Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Silent sea

Today has been the calmest day of September at Kihnu island. First 4 hours without any wind at all, afternoon small northwestern wind. Too calm weather for real migration, but Tits showed the best movement of the autumn season - Blue Tit/ sinitihane Parus caeruleus 48m, Great Tit/ rasvatihane Parus major 106m, Coal Tit/ musttihane Parus ater 75m and first for the autumn season: Long-tailed Tit/ sabatihane Aegithalos caudatus 8m. This year seems to be good Woodpecker invasion - yesterday Timo spotted even new species for the Kihnu island - White-backed Woodpecker/ valgeselg-kirjurähn Dendrocopos leucotos. Today we counted 3 migrating Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers/ väike-kirjurähn Dendrocopos minor (+at least 5 local ones) and also 1 Black Woodpecker/ musträhn Dryocopos martius went to the sea.
Best count of the autumn season also for Wood Pigeon/ kaelustuvi Columba palumbus 170m. Kihnu seems to be good spot for Stock Dove/ õõnetuvi Columba oenas migration - today again 15 individuals passed the cape - the main migration of Doves should presumably take place in early October. Other interesting birds today - Penduline Tit/ kukkurtihane Remiz pendulinus 1m and Grey Wagtail/ jõgivästrik Motacilla cinerea 1m (first of the autumn season).
Local birds at southern tip included today at least 4 White-tailed Eagles/ merikotkas Haliaeetus albicilla, 1 Hobby/ lõopistrik Falco subbuteo, 10 Great White Egrets/ hõbehaigur Egretta alba.
Late evening we went with Mati to the small boat trip to get closer views of local hunting techniques. Methods to get birds off from the islets and closer to the hunting hides looked like modern art. Birding highlight of the boat trip has been 2 juvenile Common Terns/ jõgitiir Sterna hirundo.


Yesterday I have witnessed how hunter just hit the Wigeon, falling down from the air. The bird was injured and still live, then hunter took him and finished off /Photo M. Kose/

Flightless Cormorant near the Aasalaid islet, probably injured by hunters /Photo M. Kose/

Bizarre bird hunting - the scare-off system with the lines with various stuff attached to the long lines between the poles.  Because the hunting hides was close to the coast, probably this "art project" was meant to disturb birds away from their
resting place and toward the lethal guns! /Photo M. Kose/

Tarvo is wondering this bizarre hunting installation on the Aasalaid islet /Photo M. Kose/

The last rocks of the Aasalaid iselt /Photo M. Kose/

Juvenile Common Terns about to start sleeping /Photo M. Kose/

Stretching the wings /Photo M. Kose/

Calm and gloomy evening on the sea /Photo M. Kose/

Home, sweet home, back to the base in the evening darkness /Photo M. Kose/


  1. Great stuff on the 'Vis Mig' from Kihnu Island! Somewhere i'd never heard of until a few days ago! Have put a link to your blog on my U.K vis mig site at Your nocturnal bird migration, Radar work and flight call sound recording is fascinating!

  2. Hi Craig!
    Thank You very much for the nice comments. Estonia becoming more and more popular among British birders, but there are still lot of interesting places to discover in this small country. Me and Tarvo Valkes also do time-to-time bird guiding for various tour operators and private persons. I hope to update the blog also with data from the radars and sound recordings, stay tuned :)

  3. Great pictures!
    Bird watching is one of my hobbies and really likes studying the activities of birds. Your pictures has given me an idea to visit this place to study such beautiful birds...
    Hope that you keep on finding more such interesting locations.
    Pleasant Bird surveys

  4. Thank You Alana for the good feedback! And yes, Kihnu has now, at the end of the first field season, poroved it's international bird conservation importance. We have counted +1,7 M passing landbirds, among these 6000+ raptors and 14 000 Cranes means that this is internationally important bottleneck site. And well, my colleagues just reported the flushing off the 20 000 flock of Long-tailed Ducks from nearest offshore shallow (not planned for wind-farming). So this is exciting place indeed. It would be good to hear more in Your team wind energy surveys and collision risk modelling works!