Riho Kinks introduces a colourful bird that has become very rare in Estonia: during the two last decades, there have been only 3 nest findings. This parrot-like bird has also a distinct voice that has given it its name – the Hoopoe. This year, a pair nested in Eisma village, Lääne-Viru County. Previously, most reports of the bird have come from South- and South-East Estonia. The article presents the biology and manners of the bird. The Hoopoe prefers open rural landscape with some trees and groves and avoids moist habitats. Estonian ornithologists know very little about the bird, and therefore any notifications of the Hoopoe in Estonia are welcome.
Estonian Nature enquires
Peeter Eek writes about the new legislation concerning waste treatment on municipal level.
Toivo Tuberik elucidates on the essence of the Mahtra folk school.
New data on Estonian thunder climate
Svem-Erik Enno looks for reasons behind the peculiarities of the regional and seasonal distribution: which part of Estonia gets more thunderstorms? The author has counted all thunder days during the years of 1950-2000 in order to find out the seasonal distribution and long-term changes in thunder climate. The period 1991-2003 give basis for the analysis of the territorial distribution of thunder days. The main season for thunderstorms is from May to September, with the peak in July. The regions with most thunderstorms are North-East and South-East Estonia, while the islands and North-West Estonia get the least. The numerous graphs and maps present a detailed overview of thunderstorms in Estonia.
Tree of the Year: Where do Estonia’s biggest ash trees grow?
Hendrik Relve clarifies the map of the highest and thickest ash trees. He also points at the importance of correct measuring methods. The highest ash tree grows in the Sangaste Park (35 m), one of the thickest among the record-two is the well-known Sargvere ash tree near Paide (631 cm in 1998, 648 cm in 2006). The latter has already lost two of its three trunks, but is still growing. The Sargvere ash is likely to be about 250 years old. Another tree, the Veski ash in Kivi-Vigala has a perimeter of 663 cm, but since the bark is very patchy, it is difficult to reach the correct result.
Tree of the Year: Sexually unstable common ash
Ülle Reier takes a glance at the sex life of flowering ash: the species has female, male as well as hermaphrodite specimens. Most of the trees have two genders, and the trees with only female features are rather rare. Moreover, a tree that is all male one year can produce female flowers the next, and similarly a female tree can become male. The author explains the mechanisms behind the gender variation and the procreation of ash tree.
PAN Parks, the network of European wild nature
Murel Merivee and Agu Leivits give an overview of the interview with Vlado Vancura, the management leader of the PAN Parks foudation. The network currently encompasses 9 European national parks. The criteria for the parks are: the size at least of 20 000 ha and at least half of the area has to be wholesome untouched core area. The tourists are allowed to visit the core area. The main activity of the foundation is to enhance the cooperation between protected area and local tourism entrepreneurs. He believes that the Soomaa National Park would fit well into the network.
European rarities in Estonia: Thick-shelled river mussel Unio Crassus
Henn Timm describes a mussel species, which has become rare in Europe, but is doing quite well in Estonia. This freshwater mussel can be found in clear rivers with a sandy or gravel bottom. The article presents a short summary of the biology, habitat preferences, distribution and threats of the species.
Interview: On the difficult path of glorification and ignoring of nature protection
Toomas Kukk has interviewed academician Hans Trass
What is tufa?
Kadri Sohar and Oive Tinn describe the history of accumulation and reasons of origination of a lake sediment that is quite rare in Estonia. The tufa has settled during a rather short period in the late-Holocene. Since it consists of Calcium carbonate, it is called “lake lime” in Estonian. It contains many skeletons of organisms with lime support system. In Estonia, the tufa has been mined as a mineral resource in Varangu, Lääne-Virumaa.
Small human companions: Furniture Beetle chews timber and creates superstition
Mati Martin states that the battle with the furniture beetles chewing old timber is difficult, but it is possible to avoid them by knowing their food preferences. The pictures of the activities of the beetles help one to recognize their traces in the house.
A raid at the small mammals of Matsalu
Kaja Lotman has interviewed a Dutch teriologist Eric Thomassen, who collected a large amount of new data about our mammal fauna during the fieldwork with his Dutch colleagues in Matsalu. He describes the types of traps, methods and techniques they used.
The common Whinchat
Sven Zaèek reminds his encounters with the shy Whinchat, in picture and in text. The Whinchat is very common in Estonia, numbering to about 50 000-100 000 pairs. Yet it is difficult to observe or photograph because its very timid manners.