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Whimbrel always welcome, and a look ahead to SYWG walk

The weekend gone really felt like Spring, after some torrid weather the sun shone and temperatures finally rose. On the 30th I embarked on a walk that took in Claxton Marshes, the track to the Beauchamp Arms and back home along the Langley road. Hirundines were hawking in some numbers now, and my first Whitethroats (5) of the year were recorded. A single Lesser Whitethroat rattled from a hedge bordering a grazing meadow, a welcome return to the patch list after absence last year. Sedge Warbler sang from quite literally every bush anywhere near a dyke or reedbed and allowed smashing views.
That evening, Debs and I did the circuit at Church Marsh. I was lucky to observe a single Grasshopper Warbler reeling, and at least 2 Bearded Tit were hanging on and hopefully will breed successfully.

May 1st heralded the return of the Swifts, and in our new location we now have at least 2 pairs hunting for insects over the houses, often watched from the window. This is always such a highlight for me and that screech reminds me of long, hot summer days.

On the 2nd, I chanced Langley marshes in the hope of a Wagtail or Wader amongst the cattle. I was thrilled to observe 7 Whimbrel feeding in the grassy tufts of said cattle field, my third record of a group on the patch but a new record in terms of number: 2,2 and now 7 the high. I watched them for a while until they flew north towards Cantley marshes.




After some late night Owling earlier in the week (Barn, Little and Tawny heard) we continued the nocturnal theme with a few drinks at Coldham Hall followed by a walk along the marsh at dusk. This was a great call, for we had booming Bittern, singing Gropper and another new for the year, a Cuckoo.

The weekend looks promising, and I hope to see a good turn out for the South Yare Wildlife Group walk at Church Marsh, bright and early at 5.30am on Sunday. I can't promise a Red-footed Falcon, but I can guarantee a good breakfast at The Ferry Inn afterwards!

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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…