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ESTONIA A SHELTER FOR WESTERN TAIGA FOREST BIRDS

 
 
6-day fully-inclusive holiday in search of owls, woodpeckers, grouse and other forest specialities of Estonia.

Price: 860 € pp.

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

BOOK HERE...

An Estonian Western Taiga forests has an extraordinary richness of species. Up to 40,000 pairs of Hazel Grouse nest here while the number of Capercaillie has stabilised around at 2-3,000 pairs.  Spring in Estonia begins in late March when woodpeckers start their drumming and all the swamps and bogs resound with displaying Black Grouses at sunrise. Hazel Grouse can suprise you near the roadsides while driving in forested areas. You can hear the calls of Ural, Pygmy and Tengmal`s Owls as it gets dark,  or observe roding Woodcocks above the trees. In one national park in Estonia more White-backed Woodpeckers may nest than in the whole of Sweden!

Tour itinerary...

 

Period:
Wed 9th Apr - Mon 14th Apr 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

 

 

Ural Owl Capericaillie

 Ural Owl / Mati Kose

Capercaillie / Ingmar Muusikus

 

Itinerary:

Day 1 Arrive in Tallinn, to Haapsalu
Day 2 Variku, Põõsaspea & Matsalu
Day 3 Matsalu, to Middle-Estonia
Day 4 Toosikannu
Day 5 Toosikannu & Mõrdama
Day 6 Departure

Highlights:

Birds: Bittern, White Stork, White-tailed Eagle, Goshawk, Capercaillie, Black Grouse, Hazel Grouse, Eagle Owl, Ural Owl, Tengmalm’s Owl, Pygmy Owl, White-backed Woodpecker, Three-toed Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Nutcracker, Crested Tit, Bearded Tit, Parrot Crosspill  etc.
Mammals:
Red Fox, Raccoon Dog, Wild Boar, Elk, Roe Deer, European Beaver, tracks of  Wolf or Lynx etc.

Client comments:

"Many thanks for all your help in organising the tour. It was a very successful trip and you are a wonderful ambassador for Estonia! We were all very taken by your country and the wonderful wildlife it offers. Our favourite accommodation was at Roosta chalets and the best food was at villa in Parnu. The overall food was outstanding and what I like the most was a mixture of gourmet restaurant food and home made food from local people. I always like when local people can benefit from our visits, so involving them in making our dinners and picnics was a brilliant idea and something I really appreciate a lot, because I would not have been able to organise it myself. The food was varied and the picnics prepared by both locals and the hotels, was of a very high standard. The boat trip was splendid and the idea of having our picnic dinner on a boat was a great idea, enjoyed by us all! Many thanks for the extra touch of providing the famous Tallin liquor. We all loved it and some of us returned home with not one but two bottles of it! Your cake was so good that remained a topic of conversation for some days! Everything went very smoothly and the guide, Margus, was exceptional in his birding skills. We could not ask for a better guide! Also, many thanks for organising the delivery of Brian’s insulin; this was really greatly appreciated. Overall, it was a great success; we are very impressed with Estonia, its friendly people, exceptionally good food, fascinating wildlife and your exceptional organising skills. Many thanks Marika! I did not know what to expect and, in the end, I was pleasantly surprised." B. K.-S. / Estonia in Early Spring

"Yes, back home now unfortunately. I did not want to leave. Peace, quiet, friendly people and above all great birding. Roosta and Hobekala guesthouse were both very confortable and suitable for what i wanted.All in all the trip was a great success and i will certainly be back. Many thanks for setting it up for me, it all went very smoothly." R.G. / Estonia in Early Spring

"Our trip was very good and we all enjoyed it. It was a shame we did see any Owls but no matter. The guides were all very good and tried as hard as possible with both Woodpeckers and Owls but the weather was not great especially in Pärnu. All the guides were very prompt and very helpful nice guys. We saw 2 Steller's Eider at Tallinn very close and also 200 on the island. I know that I and one other on the trip want to come back to Estonia again maybe in late spring/early summer next time. A very beautiful and friendly country! Great food too!”  C.J. / April 2012

"Just to say that we miss Eesti already........thank you for a lovely trip!! So glad that we were able to visit you in the office at Lihula and see where the Centre of Operations is! Our trip was very succesful even if I did miss out on seeing one or two birds properly....I'll just have to return some time in early spring to see Steller's Eiders and big flocks of Whooper and Bewick's Swans, and have plenty of time to carefully stalk the Hazel Grouse and Three-toed Woodpecker, with no time restrictions. We enjoyed Tartu and surrounds, too, but the bays and wetlands in the west were my favourite. We were SO lucky with the weather for the whole trip! Mati is an excellent birder and naturalist and is very aware of conservation needs in his country, which was an inspiration to us all. His knowledge of history and culture added to our enjoyment of the tour. Please give him our very best regards and thanks, and also to Aare our first driver, whom we did not see again. Also say hi to Kaja, who had a difficult time back in Tallinn trying to give everyone a quick tour within a short time.....she has a lovely sense of humour!  We are so glad that we had 2 days in Tallinn before the tour...a great advantage and we just loved the Old Town, steeped in history." / P.M. and P.M. / Spring 2011

