Estonia richer by one fish and two bird species

Western tubenose goby.
Western tubenose goby. Source: ERR

A recently caught western tubenose goby is now the 89th different fish species caught in Estonian waters. Two new bird species were also spotted in late-September in Lääne County.

On Wednesday morning, fishermen near Sillamäe in Ida-Viru County, caught two western tubenose gobies during a fish monitoring process, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Thursday evening.

The newly discovered species of western tubenose goby has an average length of about 10 cm and is easy to confuse with local round gobies. The biggest difference between the local fish and the visitors is in the length of the nostril tubes, from which the western tubenose gets its name from.

The western tubenose goby have tubular nostrils and its nostril tube extends to the upper lip. The tubular nostril is 2–4 centimeters long. The round goby lacks these nostril tubes.

The last time the western tubenose goby was spotted in the Baltic Sea was in 2007, when one was caught near the Russian coast.

Like most invasive species, the new fish reached Estonia through ship ballast water discharge. It is normally native to fresh waters of the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea. Due to the temperature differences with the Baltic Sea, the species has not begun to reproduce in large numbers.

Redik Eschbaum, a fishery scientist at the University of Tartu, said: "I think it will not bring any major jolts in our ecosystem. But like all live organisms, it will compete with our native species for food and habitat. I think the effect will not be as large as it was with the round goby, however."

Stormy weathers of late-September brought two new birds to Estonia

On September 25, bird-watcher and nature photographer Roger Erikson captured a Manx shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) on Cape Põõsaspea in Lääne County. Finnish bird-watchers Annika Forsten and Antero Lindholm curiously captured a spotted sandpiper (Actitis macularius) in the same location just four days later.

While the Manx shearwater is native to wide areas on the Atlantic Ocean near the British Isles and the North Sea, the long-living bird (the oldest living wild bird lived to at least 55 years) rarely ever comes to the Baltic Sea. More information on the bird is available on Birdlife International. Roger Erikson's pictures and story is available on his blog here.

Manx shearwater. Source: Wikimedia commons

The spotted sandpiper is native to the continent of America, nesting in North America and migrating to South America for the summer. The bird is exceptionally rare in Europe but some representatives do end up on the British Isles yearly. More information on the bird is available on Birdlife International.

Spotted sandpiper. Source: Wikimedia commons


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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