Welcome to the ENT „Winter 2010“ Newsletter. It is distributed to our professional co-operation partners, bird societies and magazines and also individual clients all over the world. The newsletter will be published four times per year. Its contents will include bird news in Estonia and also substantial events or products in sustainable and birdwatching tourism developed by Estonian Nature Tours.

Who is ENT?
Bird news.
In focus! Steller`s Eider, Hawk Owl and Mr. Snow.
Special offer until 15th March!.
NEW! Mammal Watching.
ENT & Sustainable Tourism.

Travel & more
Nature videos
Birdwatcing in estonia

Who is ENT?

Estonian Nature Tours (ENT) is a ground tour organiser specialized in Birdwatching and Botanical Tours. Our individual and specialised approach to tourism was developed over a number of years of organising local travel services in Matsalu National Park, before broadening our operations in the spring of 2003 to include visits to a wide variety of nature reserves throughout Estonia. Our mission is to introduce the natural heritage preserved by moderate human activity, to encourage ecological thinking and awareness of nature and to improve local tourist services. Also, ENT has been a pioneer in developing nature and bird tourism all over Estonia. In the autumn of 2007, we introduced our new offering, “Estonia in Early Spring”, which has proved very popular among our clients. In spring 2008, our oldest tour, „Estonia in Spring“, was accredited with the brand EHE (Quality System Pure and Interesting Estonia). ENT supports the yearly Young Conservationist Award through independent NGO Estonian Fund for Nature and also Sõrve Bird Station.

Bird news

Bird winter in Estonia

This winter is really cold in Estonia. The coldest night in January has been - 32,5 °C this year. Also snowfall has been incredible. In our capital Tallinn, more than 70 cm snow was mesaured which is a new record for the last 50 years!

Winter in Tolkuse bog
Photo: Tarvo Valker

The hard winter has had a big influence on birds behaviour,for example, people have seen Common Buzzards eating fat which was actually put out for tits and several Great Grey Shrikes have been coming into feeding areas to hunt passerines. Deep Snow and low number of rodents are also forcing many Ural Owls to hunt in daylight.
White-tailed Eagles are now regularly visiting the feeding point in Northwest-Estonia. On some days you can see 4-5 White-tailed Eagles here. The best period to photograph these eagles is February, the days are longer then and the snow is very bright giving extra light. By March the adult birds are already beginning to nest and we can see only a few young individuals at the feeding point.

Click here to see online web camera... or check daily summaries in forum...

White-tailed Eagles
Photo: Mati Kose

Despite the severe winter there have been seen a number of different migrants such as Jack and Common Snipe, Bittern, Penduline Tit, Kestrel, Little Grebe, Chiffchaff and Dunnock all defying the cold.
Read also latest bird news...

Great Spotted Eagles with transmitters

More than half of the winter is over now and it is a good time to speak about the Eagles with satellites in their wintering grounds. Our well-known Great Spotted Eagle called Tõnn, who was satellised two summers ago, is wintering for instance again on El Hondo wetland in Spain. The researchers have mentioned that Tõnn doesn´t move much there, so it is quite clear he has got enough food.
In this summer there was satellised another Great Spotted Eagle close to the Tõnn´s nest. He hasn´t got a name yet. The bird has found a nice wintering ground in the East – in Göksu Delta on the Southern coast of Turkey.
Great Spotted Eagles are a regularly nesting species in Estonia but are a very endangered species and are hardly protected here. In Estonia, there are only 20 pairs nesting and most of them are considered hybrids with Lesser Spotted Eagle.

For more information: Eagle Club website

Garden Birdwatch Winter 2010

From 30th till 31st of January the Garden Birdwatch Winter 2010 took place for the first time, organized by Estonian Ornithological Society and Tallinn Bird Club. It was very popular! We have our first data of over 750 observations from birdlovers and more than 600 different places were counted for garden birdwatch all over the Estonia. Such a huge number of observations gives enough information to make conclusions about our wintering garden birds – about changes in their classification and population size.
The birdlovers observed 26 000 individual birds and 50 species altogether. The most numerous species was expectedly Great Tit, which was seen in 95 % of observation points and comprised a quarter of observed birds . Second place was Greenfinch, despite being scarcer than usual during this winter. Next individuals were House and Tree Sparrow, Hooded Crow, Jackdaw and Bullfinch. Blackbird was also frequently seen with sightings at almost every second observation point. A surprising species was Chaffinch; a species that is not numerous during winter in Estonia – he was seen in 35 observation points. Additional scarcer species included - Starling, Robin, Wren, Collared Dove and Middle Spotted Woodpecker. Predatory birds seen included Sparrowhawk, Goshawk and Common Buzzard. Also there were discovered the bird of the year - Great Grey Shrike in 5 observation point.

In focus! Steller`s Eider, Hawk Owl and Mr. Snow

The most dangered seaduck in Europe, Steller`s Eider, is good reason to visit Estonia even in the winter time. The coast of our biggest island, Saaremaa, is the most important wintering area for Steller`s Eider around the Baltic Sea. Nearly 1,000 Steller`s Eiders were counted there in mid-January. The best time to observe Steller`s Eiders are from January to early April.

Click here and see Tour itinerary...

