Welcome to the ENT „Winter 2011“ 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.


The Estonian Nature Tours team would like to thank all of our followers and we look forward to spending more time with you in the future!

Bird news.
IN FOCUS! Steller´s Eider Watching tour.
Tour calendar 2011.
NEW! Flying Squirrel Study trips.
Why ENT?
ENT & Sustainable Tourism.

Travel & more
Nature videos
Birdwatcing in estonia

Bird news

Bird autumn 2010

This bird autumn started with one of the best Red-footed Falcon invasions which has ever taken place in Estonia. Nearly 100 Red-footed Falcons were found during several weeks. In some years only a few occur in the Estonia, while during invasion years flocks of tens of birds can be found. The most spectacular bird show in the autumn is undoubtedly the flocks of Cranes. Estonia lies in a strategic point for Crane migration where, beside strong local breeding population, most of the Finnish birds also make stopover. During September, in our most famous bird area Matsalu National Park, we often had evenings when more than ten thousand Cranes flew to roost sites there. Several late migrants have been spotted in October and November including juvenile Red-backed Shrike on 25th October, Greenshank on 2nd November and Black-tailed Godwit on 17th November. Although it wasn`t a very exciting bird autumn for our twitchers, still several rare vagrants were found. The highlights among them were Desert Wheatear (6th for the country), Dusky Warbler, several Yellow-browed and Pallas`s Leaf Warblers and Red Phalarope.

Yellow-browed Warbler
Photo: Uku Paal

The first Hawk Owls for this winter have been encountered in Estonia with 2 different individuals found by local birders in November. Hawk Owls are uncommon but regular winter visitors in Estonia. Last winter we had 8 different Hawk Owls and several of them were twitchable. After a few weeks Steller`s Eiders arrive at their wintering grounds near Saaremaa island. It is thought that the number of rodents at the moment is quite high so there will be plenty of food for Ural and Tengmal`s Owls and we excpect to have a good breeding season.

Read also Latest bird news and visit Estbirding (Club of Estonian Twitchers) website.

Birdwatch 2010

Europe wide Birdwatch is a popular event. Every year on the first weekend of October tens of thousands of people go out birding. This year 34 different European countries participated in this birdwatching event and Estonia was one of them. Our local Birdlife partner, Estonian Ornithological Society, received more than 100 filled in data forms by nearly 300 birdwatchers. During those two days, in Estonia, 310 000 birds of 170 different species were counted. The number of recorded species was one of the highest ever! It seemed to be an especially good migration time for Geese – 60% of all birds were either from the Branta or Anser families. The most numerous migrants were Barnacle Geese (more than 126 000 ind.) followed by Greater White-fronted Geese (12 600), Bean Geese (12 450) and Brent Geese (11 600). Beside Geese, the most numerous bird was Chaffinch with nearly 25 000 individuals. The most frequently spotted birds were however Great Tit, Hooded Crow, Eurasian Jay, Black-billed Magpie, Blackbird and Great Spotted Woodpecker. The most interesting sightings from Birdwatch weekend were Yellow-browed and Pallas's Leaf Warblers, Yellow-billed Diver, Red-breasted Goose and Two-barred Crossbill.

Barnacle Geese
Photo: Tarvo Valker

Transmitted Eagles and Black Storks on the move

Most of our Black Storks started their autumn migration already in mid-Summer and are now in Africa. In late November, birds were almost on the same, nearly 2000 km long line in the Southern Sahara. At the end of the rainy period the lakes and rivers there are filled with water and of course with fish.

Black Stork
Photo: Sven Zacek

Our Great Spotted Eagle Tõnn, sattelite tagged in 2008, is already searching possible breeding sites because he will probably start to create a family after a year or two. After wintering in Spain near El Hondo wetland, he started his journey back to his home area. But not for long, Tõnn spent most of his summer in Scandinavia – after circling around Finland and Sweden he even went into Norway. For wintering, Tõnn returned to the same spot in Spain. Read more...

IN FOCUS! Steller´s Eider Watching tour

A 4-day holiday in search flocks of Steller´s Eider in their wintering grounds and other wintering specialities of West-Estonia.

Thu17Mar –Sun20Mar 2011
Price: 495 Euro pp

There are still places available!



Birds: Steller´s Eider, Purple Sandpiper, White-tailed Eagle, Goshawk, Black Grouse, Hazel Grouse, Hawk Owl, Eagle Owl, Ural Owl, Tengmalm’s Owl, Pygmy Owl, Rough-legged Buzzard, White-backed Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Nutcracker, Great Grey Shrike, Crested Tit, Bearded Tit, Waxwing, Snow Bunting, Parrot Crosspill etc.

Mammals: Grey Seal & Wild Boar (probably), Red Fox, Racoon Dog, Elk, Roe deer, tracks of Wolf, Lynx or Brown Bear (probably) etc.