''We all greatly enjoyed our birdwatching trip to Estonia. Mati was an excellent guide very knowledgeable and everyone liked him very much. He put a great deal of effort into finding us birds and tried really hard for Owls and Grey-headed Woodpecker which would not show but that’s what happens you can’t guarantee birds will show when you want them and the forest is so huge. We had a bit of bad luck with the cold windy weather but still managed to see lots of good birds. The hotels were all excellent, lovely rooms and very good food. We all especially liked the hotel on Saaremaa which had lovely big rooms and the hotel Promenaadi was in a great position, you could watch Smew and numerous other ducks also White-tailed Eagle from your balcony. The lunches were really the best with warm welcomes in Häädemeeste with a very nice cooked lunch very welcome after the cold morning. Loona Manor gave us another great lunch as did the farm house at Kõmsi wonderful bread and cinnamon rolls and the lunch at Altmõisa House was really good as well. We were beginning to think we were on a food trip, we were fed so well certainly no complaints there.The itinerary was very well thought out and we enjoyed good views of Elk, (2 seen then 3 with a young on another occasion), Red Fox, Red Squirrel, Mountain Hare and Musk Rat. Thank you for organising such a good trip for us.'' E.H. / Spring 2011 /

Estonia in Early Spring
Are you happy?:) . The group after Steller`s Eider watching / Mikko Virta
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
"I wanted to thank you, on behalf of all our group members, for arranging such a marvellous holiday for us. Our accomondation was perfect, the food was delicious (everyone loved the soup at lunchtime) and just the right amount. It was lovely to be able to visit the communities to have our food in their village halls. We had the very best guide Mikko and we will never be able to thank him enough for finding all the birds and animals we wanted to see. There will never be such a lucky group as ours I think to see Steller`s Eider so close! I hope that your groups enjoy their visits as much as we did. We will certainly be encouraging our friends to visit Estonia." P.R. / Spring 2009 Private Group /

"P.S. I have just seen our photo on your website - we are very honoured! And it has reminded me that I have not yet sent you a copy of our group photo, taken on our last day. I realise that it does not show us birding, but it does show how happy we all are after our wonderful holiday, so if it is any use to you for publicity in any way, please use it." P.R.

"Been back from North West Spain for a few days now and thought I should write to say thank you for such a great trip.  It really was very good indeed and Uku did a great job finding all the birds for us.  No doubt he will be cross that we didn't find Ural Owl but we saw pretty much everything else with great views of Steller's Eiders, Pygmy Owl, Nutcracker, all the woodpeckers, thousands of geese, Goshawk, Smew etc etc.  Everyone enjoyed it I think. 
It was also really good to see you, both at your office and especially on the last day with a chance for a chat and a coffee.  Always such a pleasure." R.A. / Spring 2009 Speyside Wildlife /

"Difficult to pick out highlights, but brilliant views of white-backed woodpecker, nutcracker and eventually….Stellers Eider." "The evening out in the forest looking for Ural Owl, which was elusive, was lovely because it was still and the stars were out and we were able to get in some star gazing."  M.B. / Speyside Wildlife 2009/

"A simple list of what we saw last year doesn't do justice to the memories: brilliant views of all seven species of woodpecker in one morning; face to face views of Ural Owl; frame filling views of Nutcracker; Waxwing, Bearded and Penduline Tit just a few feet away; dancing Common Cranes; the tight pack of 300 Steller's Eiders looking great despite being distant; identifying animal tracks left in the snow ... all wonderful memories, I for one won't forget."  R.Atkins / Spring 2008 Speyside Wildlife /

"I enjoyed every minute of this holiday from start to finish. There were so many highlights, from the way the group 'gelled' so quickly, the fun and laughter, to the unusual log cabin accommodation, the excellent guiding and the search for birds and animals (escpecially the variety of footprints in the snow) to the chance to see a new country. Apart from the joy of being able to see so many bird species in such a variety of habitats, the sight of the Ural Owl sitting so low down on the branch of a tree and so close to us has to be near the top of my 'Holiday Highlights' list. But our welfare was not forgotten and we appreciated refreshments being served in a moving 'shoogly' bus on our way from Tallin to our accommodation by an Estonian tourism representative. I liked the idea of having a hot buffet meal in the middle of the day, an opportunity to taste simple and wholesome Estonian food in a variety of surroundings, from a farmhouse to a barn, a museum and a tavern. It also brought us into contact with local people which was good. I also liked the tour of the old city of Tallin, led by a delightful and very knowledgeable guide with an impish sense of humour. The main reason for us being in Estonia was of course the birding and I do not want to forget the success of that fact. But, my Holiday HIghlight has to be the hospitality and friendliness of the Estonian people. It is a thought that will remain with me for a long time to come." J.J. /Speyside Wildlife 2009/

"The sight of a pair of Three-toed Woodpeckers on a dead tree in front of us, drumming away was amazing. We stood in the snow and watched them for ages. Watching the sun rise as we sped along in the bus was incredible. Most of the group were asleep so missed the beauty of it. The ground was misty, so the whole thing was very mystical and magical." M.S. / Speyside Wildlife 2008




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