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Cape Kolka - BirdForum Opus

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An area of varied habitats on the Kurzeme Peninsula in northwestern Latvia with a range of breeding birds and one of the best migration watchpoints in the country.

On the beach are extensive sand dunes, well-wooded further inland with farmland, bogs and woodlands away from the coast. Part of the area is included in the Slitere Nature Reserve.


Notable Species

Breeding birds include both storks, raptors such as Golden Eagle and Short-toed Eagle, Common Buzzard, European Honey Buzzard and Osprey and three species of grouse. Also breeding are Common Crane and Corn Crake, Common Tern and Golden Plover, European Nightjar, owls and woodpeckers. Passerines include Wood Lark, Tawny Pipit, Red-breasted Flycatcher and Red-backed Shrike.

Spring migration is excellent with thousands of raptors, mainly European Honey Buzzard, Common Buzzard and Rough-legged Buzzard and Eurasian Sparrowhawk but also Golden Eagle and White-tailed Eagle and Osprey. There are also impressive numbers of pigeons and a wide variety of passerines moving through in spring.

Offshore divers and seaduck, seabirds and waders pass the cape in good numbers during passage periods. April and early May is generally the best time for birding this area.


Birds you can see here include:

Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, Great Crested Grebe, Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Black Stork, White Stork, Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Tundra Bean Goose, Taiga Bean Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose, Canada Goose, Barnacle Goose, Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Greater Scaup, Common Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Common Goldeneye, Smew, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, European Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, White-tailed Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Rough-legged Buzzard, Greater Spotted Eagle, Golden Eagle, Osprey, Common Kestrel, Merlin, Northern Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, Hazel Grouse, Black Grouse, Western Capercaillie, Corn Crake, Common Crane, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Northern Lapwing, Red Knot, Sanderling, Temminck's Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Great Snipe, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Red-necked Phalarope, Arctic Skua, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Caspian Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Little Tern, Black Tern, Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Stock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Common Cuckoo, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Tengmalm's Owl, European Nightjar, Common Kingfisher, Eurasian Hoopoe, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Three-toed Woodpecker, Woodlark, Eurasian Skylark, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Grey-headed Wagtail, Citrine Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Wren, Dunnock, Bluethroat, Eurasian Robin, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Eurasian Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Common Reed Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Spotted Flycatcher, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tit, Willow Tit, Coal Tit, Crested Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Great Grey Shrike, Common Jay, Rook, Common Starling, Chaffinch, Brambling, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Siskin, Northern Redpoll, Common Crossbill, Two-barred Crossbill, Common Rosefinch, Common Bullfinch, Hawfinch, Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting

Other Wildlife

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Site Information

History and Use

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Areas of Interest

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Access and Facilities

Kolka village is easily reached by road and lies about 160km from Riga and there are daily buses from the capital which take about 3.5 hours to reach Kolka. The point lies about 2km from the village which offers hotel accommodation and camping is possible in the reserve.

Permits for the Nature Reserve are available from the HQ in the village of Mazirbe.

Contact Details

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External Links

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Content and images originally posted by Steve