Steller`s Eider
Photo: Jari Peltomäi

The coast of our biggest island, Saaremaa, is the most important wintering area for Steller`s Eider around the Baltic Sea. These eye-catching birds arrive in December and leave around the beginning of April. The best time to observe Steller`s Eider is January and February when congregations may reach 1000 birds or even more. Read more...

Great Grey Shrike
Photo: Valeri Shtsherbatõh

Ural Owl
Photo: Arne Ader


Tour calendar 2011

„Estonia has the potential to become one of the best, if not the best destinations in Europe to see large mammals,“ Jonathan Hall, the Top mammal watcher in the world, have said after the visiting Estonia in May 2010.


Estonia in Autumn Tour report ...

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, dragonflies 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!

Chestnut Heath
Photo: Arne Ader

Ruby Whiteface
Photo: Arne Ader

Raccoon Dogs
Photo: Valeri Shtsherbatõh

For ENT, this season has been busy and successful. During our Early Spring tours we had brilliant views of Steller`s Eiders some real "highlight Woodpeckers", like Grey-headed, White-backed and Black Woodpecker. Eight-day birding tours in late May and early June ended mostly with 170-180 bird species, sometimes even more. Read more...

A male White-backed Woodpecker
Photo: Sven Zacek

We have had more requests than ever before from individual travellers and have the expertise to discuss their requirements and arrange suitable accommodation, local guide(s) and a rental car for a Tailor-made itinerary. Most popular have been our Beaver Photography, Flying Squirrel Study trip and the Brown Bear Photography.

Photo: Sven Zacek


NEW! Flying Squirrel Study trips

Upcoming trips 2011: 18th June, 9th July, 30th

Group size: max 8
Period: May – July (upcoming trips will be offered only on fixed dates!)
Location: Alutaguse region, North-East Estonia (from Tallinn ca 200 km)

Flying Squirrel
Photo: Rainar Kurbel

We are delighted to present a totally new opportunity in Estonia from the year 2011 – the Flying Squirrel Study trips lead by top specialist of small mammals in Estonia, Uudo Timm. The Flying Squirrel is a bit smaller than the ordinary squirrel and a pride of Estonian forests – in Europe they can only be found in Estonia and Finland. Due to its hidden lifestyle and rarity, you have to know that upcoming trips will be offered only on several fixed dates. Read more...

Flying Squirrel video...

Read the article in BBC Wildlife magazine...


Why Estonian Nature Tours?

Estonian Nature Tours has been a pioneer in developing nature and bird tourism all over Estonia. We have long term experience in organising botanical and bird watching tours and the feedback from our clients has always been good to excellent. Every year we develope one or two new tour packages.

ENT supports the yearly Young Conservationist Award and Flying Squirrel through independent NGO Estonian Fund for Nature, also Sõrve Bird Station and bird conservation charities through Birdlife International.

Our results and media about us...

Join the ENT group on Twitter and Facebook, to see the best travel offers and discuss the wonderful wildlife in Estonia!


ENT and sustainable tourism

Birdfair 2010 and Falsterbo Bird Show

Estonian Nature Tours (ENT) had exhibition stands in two international bird-watching fairs in August and September.

For the third year, the company was represented at the British Birdfair. Estonia's early spring and spring bird-watching trips are gaining more and more interest. The spotlight is currently on the new package of ENT - Mammal Watching in Estonia. BBC Wildlife released an article in September about tracking mammals in Estonia, which helped this small country become more visible in Europe. Several of our partners have shown interest in Mammal Watching in Estonia and they want to continue selling our trips with a start date in 2011 or 2012.

Our second fair was also succcesful as we featured at the Falsterbo Bird Show, which took place for the first time this year. ENT was able to network at the fair as well. We found new contacts to collaborate with for future endeavours and we look forward to those partnerships. It is difficult to assess the results of the event, because we are still learning about the Swedish market, but it was an excellent start for this experience.

ENT stand in Falsterbo
Photo: Tarvo Valker

View of the audience at Danish-Swedish birdwatching competition
Photo: Tarvo Valker

The ENT team would like to thank all our visitors at the Rutland Bird Fair and Falsterbo Bird Show, we look forward to seeing you again in 2011!

Birdfair.tv. Meet Estonian Nature Tours here... 

European Bird and Nature magazines in Estonia!

Estonian Nature Tours (ENT) and NGO Läänemaa Tourism were joined by travel agency representatives and leading European bird and nature magazine journalists for an invitational visit to Estonia. Participants of the tour were pleasantly surprised of the well kept and quality hiking trails, walking paths, bird observation towers and accomodation establishments. Estonian cooking was highly praised along with the professionalism of the bird guide and planning service. Descriptions of this positive tour experience will be appearing in different magazines in the coming months. Estonia as an attrative bird and nature tourism country will be showcased to over a million nature enthusiast around Europe.

Read comments and see the gallery...


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+372 5349 6695 or contact us online.

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E-mail: info@naturetours.ee

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