The traditional 'Easter Birdwatching' event took place again on March 26-27/2016, organized by EOÜ (Estonian Ornithological Society). It promised record species numbers, as usually this event has taken place earlier in March and therefore more migrants may have arrived.
Exceptionally warm and nice days brought a noticeable wave of migrant birds, so it lived up to expectations with many birdwatchers spotting their very first Starling, White Stork, White Wagtail, Woodcock, Chaffinch or Skylark of the year. The preliminary roundup produced a remarkable count of 110,000 birds of 135 species. This weekend also stood out for the beginning of more serious goose migration and therefore more than one third of all birds recorded were geese. The most common bird species were Great Tit, Hooded Crow, Blue Tit, Greenfinch and Bullfinch, followed by Mallard, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull and swan species. The most remarkable rarities were Red-breasted Goose and Lesser White-fronted Goose, spotted in Pärnu County, South-West Estonia. Participation statistics were also astonishing with a total of 250 species lists delivered by 450 participants.
This year another birdwatching event - City Birdwatching Contest Day (also organised by EOÜ) - coincided with the Easter holidays. 23 cities were participating and 118 species were recorded as the total count. This is also the record for this event. Tallinn was by far the winner with 86 species, followed by Paldiski (74 spp) and Haapsalu (73 spp). Among hinterland cities Tartu was the traditional winner (62 spp). The official record can be accessed at: www.eoy.ee.
Haapsalu: Gadwall, Scaup, Ringed Plover
Kehra: Golden Plover
Kuressaare: Collared Dove
Kärdla: Curlew, Snow-Bunting
Paldiski: Pintail, Velvet Scoter, Black Scoter, Black Guillemot, Red-throated Loon
Tallinn: Redshank, Redwing, Nutcracker
Tapa: Golden Eagle
Võru: Little Grebe
Among other remarkable species Canada Goose, Great Egret, Pygmy Owl, Divers and Rough-legged Buzzard were also spotted.
The five most common species were spotted in each town were Rock Pigeon, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw and Hooded Crow.