Welcome to the Estonian Nature Tours Winter 2013 Newsletter. It is distributed to our professional co-operation partners, bird societies and magazines and also individual clients all over the world. The newsletter concentrates on marketing of new products in sustainable and birdwatching tourism developed by Estonian Nature Tours.

For the latest news, amazing photos and best travel offers:


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 Break.
NEW! Eagles and more – a taste of an Estonian Winter.
NEW! Estonia – A Shelter for Western Taiga Forest Birds.
Butterfly holidays 2013.
How to be the lucky one?
Why Estonia? Why Estonian Nature Tours?
ENT & Sustainable Tourism.
Travel & more
Nature videos
Birdwatching in Estonia

Bird & Mammal News

Bird Autumn 2012

This bird autumn has offered excitment with remarkable numbers of birds on visible migration. In mid-September during one day the birdwatchers of Sõrve bird-station counted almost 200,000 Chaffinches!

At Mehikoorma, on the shoreline of Lake Peipsi, between 15 September and 1 October more than 3 million passerines were counted (mostly finches), including over 600,000 in a single day. On 21st September a new migration top count for the whole of Europe was recorded – 193 migrating Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers were counted in 5 hours at Puise Peninsula! In Southwest-Estonia, on Kihnu Island 950 Sparrowhawks, 16 000 Wood Pigeons and 10 000 Cranes were counted in a day (plus 14 000 Cranes in a day in Northwest-Estonia). Although the majority of the cranes, who had gathered here for a stop-over, were leaving in late September, still 6300 migrating cranes were counted in Kabli on 6th October during one day, which is the top record crane number during the 40 years of the station's activity.

Common Crane
Photo: Remo Savisaar

Autumn has been exciting also for the local twitchers. On 25rd September a, rare in Estonia, Firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus) was found in the net together with Goldcrests. This species has been ringed here only twice, the last time in 1974 – thirty eight years ago. Estonia’s second vagrant Long-billed Dowitcher was at Pärnu county also in September. A Red-flanked Bluetail has been ringed at Sõrve bird station – the 5th record for the species in Estonia and already second sighting for the current year. Autumn has also seen a nice invasion of Yellow-browed Warblers - this rarity from Siberia has been found six times during this season.

Yellow-browed Warbler
Photo: Uku Paal

In the West Estonian Archipelago, more precisely in Pitkänä, the Southernmost top of the Kihnu Island, a Naumann's Thrush (Turdus naumanni) caused great excitement for several days in late November. This Siberian species has never been spotted in Estonia before. This sighting grabbed attention elsewhere in Europe. The Naumann's Thrush is the 385th bird species for Estonia.

Extremely rare vagrant - Fox Sparrow was spotted in Estonia!
More than a week ago, an extremely rare vagrant Fox Sparrow was encountered in Estonia, just one hour drive from our capital, Tallinn. So far, nearly 100 twitchers from Estonia, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, UK and Belgium have been fortunate enough to see this sensation with their own eyes. 
To see a video clip about emotions of one of the top Western-Palearctic species twitchers, Bosse Carlsson from Sweden,
click here... 
Scroll down and click to the video, wait about 30 seconds, after a Vodka advert :)

Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)
Source: Wikipedia

The normal distribution range of the Fox Sparrow is in North-America, while in Europe there have only been 2 previous confirmed records of this extremely rare vagrant. The last time this bird was recorded in Europe was 51 years ago! Obviously nobody knows how long the bird will stay in one place.
The Fox Sparrow became the 386th bird species recorded in Estonia. Read more...

Migration Map News
Since 2005 the Estonian Ornithological Society and the Eagle Club have placed satellite and GPS receivers on birds. Receivers are placed on the birds primarily for the purpose of researching the species and organising protection. All of these birds have also been named. This year, the Migration Map autumn season started in mid July. Migration map has upgraded, though the changes are not obvious - there are added new players, Opreys of ESTLAT project and a completely new species – White-tailed Eagle. Read more...