Steller`s Eider
Photo: Jari Peltomäki

As well as the prize bird - Steller´s Eider - we can see other interesting birds such as Nutcracker, Black Grouse, Black Woodpecker, White-backed Woodpecker, Ural Owl, Rough-legged Buzzard, Great Grey Shrike and Bearded Tit. This winter has seen a big invasion of Hawk Owls. Usually only a few Hawk Owls migrate to Estonia , but this year there have been 8 different individuals found already and they have been at the same place for weeks. Mostly Hawk Owls have been found on Saaremaa and Central-Estonia.
To book a rental car, accommodation or bird guide click here...

There is one more reason to travel quickly to Estonia – this is Mr. Snow. This winter has been very surprising even for us Estonians.Depth of snow in many places are over 60 cm. In our capital Tallinn, more than 70 cm snow was mesaured which is a new record for the last 50 years! The coldest night (on the 24th January) has been -32,5ºC this year. The average temperature of January in Estonia was up to -14,4ºC - it was the one of the lowest temperature for January during last 100 years! (average temperature in January for the last 100 years has been-7,6ºC). February has been also cold and snowfall are excpected to continue.
Click here and see photos...

Special offer until 15th March!
Estonia in Early Spring    
(25th Mar – 30th Mar / 1st Apr – 6th Apr) PRICE: 688 Euro
Estonia in Spring    
(10th Apr – 17th Apr / 24th Apr – 1st May) PRICE: 920 Euro
Estonia in Summer    
(12th Jun – 19th Jun) PRICE: 1080 Euro
Estonia in Autumn    
(18th Sep – 25th Sep / 25th Sep – 2nd Oct) PRICE: 920 Euro

Lady`s Slipper
Photo: Anneli Palo

Midsummer-night meadow
Photo: Arne Ader

Click here to see Matsalu in April...

Estonia is a wonderful place to see wildlife at any time of year with fantastic birdwatching including Steller’s Eiders, Ural Owl, Pygmy Owl, Great Snipe, Nutcracker, Citrine Wagtail, Lesser Spotted Eagle, 8 species of Woodpeckers, sea ducks, Hazel Grouse and massive numbers of birds on migration. Butterflies and flowers are equally exciting and the country is renowned for its large number of mammals - over 150 Wolves, 500-600 Brown Bears and almost 20 000 Beavers plus flying squirrels and an incredible 700-800 Lynx, one of the strongest populations in Europe!

For further information on any of these trips and others we have on offer, plus booking details and terms and conditions please visit www.naturetours.ee and choose Tour Calendar from the left menu. Or you can phone or e-mail us for detailed itineraries... tel +372 5349 6695 / e-mail: info@naturetours.ee

NEW! Mammal Watching

Period: May-June
Group size: 4/6 pax
PRICE: 1495 Euro

An 8-day fully-inclusive holiday amongst unique, untouched nature with winding rivers, vast floodplains, mires, bogs and primeval forests, where we will search for mammals including Racoon Dog, Red Fox, European Beaver, Wild Boar, Elk, Roe Deer, Flying Squirrel and Brown Bears and enjoy birdwatching as well. You have a slim chance of seeing one of the more elusive residents such as Wolf and Lynx! Even if you don´t see these animals, you will have plenty of fun deciphering the many mammal tracks we find along the way!

Click here and see Tour itinerary...

Photo: Sven Zacek

ENT and sustainable tourism

FAM trip for journalists and sales agents

Estonian Nature Tours invites you to our 8-day Promotional tour Mammal Watching in Estonia on 24th Apr – 1st May 2010. The tour is an Estonia round trip for journalists interested in the fields of mammals, bird watching and wildlife, also for sales agents interested in future co-operation with us.
The main aim of the tour is to introduce to the world with the help of motivated journalists and future partners our wonderful network of unspoilt wetland habitats and the birding opportunities our unique wildlife offer, but also to promote Estonian Nature Conservation and the principles of sustainable tourism. The number of places are limeted. Please phone or e-mail us for detailed itineraries... tel +372 5349 6695 / e-mail: info@naturetours.ee.

Photo: Valeri Štšerbatõh

Racoon Dogs
Photo: Valeri Štšerbatõh

Bird- and nature guide training

NPO Terra Maritima is co-operating with the chairman Tarvo Valker of Läänemaa Bird Club and organizing training for bird and nature guides. This is meant for people who know birds and plants well, but don´t have any experience in leading a nature trip. The lecturers are the best specialists in Estonia ( professors of universities, bird protectors and very experienced guides). During the training you can study different species and habitats of Estonia and also find out about situation for the same species in Europe. This should improve the ability of nature guides to show wildlife and habitats to their clients in the future. Also there will be a short lecture about customer service and ethics in nature protection.
Beginner nature guides can practise their knowledge next to the tour leader during the trips for Estonian Nature Tours.

Wildlife Estonia brochure

Estonian Nature Tours is composing and designing a Wildlife Estonia brochure. The brochure gives a good overview about the species and habitats of Estonia which are most interesting for Europeans. The new editions are to be distributed in different bird and nature fairs all over Europe. The edition will be printed by sponsor NPO Läänemaa Tourism.


For friendly, experts advice, excellent customer care and 'accommodation only' call +372 477 8214,
+372 5349 6695 or contact us online.

Tel. +372 477 8214, +372 5349 6695
E-mail: info@naturetours.ee

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