Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Estonia May 2018 Part 9. The last chance saloon?

Another near dawn start, we were hoping for a change of fortunes by heading for an early session at the Pikla reedbeds.
Now don't get me wrong, our trip wasn't one long misery but if i'm honest it had failed to live up to expectation. Maybe we'd over egged the trip in our imagination but one thing was certain, we'd only eaten three proper evening meals in the last 8 days, the bird hides with the part exception of the pop-up were useless and even the bear hide had a level of disappointment. On the other hand the weather had been incredibly good...too good. My brother-in-law , a resident in the very far north of Scotland had posted some pictures of him having taken a swim in a Scottish Loch and described the conditions as "Baltic" I'd had to correct him and tell him we were now sweltering in 29 degrees and Baltic wasn't a fair adjective to use!
We had one last throw of the dice though, our final destination where we had another two hide days booked in what was described as the Floating Hide. We weren't expecting anything unusual but according to the blurb on the web site there was indeed a long list of possibilities.
First though the reedbeds.
That put a smile back on our faces . Three or four hours and I'd added a few more images for my Big Year count.
Bearded Reedling was especially welcome.

Bearded Reedling   Panurus biarmicus
but the loud but elusive Great Reed Warbler equally so.

Great Reed Warbler    Acrocephalus arundinaceus
We spent quite some time wandering along the raised tracks alongside the reed beds.
Our camouflage not quite working all the time!
It was certainly a stunning scene. Sure enough there was no-one staying at Pikla and at this hour of the day we had the place to ourselves.
except for the birds of course.
A distant booming Bittern broke the silence now and again as did the odd Common Tern flying past.
Common Tern  Sterna hirundo
The warblers were all noisy of course but their sounds are delightful when set in such a backdrop and it was fun trying to catch the showy Sedge Warbler in flight.
Sedge Warbler
The strangest sound though came from a less usual source. Mute Swan!
One had taken off, flying down the narrow channel between the reeds and needing all of 100m to gain height and clear the reeds it seemed. The noise from the wing beats at close quarters amazing. Some time later a pair made the return journey and as i stood there taking a flight shot I thought for one moment the bird was going to collide with me!
Mute Swan
It didn't appear to be getting any higher as it approached.
Mute Swan
It almost scalped me in fact!
Mute Swan
 then did a large circuit before coming back to give me another inspection.
Mute Swan
Time to move in case I was in the flight path again!
Mute Swan
I wouldn't normally spend much time on this species but I couldn't resist a sequence of one taking off from the mill pond that was the Baltic Sea.
Mute Swan
Time to move though. Breakfast ..the usual place. Was I loosing weight? No chance, a diet of beer, pastries, those continental sausages and filling station offerings was far from a healthy diet.
The first question I asked on arrival at Tuulinga, our new home for two nights , was "can we book an evening meal?"
The cook and co-proprietor  was away, her husband doesn't cook but her son volunteered to make us dinner. That was a result anyway. Everything about this place was really welcoming.
There was one concern though, the property itself is surrounded by the Matsalu National Park and you are not allowed to walk in there. The only exception was to access the floating hide through a garden gate and then just to follow the edge of the water to where it was placed.
Eager to see what the possibilities were we immediately went to check it out.
There was only room for one person so that meant one day each... not good, worse still there wasn't a lot of bird life around either! Oh well, might be different in the morning.
We took an afternoon drive to explore locally, once again using the Gosney booklet, but the possibility of Barred Warbler proved another broken dream.
Still, the good news was when we got back there was a feast of a creamy chicken pasta dish with a delicious salad all washed down with ice cold beers.
That was so good and plenty of it too. Son told us his mother had taught him to cook and I declared the only disappointment was that we wouldn't get to try her food. Maybe another time!

No comments:

Post a Comment