Brown Bears and White-tailed Eagles – up close and personal!
The bears in Alutaguse lost their mind this Autumn – the hurly-burly was available via the internet camera almost on a nightly basis from late September until to the end of October. They were roaring around in pairs and with the whole family! Sometimes they were really anxious and showed up in the daylight. On the very best nights one could seen from 7 to 9 bears from the hide. In Estonia, the abundance of bears has been increasing during the latest decade little by little. As a consequence they have recently moved from the middle of Estonia towards the west. While there were no bear litters in the Lääne (West) County six years ago, the latest count showed four females with cubs. Leaving the female bears be un-hunted has helped to increase their distribution area. The action plan of protection and containment of large carnivores for 2012-2021 is aiming at holding the number of bears at the level of 60 litters with cubs and 600 specimen as a minimum. Additionally it has been planned to carry on hunting to preserve their fearfulness of people and to minimize bear damage. Read more...

Brown Bear
Photo: Luke Massey

In Southeast-Estonia, a group of nature lovers decided to set up a White-tailed Eagle feeding station 5 years ago, since then it has become a regular haunt of the local breeding birds and their offspring generating a brilliant natural arena to watch and photograph these birds up close. This year, for the first time, eagle feeding started in mid-August. The result has been amazing! In September it was common for 5-7 individual birds to visit the feeding site, which is unexpectedly early for them. The same location was regularly visited by a wolf. Day or night – it doesn't matter. Unbelievably dramatic.

White-tailed Eagles
Photo: Luke Massey

In winter, the hide is usually visited by 2-4 eagles daily. Sometimes Golden Eagles and Buzzards are also in attendance, along with red foxes, raccoon dogs and even wolves! Photographing the eagles in winter provides the opportunity to photograph them with snow on the ground and if you’re really lucky falling snow. Read more...

IN FOCUS! Steller´s Eider Break

Few places in Europe can match Estonia's amazing birdlife, at almost any time of year. The most important wintering area for Steller’s Eider, Europe’s most endangered seaduck,  is off the coast of our biggest island, Saaremaa. These eye-catching birds arrive in December and leave around the beginning of April. Come in January and February when congregations may reach 1000 birds or more. This is also a great time for Hawk Owls, an uncommon but regular winter visitor in Estonia.
Stop thinking about it – come to ESTONIA!

Steller´s Eider
Photo: Jari Peltomäki

An 4-day fully-inclusive holiday in search flocks of Steller´s Eider and other wintering specialities of West-Estonia.
Price: 495 € pp.
Group size: max 6 pax
The trip runs from the Thu 21st March – Sun 24th March 2013.

NB! Only 3 places available.
Programme can be viewed when clicking here...


Hawk Owl
Photo: Remo Savisaar

For birdwatchers who can make a quick decision and are keen to see something specific such as Steller´s Eider, Hazel Grouse, Ural, Pygmy and Hawk Owl, Three-toed and White-backed Woodpecker, we now have 3-day bargain tours. Invite a friend, or even a few, contact us, book a suitable period, and start packing! For a group size of  2-6 people, price includes local transportation, guide, two dinners and two nights in hotel/guesthouse with private facilities and breakfasts.

From 395 € pp. The offer is valid from September 2012 – October 2013. 
For futher information on any of bargain birdwatching trips we have on offer, plus booking details, terms and conditions
please phone or e-mail us:

Tel:  +372 5349 6695 / E-mail: info@naturetours.ee

NEW! Eagles and more – a taste of an Estonian Winter

Estonia is an up and coming destination for wildlife photography. Boasting fantastic species such as European Lynx and Wolves, White-tailed Eagles, Wild Boar and Elk. All of which you may get the chance to photograph if you visit this winter. Read more...

A 5-day holiday focusing on photographing eagles in the snow as well as other Estonian wildlife in Winter.
Price: 995 € pp.
Group size: 2 pax
Programme can be viewed when clicking here...

