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A Report from

Late Summer in Lithuania, 12th-20th August 2006,


by John Perry (United Kingdom), Per Grenabo (Sweden) and Peter Asher (UK)

Following an earlier trip to Lithuania by JP & PG (See Report “The Baltic Coast of Lithuania and Latvia, 9th April – 17th April 2004”) we decided to pay a late summer visit to both originally visited areas and new areas. Highlights included excellent views of Great White Egret, Lesser Spotted Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Marsh, Hen and Montagu’s Harrier, Little Tern, Little Gull, and migrating passerines.  Along the way, we once again thoroughly enjoyed exploring the fascinating and beautiful landscapes of this remarkable country and enjoyed excellent hospitality and food


We flew with Lufthansa from Manchester to Vilnius via Frankfurt.  As on the previous visit we arranged car hire through Litinterp a very friendly and efficient company who accept all major credit cards and whose staff are fluent in English.  The car provided was an Opel Zafira which was perfect for the three of us plus luggage, scopes etc.  The cost, including full waivers, and three drivers was £275 for 8 days.


For our two nights in the Kaunas area we stayed at Perkuno Namai hotel ( )  This is a beautifully-situated family run hotel with superb views across Kaunas as well as an extensive garden.  All the rooms have balconies, which being almost at treetop height gave excellent views of passerines.  The staff were very friendly, spoke fluent English and went out of their way to make us feel at home.  There is free internet access in the lobby.  We had a twin room and a single room and the total price worked out at €50 per person per night including a good breakfast, which for the second largest city in the country was very reasonable.  All major credit cards are accepted.

Our three nights on the Nemunos Delta were in Kintai.  We stayed at Kintai UAB a fishing/boating complex on the edge of the Nemunos Delta Regional Park which included a campsite, chalets and a small hotel.  This was definitely the find of the trip.  We had a twin-bedded room with a sitting room containing a third bed.  The balcony overlooked the fishponds (5 White-tailed Eagles at one time + Caspian Tern on the second morning!).  The food was good and plentiful and the cost for the rooms was €20 per person per night including a hearty breakfast.  As is typical in Lithuania, the staff were pleasant and helpful and did their best to communicate to us in English.  They readily accepted Visa.  Apart from the superb location and value for money, Kintai is very handily placed for Ventes Ragas (5km), the main ringing station in the Delta.

We decided to visit the Curonian spit for one day, as despite extensive forest fires and large numbers of tourists, we felt it was worth checking out for summer birds.  As we had not booked accommodation in advance, we found a little difficulty in finding a suitable place, but eventually got 3 single rooms in Palve Guesthouse in Nida. This was a rather soulless and overpriced place (€52 per person per night without breakfast), would only accept cash and had no catering facilities at all.  It was nowhere near as pleasant or as comfortable as where we had stayed on our previous visit to Nida. (see earlier report).


For general information and finding accommodation we used The Lonely Planet Guide to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.  We also found a website about the Nemunus Delta

An absolutely invaluable book for planning our itinerary was “Important Bird Areas of the European Union Importance in Lithuania” published by the Lutute company, Kaunas. (ISBN 9955-575-51-4).  This book, with text in Lithuanian and English, is a joint publishing venture between the Lithuanian Ornithological Society (LOD), Institute of Ecology of Vilnius University, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Danish consultancy NEPcon, Ornis Consult.  The book details 85 different sites of ornithological importance, giving descriptions of the habitat, likely bird populations, access restrictions, co-ordinates and maps.


Not many people other than young people spoke English. Apart from Lithuanian, the most widely understood language was Russian although it was not always received warmly.  German was particularly useful on the Curonian Spit. 


Apart from one day of rain (when we were mainly driving), the weather was dry and mostly sunny with temperatures 22-28°C.

Daily log

13th August 06

We spent the morning exploring the Buda Pravieniskes area (54°55’N 24°21’E) which was about 23 km east of Kaunas.  This is a complex of wet coniferous, deciduous and mixed forest covering an area of just over 4750 ha.  In the afternoon we moved to Babtai (55°2’N 23°52’E) a similar sized area but where the landscape had more open pasture and cereal fields between the wooded areas.  The views of the Lesser Spotted Eagles were excellent.  We also found a pool on the main road back to Kaunas with a few interesting birds.

