Summary Eesti Loodus 2013/09

 Summary

Corvidae, the most intelligent birds

Tuul Sepp describes the intelligence of Corvidae: in the way they are able to earn and love to play they resemble humans. In Estonia there are many species of Corvidae: crows, jackdaws, ravens, jaybirds and others. The behavior of crows and their relatives have been studied quite a lot and these birds have proved to be very wise and able to analyze and learn. The author brings several examples from all over the world, to illustrate the amazing intelligence of the genus. It appears that the birds are able to remember and recognize different humans as well. And just like humans, most of them have found that it is easier to live in settled areas.

 

Estonian Nature enquires

Merike Merilain looks back at the weather of the past summer.

 

Kurtna landscape protection area: life as in a caricature

Tiit Vaasma and Egert Vandel give an overview of the disorganization of the recreation management of the Kurtna area and provide some solutions for the problem. The Kurtna area embraces 38 lakes on 30 km2, which together with beautiful recreational forests form a unique lake area. However, the sandy lake area is strongly influenced by human activity: surrounded by oil shale mines and quarries, peat fields, sand quarries and canals; and many of the lakes are popular summer resorts with their clear water and lovely coasts. Problems include large amount of garbish; and many people drive their cars right onto the coast. The authors stress the importance of environmental education and awareness in finding functional solutions for the area.

 

Weather proverbs and climate science

Mait Sepp tries to disprove of the myth about the little use of folklore in weather broadcasting. The number of weather proverbs is huge, and as Estonia is a country of inconstant weather conditions, which can differ a lot depending on a specific geographic location, it is not easy to make any generalizations. In this study, the author has taken weather proverbs regarding St. George’s day (April 23) as an example. The proverbs focus on specific interests, such as yield, and expectations regarding summer can differ a lot.

 

Estonian  Nature enquires

Toomas Tammearu reasons over the scarcity of mosquitoes, horseflies and apple maggots during past summer.

 

Military and Soviet heritage

Lembitu Tverdjanski, Triin Kusmin and Jürgen Kusmin carry on the series introducing heritage culture, focusing on military and agricultural objects. Even though these kinds of objects have usually not been associated with Estonian heritage culture, they do form part of our history and in some places still influence the way we live. The largest complex of military buildings involves the naval fortress of Peter the Great with its heavy coastal artillery pieces, storehouses and railways along the northern coast of Estonia, built about a hundred years ago. There are also several traces of the Northern War, and the World Wars.

 

Interview: Urban cows bring fame to Pärnu

Toomas Kukk has interviewed Bert Holm, the project leader of Pärnu urban cows.

 

Practical tips: Cloud landscapes on pictures

Sander Elb gives advice for beginner photographers: taking pictures of clouds brings happiness and satisfaction. The author suggests taking a series of panoramic photos to catch the whole glory of large clouds. His enchanting cloud photos are a good encouragement for everyone.

 

The organic sediments of the Vabaduse (Freedom) Square have proved to be unexpectedly old

Leili Saarse, Jüri Vassiljev and Avo Miidel found so far unknown interglacial deposits from under the Vabaduse Square in Tallinn. In order to understand whether the datum 30 000 years is correct, the authors look at the overall genesis of sediments of Tallinn. The area of the Vabaduse Square turned into mainland some 5000 years ago. However, as the article presents, we do not know if the sediments are really that old or if the parts of paleosoil have been carried there from a klint escarpment.

 

Who sailed the boats of Salme mounds?

Andri Baburin discusses the burial traditions and lifeways of the Viking soldiers buried into the ship burials at Saaremaa. In 2008 and 2010, two Viking ship burials were found from the Sõrve peninsula. The interesting finding reveals quite a lot about these men. The most valuable of the findings include swords with richly decorated hilts, and glass beads. The ships date back to 8th century and include skeletons of 33 men. Most probably these men had a quite high rank in the society. However, there is still a lot to learn and study in order to find out more about these men and about what happened on the coast of Saaremaa some 1260 years ago.

 

The research expeditions of the botanists of Tartu University to Mongolia

Ülle Reier looks back on and compares the expeditions of Alexander von Bunge, Erich Kukk and herself and her colleagues to Mongolia to study the flora of the region. The first relations with Mongolia were founded in 1826 by Alexander von Bunge, who was one of the first botanists to carry out scientific studies of the Mongolian flora. In 2012, a group of botanist of the Tartu University joined a German-Mongolian expedition. The author describes their experiences and impressions of the far-away country and its people, as well as of the flora of unforested hillsides, the main interest of Estonian botanists.