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EAGLES AND MORE A TASTE OF AN ESTONIAN WINTER

 
Eagles and more – a taste of an Estonian Winter
If you want to join Luke Massey photographing eagles in the snow as well as other Estonian wildlife next March, we have an exciting holiday on offer. Luke will provide photographic advice, information on when and when not to take photos, notify when certain behaviour is about to occur or for spotting new birds/mammals arriving.

The trips run from the

Sun 3rd March – Thu 7th March
Thu 7th March- Mon 11th March
Mon 11th March- Fri 15th March





See video that has been filmed in the Eagle hide...    

Tour Calendar 2013...

Click here and read Terms and Conditions...




White-tailed Eagle (Haliaetus albicilla) / Remo Savisaar

Description

This is trip for keen wildlife photographers, you'll be spending two full days in the eagle hide. You will have the opportunity to photograph the Eagles from different distances (from 5 metres up to 50 metres) to give you a variety of shots. The feeding site is situated in a bog with a background of low pine trees providing photogenic surroundings. There are several dead branches positioned around the feeding site which make for ideal perches.



Wolf (Canis lupus) / Valeri Štšerbatõh

In winter, the hide is usually visited by 2-4 eagles daily. Sometimes Golden Eagles and Buzzards are also in attendance, along with red foxes, raccoon dogs and even wolves. Photographing the eagles in winter allows for the opportunity to photograph them with snow on the ground and if you’re really lucky falling snow.


Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) / Remo Savisaar


See video that has been filmed in the Eagle hide... 

 
You will also have the chance to spend time photographing passerines and woodpeckers at a local feeding station. Along with an afternoon being guided around the local area where it is possible you’ll have the chance to photograph mammals like Elk, Otter, Wild Boar and Raccoon Dog.


 

Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) / Sven Zacek

From the beginning of March onwards it may be possible to photograph Capercaillie or lekking Black Grouse. If there is a good Hawk Owl year they arrive in December and stay may be around for your visit in early March.


Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula) / Remo Savisaar


Photography from the hide


Our small hide is specially designed for photographers having space for a maximum of 2 persons. The hide is well-insulated and has gas heating, so even if it is -30C outside, it will be warm and cosy inside. The hide has been designed by some of Estonia’s best wildlife photographers making it perfect for photography. Visitors will be able to take a wide range of images, from naturally perched eagle shots to eagles on the ground as well as being perfectly situated to have birds flying directly towards the hide.

 

Eagle hide. Wiew from the inside / Jan Siimson


The lens ports are low making for brilliant opportunities to gain attractive low level shots. The eagles can come incredibly close to the hide allowing for fantastic portraits. Feel free to bring a range of lenses but remember once in position for the day you won’t be able to change the lens. We  recommend you bring a lens with a focal length of 300 to 600mm. Converters can be added and removed carefully during your stint in the hide.

There is no need to bring a tripod. However, please bring your tripod head with you. You can attach your tripod head to the windowsill in the hide. Ball heads are the best option. However a gimbal or sidekick will also suffice. Some photographers find an angle finder helps with taking images from the hide.

Guests are usually driven direct to the hide by ATV,  however if conditions are too wet a 300 metre walk is needed.

It is likely (unless in emergency) that you’ll have to stay in the hide for 8-14 hours. Make sure before you enter that you have prepared for this.  Bottles are provided for relieving yourself if it comes to that. The test of a true wildlife photographer ...


Highlights

In winter, the hide is usually visited by 2-4 eagles daily. Sometimes Golden Eagles and Buzzards are also in attendance, along with red foxes, raccoon dogs and even wolves. Photographing the eagles in winter allows for the opportunity to photograph them with snow on the ground and if you’re really lucky falling snow.
When not in the hide, you’ll have the opportunity to try and photograph the local birdlife, from Black Woodpeckers to Crested Tits and many more in between. Along with this opportunity a local guide will take you to a number of different habitats in search of a wide range of animals and birds.



