Places Visited


Paljassaare, Estonia

Just north of Tallinn, a bird reserve is located in North Tallinn borough (Põhja-Tallinna linnaosa) and covers the northern and western parts of the Paljassaare peninsula. It is only a 10-15min drive (or taxi ride) away from Tallinn city centre. The peninsula is actually two; the eastern Väike-Paljassaare (or Lesser Paljassaare) and western Suur-Paljassaare (or Greater Paljassaare).

We (my wife and myself) were spending the Easter weekend in Tallinn. On Easter Sunday, after having visited the Tallinn open air museum, we took a 20min taxi drive to the Paljassaare Special Conservation Area. The bird list of this area counts to 230+. The weather was rather cold - a few degrees above freezing, an icy northerly wind and thick, low clouds.

Passerines were few and far between. A Great Grey Shrike was watching the area from a tree top. I heard a Skylark giving off a few tweets, but it didn't seem too enthused. The only birds seemingly unaffected by the weather were Great and Blue Tits, flying around doing their business. The eastern peninsula was hammered by the wind, but the bay between the two peninsulas was sheltered and hosted a good range of waterfowl.

There are two bird watching towers in this area. One wooded one is overlooking the small inland lake and the surrounding, large reed beds. A brick tower (actually an old Soviet navy building) which give a good overview of the northern part of the reed beds. I was hoping to see some Bearded Reedlings, but no luck...

A flock of Cormorants were sitting on a rock off the tip of the northern peninsula. The highlight of the day was a flock of Steller's Eider which landed in the water right off the northern tip. I counted 9 females and a single male.