Estonia – The Next Big Thing In Eco-tourism?
Largely unexploited Estonia offers huge opportunities for nature tourism devotees, it has been claimed. Can this Eastern European country become an environmental Mecca for travel?
In particular, the country is a great place for birdwatchers, says Tim Appleton, chief organizer of the world’s largest eco-tourism trade fair, British Birdfair. His comments were reported by the BBN news portal. Read more...
Männikjärve bog in Endla Nature Reserve
Photo: Sven Zacek
Bird autumn 2010
Pretty soon the latest migrators leave Estonia, but the bird-watching season is not over yet. This year Snowy Owl and Northern Hawk Owl have had a very successful breeding season in northern regions. Therefore several birdwatchers hope to see these rare wintering species here more than usual.
During the last few weeks – 3 different Hawk Owls have already been encountered in West-Estonia.
Photo: Remo Savisaar
In autumn 2011 several bird rarities have been found in Estonia. The most thrilling find is without doubt the Sandhill Crane which has been observed in very few European countries. This North-American species stopped several days in the vicinity of our capital Tallinn, and many twitchers even from outside Estonia came to see it. There have been more accidental visitors this autumn in Estonia, like Dotterel, a few Snow and Red-breasted Geese, Great and Long-tailed Skua, Little Bunting and several Yellow-browed Warblers. Read more...
Autumn tours 2011
During the one-week birdwatching tours this autumn more than 130 bird species were encountered. The most exciting bird species encountered this autumn on the birdwatching tours were Lesser Spotted Eagle, Black Grouse, Grey-headed and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Red-backed and Great Grey Shrike and Nutcracker. Read more...
“Thanks very much for another (3rd) superb holiday. As ever, we were delighted with all that we saw and heard. Nothing beats the sight and sound of thousands of Cranes coming in to roost on an autumn evening! Thanks especially to Mati for his expertise and good humour and for ensuring that we missed nothing. Our accommodation was just right and it was lovely to meet up, once again, with all the ladies who provided such delicious lunches for us in their villages. Hope it won't be too long before we're back again. We still have to see all those wonderful spring and summer flowers."
P.R. and R.R. / Sept 2011
Following the masses of Cranes flying in on a golden evening is an unforgettable experience.
Photo: Remo Savisaar
Crane Monitoring Results in Matsalu - Autumn 2011
On the evening of September 21st, from half past five till full darkness Estonian conservationists and birdwatchers were busy counting Cranes on the both shores of Matsalu Bay. The number of cranes in the surrounds of Matsalu Bay exceeded 15 000, which is well above average. The counting day happened to be at the most favourable time – lots of birds had just arrived from Finland and most of them left after a couple of days. According to data from the Environmental Board the peak number of cranes occurred here in 2006, when 23 000 birds were counted in Matsalu area and 55 000 as the total in Estonia. Presumably it was an extraordinary year for migrating birds and the count must have coincided with the peak number of birds. Read more...
Read about one lovely weekend with children and birds...
Annual international autumn birdwatching days ‘Birdwatch 2011’ were taking place this year from 1 to 2 October. Thirty seven countries from Europe and Middle Asia were participating in this event. In Estonia the event was coordinated by Estonian Ornithological Society – local cooperation partner of Birdlife International. Read more...
It is possible now to observe the migration route of two young cranes as well as our usual eagles and black storks. Read more...
IN FOCUS! Wildlife Photography 2012
White-tailed Eagle Photography, Wild Boar Photography and Beaver Photography and many other opportunities for a next early spring in Estonia – don´t miss them! For futher information on any of wildlife photography holidays Estonian Nature Tours have on offer, plus booking details, terms and conditions please click here...
Or you can phone or email for tailor-made holidays and `accommodation plus rental car only` : tel +372 5349 6695 / e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Be also ready for joining in a fantastic 9-day Wildlife Photography tour lead by top photographers Neil Aldridge and Remo Savisaar in May/June 2012.
Photographer Neil Aldridge visited Estonia...
Estonian forests are renowned in Europe for their rare mammals with 700-800 Lynx, over 150 Wolves, 500-600 Brown Bears and almost 20 000 Beavers - quite astonishing for such a small country. And the Flying Squirrel is the pride of Estonian forests – in Europe they can only be found in Estonia and Finland.
Photo: Sven Zacek
Win a dream wildlife photography holiday in Estonia!
Two amazing lots are available for lucky persons who will follow us on Facebook:
Lot 1 Brown Bear tracking and watching. Price 120 €
Lot 2 White-tailed Eagle photography. Price 75 €
It is easy indeed. Follow two simple steps and you may be a winner:
1. Go to our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/EstonianNature
2. Click on “like”
See photos of the hide here...
See the video taken at White-tailed Eagle hide here...
See the Brown Bear video here...
Tour calendar 2012
With pleasure, we are continiously offering individual bookings on our fully-inclusive holidays.