Crested Tit (Parus cristatus) / Mati Kose


This year, for the first time, eagle feeding started in mid-August. The result has been amazing! In September it was common for 5-7 individual birds to visit the feeding site, along with raccoon dogs, red foxes and wolves. The feeding site has not only allowed fantastic eagle photographs to be taken, but also valuable research has taken place, recording ringed birds, the amount of juveniles and behaviour. With 2012’s earlier feeding period this has now hopefully lengthened the season that the hide can be open. Follow the updates on the eagles on Twitter, Facebook and our Blog.



White-tailed Eagle (Haliaetus albicilla). In October 2012 / Luke Massey


Accommodation

Ilmatsalu Motel. A comfortable and clean base a short drive from the eagle location. All bedrooms are en suite with double beds and free WIFI is available. Breakfast, a packed lunch and dinner are all provided, allowing you to relax and rest when not out photographing the local wildlife. The motel overlooks the Ilmatsalu ponds. These are home to hundreds of wildfowl including whooper swans.


Itinerary

Day 1.
  Arrive in Tallinn. Meet the local guide at Tallinn Airport, drive to South-East Estonia (about 190 km, 2.5-3 hours driving) and check-in at Ilmatsalu Motel. Dinner at the motel and an introduction to the following days’ programme.

Day 2. Photographer 1 – An early breakfast followed by transportation to the Eagle hides (in rare cases, when it is too wet, 300 meters must be walked on foot). You should be in the hide before sunrise to avoid disturbance of eagles. The day will be devoted to photographing White-tailed Eagles. Departure is only allowed from the hide well after sunset. Other species which may possibly be photographed from the hides are Raven, Eurasian Jay, Crested Tit and Great Spotted Woodpecker. From January, Golden Eagles visit irregularly. Raccoon Dog and Red Fox also visit and even Wolves appear rarely. You will spend the day in the company of a guide who will point out when to take photos, notify you of behaviour and offer advice.

Photographer 2 – An early breakfast with the other photographer you will be dropped off at a local feeding station for the morning where you’ll be able to photograph a range of forest species such as Black/Three Toed/White Backed/Grey headed Woodpecker, Nutcracker, Willow/Crested Tits and many more species. If lucky the feeding station may be visited by wild boar.

In the afternoon you will be picked up by a local guide and taken on a tour of the local area in search of a variety of mammals (Elk,Boar,Lynx,Roe Deer etc.) and birds (Black Grouse, Capercaillie and more) till dusk.

Day 3.  The two guests will swap roles for the day.

Day 4.  After an early breakfast both guests will spend the day together in the eagle hide. After your individual days with the guide you should be able to get a wide range of great photographs.

Day 5.  After a casual morning where you’ll have the option to spend time at the local feeding station photographing the small birds you’ll be taken back to Tallinn airport after a local lunch in time for your flight home.

Price: 995 € pp.

Includes:
English speaking guide(s) troughout the journey. All meals (4 dinners, 3 packed lunches). White-tailed Eagle hide costs. All local transport. All overnights in shared twin/double. VAT.

Excludes:

Beverages and sauna.  International tickets. Insurance.


CANCELLATIONS

More than 70 days                                  deposit (20%) only
70-15 days before departure  50%          of total tour cost 
15 days or less before departure            100% of total tour cost
                   

INSURANCE

It is a condition of joining one of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks. Please send to us the name of your insurance provider, the contact telephone number, your policy number, expire date and details of the medical and repatriation cover provided.

Ready to make a booking? Read the website description of the trip that you are interested in, together with Technical details and Booking conditions. Prices exclude international tickets and insurance. All you have to do is get yourself to Tallinn Airport (or Tallinn Harbor) where our local guide will meet you.


Please visit the dedicated links below or contact us should you have any questions about the trip.

Sun 3rd March – Thu 7th March       BOOK HERE...
Thu 7th March- Mon 11th March       BOOK HERE...
Mon 11th March- Fri 15th March       BOOK HERE...



BOOK HERE will guide you to our secure on-line booking system, where it is possible to insert data and also instantly pay by credit card. Fill it and send it to us with the correct deposit, which is 20% of the cost of the holiday. We accept VISA and Mastercard. Another possibility is to pay through bank transfer. Automatic invoice and confirmation will be sent to your email address.

We recommend that you wait for a final confirmation before you book your flight. Final confirmation is made promptly after the minimum number of participants (4-6 pax) has been accomplished but not later than 10 weeks before the holiday.

 

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