of a wallet I bought, ages really well. I just thought he deserved a bit of light backing, and with Christmas coming up you can get your belts, wallets and bracelets here rather than some shitty department store. Good luck with the growing business Si!


Ending on a more typically birdy note, Debs and I were travelling back from Suffolk this evening and spotted a nice Tawny Owl perched in a bare tree along Ferry Road, Claxton.

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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…