Rocca al Mare promenade
Stroomi – Mustjõe – Rocca al Mare coast is located in western Tallinn. It is a narrow strip of land comprising of sandy Stroomi beach, reedbed, brownfield and an old forest park, all pressed between the shallow Kopli Bay and a busy Paldiski Road.
Although always filled with joggers, skaters and walkers, the site’s birdlife value is unveiled during the migration period. Stroomi – Rocca area serves as a link in the migration corridor through western Tallinn with Astangu and Kakumäe areas in the one end and Merimetsa forest and Paljassaare SCA in the other. Due to its narrowness the migration of woodland birds is really visible. But there are also other values.
Infrastructure, do’s and don’ts
The area is located very close to the city centre and easily reached by buses (no 21, 22) and trolleybuses (6, 7) – see the bus schedules. A 2 km long promenade passes through the area quite conveniently. There are some small paths leading here and there, but usually there’s no need to step aside from the promenade.
There aren’t any real “don’ts”, other than a reminder that good optics and a sandy beach with halfnaked people is not always a peaceful combination.
Birding spots and birds
Stroomi – Mustjõe – Rocca region is like a very compact version of Paljassaare. However, birdwatchers have only recently acknowledged its value, so the bird list of the area, some 182 species, is to increase rapidly. This is a nice place to visit all the year round. The best spots are the Stroomi beach, the other end of the promenade (Rocca al Mare coastal slope) and the promenade itself.
The Stroomi beach may be a good spot for waders in July and August. The diversity (up to 16 different wader species and up to 500 birds all together) is the highest, if the weather is bad and cold, if the sea water level is low and if you go there in the early morning. So it is always wise to check the area. Most of the usual wader species are present there – Calidris, Charadrius, Tringa, Limosa, Numenius, etc. In warm sunny weather, however, the beach is filled with thousands of people.
The promenade passes through a brownfield and is bordered by a wild park and the reedbed. During the migration period, you will undoubtedly see migrating woodland birds. Look out for raptors! As to breeding birds, there are Redbacked Shrike, Blyth’s Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus dumetorum) and Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris), Bearded Tits, other reed passerines and waterfowl. In recent years, a Bittern and Little Grebes (Tachybaptus ruficollis) have been constantly wintered in the reeds. The shallow stream (Mustjõgi or Mustoja) provides an overwintering place for the Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis).
Rocca al Mare slope is the farthest end of the promenade, which gives you a good overview of all the area. From August to October, the shallow bay is filled with ducks, geese and other waterfowl. In winter, one small patch of the bay remains icefree, attracting Mallards and often some other species, which should not overwinter in Estonia. If the bay freezes over, take a good look – there may be White-tailed Eagles sitting on top of ice heaps.