Summary 2013/04


Orchid of the Year: Early coralroot, a myco-heterotrophic orchid

Tiiu Kull describes one of the exciting orchid species among the 400 species missing green leaves. The coralroots rely entirely upon symbiotic fungi within their coral-shaped roots for sustenance, and most. The species is named the orchid of the year because its distribution needs to be clarified.


Anticyclone does not necessarily bring food weather

Jüri Kamenik continues introducing weather processes, stating that the nature of anticyclones can be very variable. He explains quite thoroughly the nature of different areas of atmospheric pressure. In most cases, the anticyclones are related to calm weather. In addition, anticyclons often bring extreme temperatures, both in winter and in summer. The article is full of exciting examples of weather conditions related to anticyclons in Estonia, supplemented with different weather charts and thematic photographs.


Estonian Nature enquires

Hendrik Relve gives tips on how to get sap from birch and maple trees.


Kurtna lakes – natural monuments in the influence of people

Jaanus Terasmaa studies the results of a new study and admits that the Kurtna lakes – pearls of the Ida-Viru County – are fading fast and mostly irreversibly. The area of Kurtna lakes has about 40 lakes of different types on about 30 sq km, many of them unique or rare. However, the natural resources of the area are very intensively used. The main activities include oil shale mining, sand mining, peat excavation, water scoops and recreation. The main effect is the change in water regime, which also influences the area of the water table and the water mass.


Yellow spring flowers from the genus Gagea.

Toomas Kukk instructs to differentiate between four species of early spring flowers, most commonly considered as the Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem.  In fact, there are three domestic species of Gagea in Estonia, and one introduced species. The species look very similar and as they bloom early in spring, when botanists are not yet out doing fieldwork, the knowledge about their distribution is lacking and needs to be improved.


Interview: The status of fish resources is known in the Estonian Marine Institute

Toomas Kukk has interviewed Toomas Saat, an ichtyologist.


A spring voyage on the Ahja River

Ain Erik suggests a canoeing trip on the Ahja River. The best time is spring, when the flow is still rapid and human hearts are uneasy as well. This article introduces a less-travelled river section: from Koorvere to Kiidjärve. The river forms the backbone of the Ahja river primal valley landscape protection area. There are 15 sandstone denudations along the river section, many of them related to folk tales and legends. The trip is also enlivened by former water mills.


Linnet, a good neighbour

Villu Anvelt presents a seemingly modest bird, which is a lovely companion rather than a handful. In old times, the linnet, a good singer, was often raised as a caged bird, and fed with hemp seed – that is where the bird most probably got its Estonian name kanepilind (hemp bird), although the Latin name refers to hemp as well. The author has observed the linnets many years, and shares his observations of their ways of life, complemented with several photographs.


Flax production and clay industry play an important role in our heritage culture

Triin Kusmin and Jürgen Kusmin take a glance at the business of our ancestors: most of these activities are nowadays only reflected as traces, such as former flax retting ponds or ruins of clay buildings. Both clay burning and flax cultivation were time- and energy-consuming activities, as most of the work was manual. At the same time, they provided living for large number of people. The authors give an overview of the history of these industries and the pictures give some idea of the impact of the activities on landscape and of what is left of these.


On the beech beaches of Poland

Tapio Vares shares his feelings from the trip to see the beech forests on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea. The Polish coast looks a lot like the Kõpu peninsula at Hiiumaa, however, tree species are different: mostly beech, but also birches, pines, and others. However, the landscape is full of surprises: instead of sand beaches the landscape is quite hilly, covered with thick beech forests, and the beach is stony. The descriptions of this little-known Polish corner are full of emotion and sympathy for this beautiful place.


The secret relationship between the globeflower and flies

Mati Martin opens an exciting chapter about relations between a plant and its pollinator: quid pro quo or some seeds must be provided for the flies in order to be pollinated. As globeflower is a close relative of buttercups, and its juice is bitter and poisonous, most insects do not care for that flower. However, there are some exceptions, and these species are portrayed on the numerous detailed close-up photographs. Most common partners of the globeflower are globeflower flies (Chiastocheta species). There are probably five species of them in Estonia. The flies lay their eggs on the seed of the globeflower, and, in turn for pollination, the larvae predate on the seeds.


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