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ESTONIA IN SPRING

 
An 8-day fully-inclusive holiday focusing on the spectacular bird migration and breeding birds in Estonia.

Price: 1150 € pp.

BOOK HERE...

Programme can be viewed when choosing Tour dossier from the right menu.

Although not widely discovered yet, Estonia is the ideal country for observing one of the most spectacular natural shows – massive bird migration. This smallest and northernmost Baltic country lies on the crossroads of the Eastern Atlantic migratory flyway: Estonia is locked between the Finnish Gulf, the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea and Lake Peipsi near the Russian border. Geographically the Estonian waters and coastline are stepping-stones along the flyway between breeding and wintering areas for millions of Arctic waterbirds, making birdwatching in Estonia fabulous at this time of year.

 
 
Period:
Fri 16th May - Fri 23rd May 2014
Group size:
6/8 pax
Grading:
Day walks only, for all ages
Leader:
Kaarel Võhandu
Accommodation:
Comfortable hotels with private facilities
Food:
Restaurants and local farms
Extensions:
Cultural/sightseeing extensions available on request

 

Citrine Wagtail / M.Kose Great Snipe / A.Ader


Itinerary:

Day 1 Arrive in Tallinn, to Haapsalu
Day 2 Põõsaspea, Silma & Nõva
Day 3 Leidissoo & Matsalu
Day 4 Matsalu National Park, to Pärnu
Day 5 Soometsa forests & Häädemeeste
Day 6 To Tartu, Kärevere
Day 7 Alam-Pedja & Aardla
Day 8 Departure

 

Highlights

Birds: Bittern, Black Stork, peak spring migration of waterfowls, Golden Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Black Grouse, Capercaillie, Corncrake, Great Snipe, Whimbrel, White-backed Woodpecker, Three-toed Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Citrine Wagtail, Savi´s Warbler, Penduline Tit, Golden Oriole etc.
Mammals:
Red Fox, Raccoon Dog, Wild Boar (probably), Elk, Roe Deer, European Beaver, tracks of  Brown Bear, Wolf or Lynx (probably) etc.

Client comments:

"We had all a great trip in Estonia. It seems that everybody in the group enjoyed our visit very much. Margus is a very easy-going person to deal with and his knowledge about birding in Estonia is over the top! I like very much to travel with him. The people in the group also find him very nice." G.P / Sweden, Avifauna, June 2013

"Just to say we all had a great trip to Estonia and saw plenty of good birds - particularly the Grouse, Woodpeckers and Geese and even found a Black Kite. The mammals were equally good even though we didn't see a bear the Racoon Dogs were super and the Flying Squirrel was just fabulous. Margus is a really good birder, a superb tour leader a great guy and great company. We more or less stuck to the itinerary but changed things around a bit to suit our needs after discussions with or suggestions from Margus.Margus worked tirelessly throughout the week to find us birds & mammals and nothing was too much trouble for him - he really helped to make the trip and I wouldn't hesitate to use him again. So please pass on a big thank you once again from all of us.

The Mooste Viinavabrik Guesthouse was absolutely wonderful - a great building, great food, great staff and ideally located. You have just got to continue to use the place.

Finally a big thank you to you for the organisation and all the work you have done in the background that helped make for a fabulous and successful trip." J.W / UK, May 2013

"Our trip to Estonia was a great success. All participants were absolutely satisfied with Roosta puhkeküla accomodation (the cottages), all meals we were served, sauna and the atmosphere of the personel. The buss service and the driver Aivo were also great. Aivo did a good job taking account that we changed the routes many times according to weather. Our guide Mikko was super. He created from the very beginning open relations to all of our group members. He also knew the areas and places we visited and he had a good knowledge of both flora and fauna.

We all want to recommend Estonian Nature Tour services to all Finnish tourists and also to people from other countries. The Estonian nature is rich and beautiful. Satisfaction starts when you get  more than you expected. Here, in our case, this happened!" K.S / Finland, May 2013

"We had a good time in Estonia last week. All the warm clothing wasn’t really necessary, luckily. Tallinn is beautiful, and the two-days birding with Karel were also excellent. We saw or heard about 120 bird species, 6 of which I had not seen before. Excellent view of Great snipe, Corncrake, River warbler, White-backed woodpecker, and a soaring Lesser spotted eagle. And other very ‘good’ birds like Citrine wagtail. The pair of Hawk Owls was a very nice surprise." B.B / Belgium, May 2013