Steller´s Eider Watching tour
Thu 15th Mar - Sun 18th Mar
Estonia in Early Spring
Fri 6th Apr - Wed 11th Apr
Estonia in Spring
Fri 11th May - Fri 18th May
Mammal Watching tour
Sat 5th May - Sat 12th May
Sat 19th May - Sat 26th May
Estonia in Autumn
Fri 7th Sep - Fri 14th Sep
There are many other amazing holidays you can´t afford to miss... As interest in ENT birding and other wildlife tours is increasing all the time, there are limited tours so plan your dates and book your holiday now. See the selection of wildlife tours and study trips available for the year 2012 by clicking here...
Photo: Valeri Shtsherbatõh
Estonia is a land of great natural beauty. With its Siberian-like forests, Scandinavian peat-bogs, watermeadows full of geese and waders, and a fascinating coastline, together with a low human population, empty roads and excellent infrastructure, Estonia has rapidly become a favourite wildlife destination in Europe. 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!
Photo: Arne Ader
HOW TO BOOK...
One Week in Estonian Wildlife...
NEW! Butterfly & Dragonfly holidays
To see video WINGS OVER ESTONIA made during the Promotional tour 2011, click here...
Pallas´ Fritillary (Argynnis laodice)
Photo: Urmas Tartes
We are delighted to present a totally new opportunity in Estonia for the year 2012 – Butterfly & Dragonfly Holiday! Follow the news and advertising on our website, Facebook and ask for information from Naturetrek, as well as from The European Interests Group of Butterfly Conservation. The years, Estonia has been a magnet for birdwatchers from Europe and beyond. Now this Baltic State is also becoming a mecca for butterfly and dragonfly enthusiasts eager to see the country´s speciality species. Follow the news and advertising on our website and Facebook or ask for an information from Naturetrek, as well as from The European Interests Group of Butterfly Conservation.
Read about Butterflies & Dragonflies Promotional tour in Estonia here...
Green Snaketail (Ophiogomphus cecilia)
Photo: Urmas Tartes
Despite its small size and northern position Estonia is a wonderful place to see butterflies and dragonflies. Because of its history, large parts of the country have remained completely wild, while farming methods in many areas are unintensive resulting in a mosaic of excellent habitats such as numerous flowery meadows, natural forests and massive bog areas. As a result we have many insect species which are rare elsewhere in Europe, such as Clouded Apollo (Parnassius mnemosyne), Moorland Clouded Yellow (Colias palaeno), Large Copper (Lucaena dispar), Siberian Winter Damsel (Sympecma paedisca) and Lilypad Whiteface (Leucorrhinia caudalis).
Promotional tour team
Photo: Peeter Vissak
BOOK NOW! Sheduled trips 2012
For individual travellers, we can now offer individual bookings on our scheduled nature study and wildlife photography trips 2012. If you are keen to see something specific such as Flying Squirrels, Beavers or Brown Bears then let us know – but we can only make visits to the sites where we see these animals at intervals, when local specialist guides are available and also to reduce disturbance, so your tailor-made trip would still need to fit around these scheduled visits. These dates may fill so try to plan your dates, put together your group and book your dream holiday as soon as possible! We also have the expertise to discuss your requirements and arrange suitable accommodation and a rental car for your itinerary.
Brown Bear Tracking and Watching
May: 5.-6.05 / 12.-13.05 / 19.-20.05 / 26.-27.05
June: 2.-3.06 / 9.-10.06 / 16.-17.06
Join us on this nature tour where we'll investigate the life, behaviour and habitats of the Brown Bear. Last season we great success in seeing these spectacular predators, but other animals often appeared as well. We're guaranteed to easily find claw marks, slots and droppings, tracks and marks from a variety of animals as we drive and walk, assisted by our experienced tracking guide. In the evening we'll head for the bear’s feeding area and set up for the night in the hide, which offers comfortable viewing with 8 seats, bunks, and a dry toilet. Read more...
Beaver Photography 5.05 / 19.05 / 9.06 / 7.07
With an early start - two hours before first light (in April-May at 3.30am!) you will leave the Beavers a few hours after sunrise and transfer back to the hotel (guesthouse) for a good rest in the late morning and afternoon. In the evening (2 hours before sunset), you will take a boat ride through Emajõgi river to listen to the night sounds of the wetlands. Dusk is the time that Beavers leave their lodges to spend an industrious night felling riverside trees and saplings. A little quiet patience is required here, but with luck you are likely to see several individuals going about their nightly construction work and swimming about. Read more...
Photo: Sven Zacek
Flying Squirrel Study Trip 17.06 / 8.07 / 29.07
In the early afternoon, we will reach the species-rich Western Taiga forest environment and enjoy the Flying Squirrel tracking for several hours. In the late evening, after our evening meal at a local village house, we will go for a Flying Squirrel night session. The chance to see Flying Squirrel is very high (90 – 95%), but may vary from year to year (depending on the research results). Read more...
A Day Trip in Matsalu National Park
Period: May – September
Every Saturday 10:00 – 18:00
A boat trip in Matsalu National Park
Photo: Private Collection
MATSALU TICKET is a unique environmentally friendly opportunity to experience the beauty of the Matsalu nature with professional guiding, exploring, observing and feeling as being part of one of the most beautiful and best preserved Estonian ecosystems. Picnic lunches in local farms are the pearls of the trip. Read more...
