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Back at the patch- Nuthatch making History

With heavy rain forecast for the afternoon, which of course duly arrived, I was eager to make an early start and so I was at Church Marsh just before 8am in order to see what was about and get the year list underway. A good range of species were seen, eventually finishing on 52 with the expected and unexpected gaps at this time of year. Highlights were 2 Barn Owls hunting in the same binocular view, something I did not see here last year. Also abhorrent to a nearby group of Magpies was a hunting female Marsh Harrier. Ducks were hard to come by, perhaps due to the hunting Raptors, but I was chuffed to hear the pings of Bearded Tits from the reedbed. This species returned to Church Marsh last year, and to hear it persisting is just great, maybe this is the year breeding will take place.
The scrub held 2/3 Chiffchaff, and the usual Tits were present minus the Marsh, which does always take a little more effort. Siskin called as they flew overhead, and a small skein of Pink-feet headed off to feed as the sun rose. Back at the carpark, I was lucky to record a new bird for the patch here. Unmistakeably loud, its call like a machine gun, a Nuthatch was calling from the small pine woods near the Churchyard, on the way to 'Rivers Court'. I desperately searched for a glimpse. In my head thinking this is not optimum habitat and this may be the only chance I get. Nothing doing. Maybe he will hang around, but I am not hopeful.
Onto Rockland, and I have to say it was dire here, a close encounter with a female Kestrel the stand out moment. Considering the vast expanse of water, I added a mere 5 species onto the day tally.

My birds seen at historical sites list sits at 25. If any readers have suggestions as to how I can boost this over the year, do please let me know. I have no idea what to target myself, I think 80 would be good going though. I do not see this a a competitive year on year list, as some of the less interesting sites will only get visited the once, and I don't intend on returning next year in the hope of ticking a bird, that misses the point. Similarly, I am now looking to book up accommodation for Northumberland in the Summer and I know for a fact that some of the sites here will bolster the list, and we don't intend to return next year at time of writing.

Next weekend, my scope needs a new tripod so along with a visit to CleySpy I hope to take in both the Warham Greens Raptor Roost and Binham Priory, not in that order of course.

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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…