Helping dunlin on Võilaid

Võilaid or Butter Islet is half-connected to Muhu island which is known as a port of Saaremaa.
At least that is how most tourists treat Muhu island.
Internet does not say why butter. Only that the name is related to nearby Võiküla (Butter village). There’s a stone road from WWI in Võiküla.
The islet is uninhabited except for 40 something Estonian horses and the same amount of cattle. They are supposed to eat and trample enough to keep the area suitable for some plants and birds that are under nature protection. Obviously they don’t trample enough so that volunteers from Estonian Nature Fund have to help them.
The main reason is dunlin (Calidris alpina schinzii) who needs open area for nesting so that no-one could sneak close. One third of the Baltic Sea dunlin population nests in Estonia.
For two days we cut juniper and build four huge piles. Lot of thorns. I don’t like the idea of cutting wood but we do have more juniper than dunlin.
We were supposed to live on the islet and burn the juniper but since it has been extremely hot and dry making fire is not allowed and we live in Tihuse tourist farm. Transport to the island and back is with a tractor through thick and smelly mud.
Horses come to greet us, shit everywhere and leave. They are young and belong to the same Tihuse farm, spending the first 4-5 years of their childhood roaming wild about the islet. There are also two old adult horses to teach them manners.
First day is sizzling hot, on the second day thunder clouds pass us left and right. We test three different swimming places and one mysterious stomach disease. Water is very shallow in most places around here.
Muraka (cloudberry) bog
Raudna river from start to finish

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