"Just thought I'd drop you a line to say a big thank you on behalf of the group and myself for arranging a fabulous birding trip to your country. We all really enjoyed it and it was great to have you with us during the first couple of days - the Black Grouse stand out and were a highlight for everyone. As was the river trip in such fine weather along with the added bonus of seeing 5 Beavers it was simply just great. And how can seeing the weird looking Elk (Mr Moose!) not be a highlight they are so bizzarly fantastic. Ivar was really good an outstanding birder and great companion for our remaining 5 days. I learnt so much off him regarding bird songs I hadn't heard before such as Icterine, Marsh & Blyth's Reed Warblers and Red-breasted Flycatcher. And I don't think any of us will forget watching numerous Great Snipe lekking whilst being eaten by mosquitos - all part of being there. Ivar was a safe driver and his knowledge of birds and other wildlife in Estonia certainly helped make the trip such a success. Please pass on our thanks once again to Ivar. Our total was 138 species seen plus another 18 heard only." J.W. / Estonia in Spring / May 2012

"I really enjoyed the spring of Estonia. It was very nice to see green trees and yellow flowers everywhere. We also had very nice weather for birdwatching. I had problems with the English names of the birds. Because I did decision on traveling so quickly, I didn't have time to learn them before this tour. Our bird guide helped me, when I asked. We saw some birds almost every day and so I began to knew their names during the week. I like to thank you for organizing such nice tour"."T.M. / Estonia in Spring / May 2012

"Many thanks to all involved in the trip organised for the New Forest Bird Group, 26th - 3rd May 2011. Special thanks to our leader Margus. I shall never forget his amazing owl impressions in an attempt to attract owls. He also had a very good eye for spotting birds even from the moving minibus. Please pass on our thanks to him. My husband and I found the birds, countryside and (on the final day), the guided tour of Tallinn, a most interesting experience. Many happy memories. Tänan!" / V.S and M.S April 2011 /

"What a weekend it was fantastic,the birdlife is brilliant and you have a beautiful country. Oh yes a Wolf !!! what a supprise that was,will probably never see another one. Also saw Elk and Mountain Hare which were new mammals for me.The birdlife is astonishing and im sure lots of British birders will want to come to Estonia. The hotels were superb and the food was exceptionally good. Ivar is a fantastic guide great knowledge and personality hopefully will meet up again. I got my last Woodpecker and we got five different species.The capercailie and Black Grouse gave fantastic views and was well pleased to see Hazel Hen. Overall we managed to see a fantastic number of birds all with stunning views and i thought the seawatching at Poosaspea was wonderful with so many different birds on the water i particularly enjoyed the Black Throated Divers and Long Tailed Ducks. It was a thoroughly good trip and we also had the best weather possible. Many thanks for arranging this trip for me and hopefully will visit again soon. PS. Will never forget seeing the Wolf (still can not believe it). " / B.G. April 2011 /

"I have now returned to England after spending a week in your lovely country (led by Mikko) and would like to say how much I enjoyed my week, not only seeing some lovely birds, some for the first time, but also meeting some Estonian people, I did also enjoy the visits to the Manor houses for lunches and the farm visit and the ladies who prepared us a lovely evening meal, so much better than just eating in hotels.The trip was very well organised, and we learned a lot about Estonia as a country as well as the nature. Mikko and his driver were excellent also."  / Bird Holidays April 2011 /

"We had planned to go to Estonia with Mark and Alice in early April. A combination of EasyJet and Icelandic volcanoes ensured that this did not happen: but we finally went with Alice only, late in May. We had booked our holiday with a really helpful lady, Marika Mann, who runs her own business organising birding tours and birding holidays in Estonia.  She had arranged a 3-day tour for us, with a guide called Tarvo Valker, who turned out to be a lot younger than we had expected (he is low thirties).  He is knowledgeable about birds, found a lot of birds because he knew the terrain so well and had a fantastic ear for the songs.  He also speaks good English and knows the (English) names of all the birds. 
An excellent few days.  Estonia feels like management have taken a ‘quality’ decision: everything Estonia does will be done well, even if they cannot afford it.  They are one of the ‘greenest’ nations in Europe, environmentally friendly, large areas of national park and protected areas, good walkways well maintained, decent roads with some bicycle lanes, hotels good, clean and friendly.  Tallinn was a joy, but more so the areas outside Tallinn where the government is trying to create an aura of quality: this is all difficult in a country with the bear looming over the shoulder, and with such a low income.  Prices are at euro levels, but incomes less than half those of UK/Germany/France.  As Tarvo said, Estonia produces excellent dentists – but they all go to Finland, where they are paid three times as much. In three days with Tarvo we saw an incredible 117 bird species, heard another ten (including three we have never seen!) and seven land mammals (and seals and bats).  In Tallinn we saw an excellent ballet and an excellently-performed opera.  Overall a really good holiday.“ P. & V.C. / Spring 2010 /  

"Thank you for a great holiday. We had a fantastic time. Margus was a great and knowledgeable guide and the bus driver was excellent. The holiday went well and the food was very good especially the farms. The change to Troffee hotel was great. It is a fantastic place to stay with many birds to see. Your skill in organising the trip was well recommended and we look forward to seeing you again in the future. I will keep in touch." D.B. / Spring 2009 RSPB North West Surrey Local Group /

