Blyth’s Reed-Warbler at Matsalu Bay/ Estonia

BuschrohrsängerI am standing at the entrance to a beach area in North-western Estonia, which I had already used to photograph migrating waterfowl 2 days ago. At that time already, I had the impression that a Reed-Warbler is singing in the background. But at that time, I had it “checked off” as a “normal” Reed warbler – maybe a Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris). Now I’m not so sure and play in the same place, the transition zone of bushes, old reed and beach from the song of the Blyth’s Reed-Warbler (Acrocephalus dumetorum). After a few seconds of melodies, the reaction is prompt. Loud and clear, the Blyth’s Reed-Warbler sings its tune reminiscent of anything between a Marsh Warbler and an Icterine Warbler (Hippolais icterina). I stomp through thick herb layer, stinging nettles, winter rinse and the reeds. A Blyth’s Reed-Warbler appears at an old, dried-up reed stalk and sings against the alleged rival. He sings in the middle of the reeds. Interesting: this is actually ruled out in standard field guide for Western Palearctic by Killian Mullarney, Lars Svensson and Dan Zetterström. It then changes its perch and sits in a rowanberry. The reaction to playing the tape is prompt and unfortunately also associated with many site changes. Nevertheless, I use the time to look at this Blyth’s Reed-Warbler now more closely. He definitely looks much grayer than a Marsh Warbler. After a while, you also have the song in mind and can identify it very well. In the background the Common Rosefinch (Carpodacus erythrinus) is heard all the time. For a while I do not see and hear anything more about the Blyth’s Reed-Warbler. Then I see the bird like a mouse slip through the old reeds and the low grass in between. The distance is perhaps only 5 meters. Finally, I can photograph the Blyth’s Reed-Warbler – as it should be – in a bush.

It turned to be quite difficult to find the Blyth’s Reed-Warbler that morning. Blyth’s Reed-Warbler are long-distance migrants, which arrive quite late in the year to their breeding grounds in eastern central and northern Europe. But now, at the end of May, they can also be found at their western limit of the distribution area. I chose the northwestern tip of the Matsalu National Park in Estonia. A small village, Puisenina, is an excellent spot to look for passerines (e.g. Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria)) in general and Blyth’s Reed-Warbler in special.

The main objective of a trip to Estonia was, to photograph the Great Snipe (Gallinago media) in its ancestral habitat, the lowlands of Northern Central Europe reaching from the Netherlands to Russia.

Most images from Great Snipes are made in a region of Fjell north of Trondheim. There you can – for a substantial fee – use the camouflage hides of a Norwegian ornithologist. But I wanted to photograph the Great Snipe in a habitat in continental Europe so typical for this species.

After some e-mailing to fix the itinerary, the project “Photography of the Great Snipe display” was started in cooperation with scientists. For this I arranged the help of Estonian Nature Tours (Kumari Reisid OÜ) whose motto is “Estonian nature can offer a lot. So, do our local guides.” Fully true!

The company has excellent contacts with local scientists and birdwatchers who like to share their knowledge of local birds as a guide with other bird lovers.

To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds you can find in the western palearctic.  Trips to remote places like this one to capture images of rare birds of western palearctic were very successful. The nice images you find in the gallery are only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Picture Shop” very soon. Just give me a message, if I could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.

Other successful shootings you can see under: in the pictures shop.

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