This year's migration started a bit late, but April brought long-awaited warm weather after a chilly March, and Matsalu Bay and surrounding coastal meadows, floodplains and fields are teaming with birds. After the early arrivals have come several migrants from Africa, including Barn Swallow - Estonia’s national bird.
Last week it was possible to enjoy the annual spring 'concert' of northern swans in Matsalu with Bewick's Swan the most numerous ands noisy. Bewick's Swans are heading to their breeding areas in tundra. A luxurious dinner table was set also for White-Tailed Eagles with up 20 birds visible at times last MOnday from the Haeska bird-tower. Due to well managed coastal meadows and wet pools there were several waders around, including the unusual looking Avocet and the Dunlin, arriving in its breeding areas, a species in decline all around Europe. The most eye-catching birds at the moment are of course the Ruffs, who expose their dandy collarets and look spectacular. Although most of them migrate further on, they often lek in local coastal meadows here.
After a week or two Matsalu will turn into a real Barnacle Goose paradise. At the beginning of May there may be up to 100,000 Barnacle Geese stopping here. Birders with powerful spotting scopes are spotting among them eye-catching Red-breasted Geese - a bird species found amongst the flocks visting Matsalu wetlands annually. On Saturday, May 12, the next observation towers’ birding event will be taking place, organized by Estonian Ornithological Society. It will be a marvellous opportunity for everyone interested in birds to come and learn how to recognise different species. In several observation towers throughout Matsalu there will be experienced birders teaching their craft to anyone who would like to learn.