Unsuccesful twitching trip to Estonia

The first half of September wasn’t very good, only better birds were a young Grey Plover in Kukonkanta and several Nuthatches in Likolampi. We also started to catch migrating owls and on the first night we caught a Pygmy Owl and on the second night Hanna caught 2 Tengmalm’s Owls.

On the 5th of September the first Sandhill Crane for Finland was seen migrating with a flock of 27 Cranes along the southern coast. Not many birders saw it and even less saw it well, but after all it flew to the sea and towards Estonia. Luckily the bird was found next evening some 30 kilometres from Tallinn and many WP-twitchers went to twitch it. The bird stayed there for a couple of next days too so I started to plan to go to twitch it too.

So on saturday morning at 3 a.m. I started to drive towards Helsinki. In Joutseno I picked up Sampsa Cairenius and in Tallink terminal we met Kalle Larsson and Janne Kilpimaa. At 8:30 our ferry left towards Estonia. From the ferry we saw a Black Guillemot, a Red Knot, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits and a couple of Little Gulls. But already before we were in Tallinn we sterted to worry because of there was no news about the Sandhill Crane. It had always came to same field after 9 a.m. and when we were in Tallinn, it was already 11 a.m. Anyway we drove through Tallinn to Saue Kiia fields where we met other twitchers. There were only some 43 Common Cranes on the field. Soon we found a soaring Lesser Spotted Eagle and also a Black Kite. But there wasn’t enough Cranes, so we decided to leave to check all the other fields nearby. We found only some flocks but soon there started to be bigger flocks on the sky. These Cranes were coming from Finlnad and they were migrating. So we started to think that Sandhill Crane had probaby moves to somewhere else too but where – to western coast where tens of thousands of Cranes gather or to Hungary?

Anyway we continued to Haapsalu laht where we saw more than 1500 Cranes on the fields and coming to sleep to marhes, but the Sandhill Crane wasn’t found. In the evening we had to quit and we drove back to Tallinn and our ferry left at 9 p.m. It was very late when I finally was back at home.

J.A.