“I want to thank you again for the wonderful guidance during our splendid vacation in Estonia! We had such a wonderful time with you and Are. I wish you all a great future in "Naturetours"; I have been talking to friends in France, they want to see my film and pictures, they can not believe all we did see and heard, they are absolutely jealous!
What a wonderful trip, what a wonderful country, what a great organisation! Please thank all your team members, that made this trip into such a success!” A.van den Lugt / Spring 2009 SNP /

„First of all we want to thank you once more for your very valuable help in making our stay in Estland very succesfull and most enjoyable. Yourself, Tiit and Remek made it possible to let us make observations which would never have been possible without you all. Thank you also for the warm welcome at your nice office and for all the documentation you gave us. I shall proudly dress in your T-shirt this summer!
As mentioned already, we enjoyed this trip so much that we really intend to come back next year for probably a longer period.“ R.V / Spring 2009 /

"We were very lucky to have a complete week of unbelievably good weather which gave us the opportunity of getting stunning views of virtually everything we saw. I must make a special comment about the food on this trip. The meals in the farmhouses and manor houses would make this trip worthwhile even if we had not seen any birds. It was a real pleasure to eat good honest local food whilst meeting local people in their own homes." D.G. / Spring 2007 Naturetrek /

"I must have done some ten to twelve natural history holidays in Britains or abroad and have to say that this was the best. We were extremely lucky with the weather, which obviously makes it more pleasant to walk around and I love Estonia with its wildness - lakes, woods, marshes and bogs and its long coastline. In the week we had good experience of them all, seeing lots of species as we went along...We were exceptionally lucky in both our tour leader and our local guide. Gerald is obviously a very experienced leader who creates a relaxed atmosphere at the same time as being very serious when it comes to the actual excursions. This combination meant that we could have a really good timw, but see and learn a lot. He has a tremendous knowledge of birds, but also of mammals and butterflies and moths. His general all round knowledge makes it much more interesting. He also deals effectively with people...you feel that he is completely in control and would deal with any situation. To get the balance of good fun, seriousness and competence is not easy. Yet Gerald managed to combine all three exceptionally well. Mati gave us a feel for his country. He explained some of its history and took us to a good selection of sights, so I came away with a feeling that I wanted to know more about it. I enjoyed his sense of humour and learnt a lot from him. I loved eating with local people as it meant we got a taste of real Estonian food, not just the hotel variety - which was also very good. Obviously, I go on your holidays because I enjoy bird watching, but I am interested in all aspects of Natural History and when I got to a new country I like to learn as much as possible about their country - its history, culture, politics...This holiday has fulfilled all aspects. I certainly want to return to Estonia and if the trip is run by Gerald and Mati, so much the better. I want to congratulate you on choosing two such intelligent, knowledgeable and competent guides who, at the same time, are extremely nice people."C.P. / Spring 2007 Naturetrek /

"A very enjoyable holiday greatly enhanced by the imaginative inclusion of wonderful meals in a variety of locations from farms to manor houses to historic buildings. An excellent example of the value of combining Naturetrek expertise with local knowledge." D & J.R / Spring 2007 Naturetrek /

"This was an excellent holiday with varied locations, loads of birds (including a Corncrake to die for!) and good food." A.U. / Spring 2007 Naturetrek /

"I have got you a small present to say a BIG thank you for the fantastic week in Estonia. It's the best natural history holiday I've done up to now - and I've enjoyed all the ones I have done, so it had very high standards to beat!!! It was so well organised and I loved all the extra bits like the tour of Tallinn, the 'picnics' etc. Both you and Mati did a great job.“ / Spring 2006 Naturetrek /

 "This was a particularly good trip enhanced by the local company who provided information on Estonia and excellent lunches made by local people." N.H. / Spring 2006 Naturetrek /

„This holiday was really very good indeed, with an excellent mix of birds, cuisine and culture, including small local museums and woodwalking in progress... The leaders were both very good... The opportunity to see Tallinn on our arrival, and the tour before we flew out was wonderful, as were the meals on those days... I really enjoyed it, and the organisation and planning went well beyond the ´extra mile´. A superb 1st trip to Estonia – so well done all.“ R.M. / Spring 2004 Naturetrek /

„We were grateful for the Estonias picnics because it showed us more about the people & way of life.“ H.H. / Spring 2004 Naturetrek /

"I was very impressed with the Estonian nature reserves we visited and with all that the country has achieved since independence, making it, with its wonderful birds, an ideal destination for such a holiday."A.T./ Spring 2004 Naturetrek /

„Whoever organised the picnic venues & luncheons deserves a medal.“ J.H. / Spring 2004 Naturetrek /

„Unusual trip. Intensive, in terms of early mornings & late nights, but relaxed, with coffee stops, restaurant / farmhouse lunches. Local guide is excellent.“ S.B. / Spring 2004 Naturetrek /








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