Selected Species for the day:

Grey Heron
Mute Swan
Lesser Spotted Eagle >4
Marsh Harrier >20

Wood Sandpiper
White Stork
Black Woodpecker
Red-backed Shrike

14th August 06

A day of non-stop torrential rain.  Luckily, this was the day when we were travelling between Kaunas and Kintai and although making for unpleasant driving, it did not impact too much on our expected birding activities.  Our arrival at the hotel in Kintai was marked by an adult White-tailed Eagle flying over the car park.

15th August 06

Nemunas Delta Regional Park (55°18’N 21°23E’) covers an area slightly less than 30,000 ha. We left the hotel at dawn and drove straight to Vente Ragas.  There was no activity at the ringing station and the whole area was covered in a sea mist.  An inspection of the bushes and shrubs around the area showed no sign of any migratory behaviour.  We drove to Rusne and Uostavaris before returning to the hotel for breakfast.  After breakfast we drove to  Senoji Rusne (55°8’N 21°45’E), a wetland complex comprised of two shallow eutrophic lakes, Senoji Rusne (40 ha)and Sennemune(48 ha).  On the way we stopped to observe a flock of 3000+ Lapwings migrating through the area.  Sennemune Lake was particularly good for Whiskered Tern and Montagu’s Harrier in the adjoining fields.  The day was ended by the side of River Nemunos in Rusne with good numbers of ducks, waders and terns.

Selected Species for the day:

Great White Egret
Lesser Spotted Eagle
Hen Harrier
Marsh Harrier
Montagu’s Harrier
Grey Partridge
Common Crane
Ringed Plover

Wood Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Little Tern
Common Tern
Caspian Tern
Black Tern
Whiskered Tern

16th August 06

Again, we left the hotel at dawn and drove straight to Vente Ragas.  Again also there was no activity at the ringing station probably because despite the clear view, there were very strong winds.  We drove to Kliosiai (55°32N 21°12E), an area of coastal meadows and fens covering 480 ha.  The vast majority of the area makes up the Kliosiai State Landscape Reserve and has a breeding population of 100 pairs of Aquatic Warblers.  Sadly for us they had either already left or were silent and hidden, as despite all our efforts we failed to find any.  However, on the way there we found a field by the side of the road with 50+ Common Crane. 500+ Greylag Goose and large numbers of gulls.  On our return to the hotel, we had 5 White-tailed Eagles and 2 Caspian Terns from our balcony.  After breakfast we drove around the Nemunos Delta area, exploring the many tracks and rough roads.

Selected Species Count for the day:

Great White Egret
Greylag Goose
Tufted Duck
White-tailed Eagle (total 9)
Marsh Harrier
Wood Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper

Spotted Redshank
Greenshank Curlew
Little Tern
Common Tern
Caspian Tern
Reed Warbler
Willow Warbler
Spotted Flycatcher
Crested Tit

17th August 06

Drove to Klaipeda and took the ferry to the Curonian Spit (55°30N’ 21°6’E).  Black Terns and Little Gulls were seen in the 10 minute crossing.  Walked through the sand dunes at Nida (keeping to the permitted paths!) and had excellent views of Tawny Pipit and Lesser Whitethroat.  The beaches were absolutely full of sunbathing tourists so any seawatching was out of the question.

Selected Species  for the day:

Greylag Goose
White-Tailed Eagle
Marsh Harrier
Common Crane
Little Gull
Common Tern

Black Tern
Lesser spotted Woodpecker
Tawny Pipit
Yellow Wagtail
Lesser Whitethroat
Willow Warbler
Spotted Flycatcher
Crested Tit
Red-backed Shrike

18th August 06

Drove to the Cormorant reserve near Juodurante at the Northern end of the Curonian Spit.  Most Cormorants and all the Grey Herons had left, but we had excellent views of Goshawk, Stock Dove and Garden Warbler.  On the crossing back to Klaipeda, drove to Siauliai and explored Gubernija area (56°3’N 23°21’E). This is an excellent and large area of wet mixed forest (24200 ha).  We noted good numbers of passerines as we drove around the many forest tracks.

