Sunday 9 July 2017

Latvia 2017 - Day Two

We made a leisurely start the next morning. I was first up and sat out on the porch of the guesthouse enjoying my coffee while I watched Spotted Flycatcher, Common and Black Redstarts and a pair of White Wagtails feeding their fledglings. A Garden Warbler sang from cover and a Golden Oriole screeched from the woods on the far side of the lake. Not a bad way to start the day off.

View from the porch


White Wagtail

Our first stop that morning was at a small plantation of Aspen trees which a Grey-headed Woodpecker had been frequenting. We needed to re-trace our route from the night before back through the forest. We stopped briefly when Karlis spotted this Green Sandpiper perched on a fir tree on the edge of the forest path. I know they breed in trees but I’m so used to seeing them in some random muddy puddle or piece of stagnant water that I did a double take when I saw this bird sitting out on a branch.

Green Sandpiper in a fir tree!
The photos above were taken from the car with the bird about 4 meters away perched on the branch of a fir tree at eye-level. Amazing!

Anyway, after that brief encounter we soon arrived at the aspen tree plantation. However, there was no sign of any Grey-headed Woodpeckers that morning. However, all was not lost , right in the ditch beside where we had parked a Blyth’s Reed Warbler broke into song. A little furtive at first but after fifteen minutes it came out on a branch and sang in full view. Not quite the mimic that Marsh Warblers are but still did a convincing Great Tit and Chaffinch.

Blyth's Reed Warbler

Next up we headed over to the Lubans Lake area to a spot where there had been breeding White-backed Woodpecker. Karlis gave it 50:50 with the likelihood that the birds had fledged young and dispersed from the area. Sadly this appeared to be the case. Still, we did have good views of Thrush Nightingale, Greenish Warbler, Icterine Warbler and Lesser-spotted Woodpecker. We moved on towards Nagli fish ponds stopping briefly as two possible Whiskered terns flew over. At Nagli we had five Black terns, a White-tailed Eagle, two Great Grey Shrikes and a distant White-spotted Bluethroat.

For the rest of the day the weather became our enemy. Hot and sunny one minute and flash flooding the next. We searched a few spots for Wryneck (unsuccessfully – but did have one field that had three male Red-backed Shrikes in it), we stopped once again for a quick meal in Madona before making our way back along the highway to Riga. A pit stop for fuel and coffee along the way gave a singing Redwing (first time I’ve ever heard one singing!) and another Great Grey Shrike.

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