See photos here...
For three or more bookings to all of sheduled trips, please ask for a discount. The additional discount doesn't apply for special price tours.
“There is a lot of talk about developing sustainable tourism entrepreneurs. But we have to teach customers as well how to use sustainable tourism. If we want to have everything for free, we are not sustainable anymore. It is nice to contribute to and support the local communities. It shows appreciation. Cheap is not always best for those whose home you visit. With no income people cannot live here and then everyone is forced to move to the city, which would be a tragedy. Therefore I encourage everyone to use local services..." / Marika Mann (executive manager of ENT, Lusaka-May 2011)
Lunch at local farm
Photo: Kristi Kevvai
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 other wildlife holidays and the feedback from our clients has always been good to excellent. Every year we develope one or two new tour packages. Read more...
ENT & Sustainable Tourism
British Birdfair 2011
The world’s largest birdwatching fair, British Birdfair, was raising funds this year to protect the African-Eurasian flyway. The constantly expanding Sahara Desert and deterioration of habitats in wintering areas is causing problems for many bird species that breed in Europe and winter in Africa. Many common species such as Barn Swallow, Wood Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher and others are rapidly dedlining, a trend that is happening in Estonia’s breeding birds as well. To support the Birdfair's important conservation project Estonian Nature Tours put up a 6-day birding tour ‘Estonia in Early Spring’ to a charity auction. Bidding on the day took the price to £455, which will be donated in full to one of the most renowned bird conservation organizations - Birdlife International. Our congratulations to L. Lowdnes, the winner of our birding tour in the auction!
Birdfair’s auction raised over £17,000 which is a Birdfair record! The money raised goes directly to the project Birdfair is supporting - Birdlife International’s Flyways Project. For the first time Estonian Nature Tours put up a 6-day birding tour ‘Estonia in Early Spring’ to a charity auction. Bidding on the day took the price to £455, which will be donated in full to one of the most renowned bird conservation organizations - Birdlife International. Read more from our blog...
For the first time Estonian Nature Tours offered a possibility to win a dream wildlife holiday to Estonia in British Birdfair 2011 and on our webpage as well. Congratulations for everyone who won! Read more...
Estonian Nature Tours team also visited Norfolk area for short birding. Our main destination was Titchwell Marshes where we encountered nice flocks of waders - including Black-tailed Godwits, Dunlins, Avocets, Ruffs and many other wetland birds. Read more...
The project MATSALU TICKET was launched unexpectedly well
During this season (from June till September) 226 nature lovers visited Matsalu. Among the groups there were visitors from foreign countries as well, including Finland, Holland, Belgium, Turkey, Moldova, France, Germany and more.
The Matsalu Ticket is a very new and environmentally friendly brand meant for anyone who wants to travel sustainably and knows how to respect nature as well as local people. The project teaches about wildlife and coordinates visits to the Matsalu National Park helping to avoid excess disturbance of both animal and plant species, as well as the local population. Bus tours and canoe trips are lead by local Estonian and English speaking guides.
The Matsalu Ticket is benefiting several companies including about 20 different service suppliers – tour guides, transportation companies, boatmen, tourist farms, caterers, museums, nature centres, and many local craftsmen. Read more from our blog...
See you in Matsalu!
Marketing project 2008-2011
Estonian Nature Tours was allocated a grant for marketing by the Enterprise Estonia in August 2008. The marketing project (2008-2011) totals was about 82,600 €. The result of the marketing project during three years has been a huge increase in visitors to our website. There is also more and more interest being shown in Estonia by foreign naturalists and birdwatchers. At the moment, we have 18 agents in all over the world who sell out our tours to their clients. The company's turnover has doubled over the past year. Within three years we have developed web and created client database, compiled and distributed newsletters 4-5 times in a year, bought advertisements to target destination birdwatching and nature magazines (in all 55 times). We have organized three Promotional tours to European tour agencies and journalists and attended biggest bird and ecotourism fair in the world, British Birdfair as an exponent during 2008-2011.
With ENT you are visiting the certified best of Europe’s wilderness
Estonian Nature Tours (ENT) as a local partner of PAN PARKS ensures that you are visiting the best of Europe’s wilderness. Since May 2011 Estonian Nature Tours cooperates with the PAN Parks Foundation, the European wilderness protection organization. ENT is developing tours to Soomaa – so far the only certified PAN Parks area in Estonia - or in the regions around the park. These tours provide an opportunity to discover Europe’s wilderness in a way which fully respects the natural environment and supports local businesses. Read more from our blog...
Ryanair Magazine will soon issue an 8-page feature about Estonia
In the middle of September several European top journalists visited West-Estonia (Läänemaa County). The promotional tour was organized and managed by Estonian Nature Tours and it was partially financed by the Environmental Board (Matsalu National Park) and partially by EU. The main aim of the tour was to introduce to the whole world, with the help of motivated journalists, our wonderful network of unspoiled wetland habitats, different birding and mammal watching opportunities, our unique wildlife and to promote Estonia’s rich history and the options of sustainable tourism. Read more from our blog...