Selected Species for the day:

Lesser Spotted Eagle
Marsh Harrier
Little Gull
Black Tern
Common Tern
Stock Dove
Turtle Dove

Garden Warbler
Pied Flycatcher
Coal Tit
Crested Tit
Red-backed Shrike
Common Crossbill

19th August 06

Before breakfast we explored the Gedziunai area (56°2’N 23°40’E).  The weather was very overcast and there was little bird activity, despite the tremendous potential of the area.  The whole area (almost 15,000 ha) was a complex of wet deciduous and mixed forest with significant oak stands.  Access was not that easy however, with most of the forest tracks undrivable without a 4x4 vehicle.  After breakfast we decided to try the Taujenu – Uzulenio area (55°24’N 24°35’E) a large (over 20,000 ha) area of productive mixed forest.  Once again, despite the excellent habitat, there were few birds to be seen and access much more difficult than the forests in the Kaunas area.  We then made our way slowly back to Vilnius, stopping off at any likely-looking areas en route.

Selected Species for the day:


Lesser Spotted Eagle
Marsh Harrier
Hen Harrier
Grey Partridge

Turtle Dove
Tree Sparrow


As in our previous visit, we were very impressed with the potential of Lithuania as a birding destination.  The timing of the trip was dictated by the summer school holidays and so a lot of birds were missed that would have been visible and/or audible a little earlier in the summer  (e.g.woodpeckers, crakes, warblers) and we were clearly only at the start of the autumn migration.  Nevertheless, large flocks of Lapwings, Hirundines and Starlings were already moving through and a flock of 50+ Ravens we assumed was also an early autumn movement.

What was really excellent was the quality of sightings.  The number and frequency of Lesser Spotted Eagles, White-tailed Eagles, the ubiquitous Harriers and Red-backed Shrikes allowed really superb viewings.  The landscape was also fascinating and quite unlike what we were used to seeing at home. 

Once again we left Lithuania with memories of superb sightings, beautiful scenery, comfortable accommodation and really welcoming and friendly people.  We will be back!

Systematic list

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Great White Egret Egretta alba
White Stork Ciconia ciconia.
Mute Swan  Cygnus olor
Greylag Goose Anser anser
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
Teal Anas crecca
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Pochard Aythya farina
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
Goldeneye Bucephala clangula
White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla
Lesser spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina
Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus.
Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus
Montagu’s Harrier Circus pygargus
Goshawk Accipiter gentilis
Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
Common Buzzard Buteo buteo
Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
Hobby Falco subbuteo
Grey Partridge Perdix perdix
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Coot Fulica atra
Common Crane Grus grus
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta
Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
Ruff Philomachus pugnax
Snipe Gallinago gallinago
Curlew Numenius arquata
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
Redshank Tringa totanus
Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Little Gull Larus minutus
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
Common Gull Larus canus
Herring Gull Larus argentatus
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Little Tern Sterna albifrons
Caspian Tern Sterna caspia
Black Tern Chlidonias niger
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus
Feral Pigeon Columba livia
Stock Dove Columba oenas
Woodpigeon Columba palumbus
Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur
Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Swift Apus apus
Green Woodpecker Picus viridis
Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius
Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos minor
Skylark Alauda arvensis
Sand Martin Riparia riparia
Swallow Hirundo rustica
House Martin Delichon urbica
Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
White Wagtail Motacilla alba
Robin Erithacus rubecula
Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
Blackbird Turdus merula
Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
Garden Warbler Sylvia borin
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca
Willow Tit Parus montanus
Crested Tit Parus cristatus
Coal Tit Parus ater
Blue Tit Parus caeruleus
Great Tit Parus major
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio
Jay Garrulus monedula
Magpie Pica pica
Jackdaw Corvus monedula
Rook Corvus frugilegus
Hooded Crow Corvus corone cornix
Raven Corvus corax
Starling Sturnus vulgaris
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
Linnet Carduelis cannabina
Common Crossbill Loxia curvirostra
Yellowhammer Emberiza citronella

John Perry
Per Grenabo
Pete Asher

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