The trips run from the:
Sun 3rd March – Thu 7th March     BOOK HERE...
Thu 7th March – Mon 11th March   BOOK HERE...
Mon 11th March – Fri 15th March   BOOK HERE...

White-tailed Eagle (taken from the hide)
Photo: Remo Savisaar

If you want to join Luke Massey  photographing White-tailed Eagles in the snow as well as other Estonian wildlife next March, we have on offer now an exciting holiday. This trip is for keen wildlife photographers, since you will spend two full days in the eagle hide.

See video that has been filmed in the Eagle hide...    

Estonian Eagles by Luke Massey...

For futher information on White-tailed Eagle Photography trips we have on offer, plus booking details, terms and conditions please phone or e-mail us: Tel:  +372 5349 6695 / E-mail: info@naturetours.ee

NEW! Estonia – A Shelter for Western Taiga Forest Birds

Estonian Nature Tours has 10 years experience in organising outstanding wildlife holidays in Estonia and the feedback from our clients has always been excellent. Every year we develope one or two new tour packages. For birdwatchers who are keen to see owls, woodpeckers, grouse and other forest specialities of Estonia, we now offer totally new 6-day fully-inclusive holiday!

Price: 860 € pp.
Group size: max 10 pax

The trip runs from the Tue 9th April – Sun 14th April. 8 places still available.
Programme can be viewed when clicking here...


Pygmy Owl
Photo: Remo Savisaar

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! Read more...

White-backed Woodpecker
Photo: Margus Kriisa

Elk & Wild Boar safari
Photo: Leo Kass

Butterfly holidays 2013

The first two butterfly tours in Estonia organised by Estonian Nature Tours for UK butterfly enthusiasts took place in early June and July this year and proved a great success. Both group leaders plan to revisit Estonia in 2013 with more butterfly lovers. Read more...

One of the tours is already fully booked, another runs from the Tue 02nd July – Tue 09th July. It is an 8-day wildlife holiday in search of the butterflies and moths of Estonia, amongst them a fine selection of rare species such as Baltic Grayling, Scarce Heath, Scarce Fritillary, Frigga's Fritillary, Bog Fritillary, Cranberry Blue, Clouded Apollo, Northern Chequered Skipper, Poplar Admiral etc.

For further information on a Butterfly tour we have on offer, plus booking details, terms and conditions please phone or e-mail us:
Tel: +372 5349 6695 / E-mail: info@naturetours.ee

Woodland Brown (Lopinga achine)
Photo: Wilfred Powell

The latest copy of 'The Comma' – the BC regional magazine for the West Midlands – has an article on our Butterfly trip to Estonia this year. You can view the article by searching for The Comma issue 83 (the article is on p.22).

Bog Fritillary (Boloria eunomia)
Photo: Mike Williams

David Dennis, National Chair of Butterfly Conservation UK visited Estonia! Read more...

How to be the lucky one?

For the second time Estonian Nature Tours offered the chance to win a dream wildlife holiday to Estonia at the British Birdfair 2012 and on our webpage. Estonian Nature Tours wishes to thank everyone who completed our questionnaire and took part in the prize draw. All together our questionnaire was filled in by 29 people, 12 of them gave right answers to all the questions and were therefore entered into our draw.

We are delighted to announce the winners:

Grand Prize: Birdwatching holiday Estonia – A Shelter For Western Taiga Forest Birds. Price 860 € - Mr Barthorpe

Lot 1: Brown Bear tracking and watching. Price 100 € - Mrs Hall
Lot 2: Flying Squirrel Study trip. Price 100 € - Mr Rutt
Lot 3: Beaver boat-trip. Price 85 € - Mr Chew

The lucky Mr Barthorpe and Mr Chew have already confirmed the additional options they would like to enjoy during their visit to Estonia next year and Mr Rutt is still considering.

We asked all nature lovers to read carefully our homepage www.naturetours.ee or read up on the brochure „Estonia – the heart of European wildlife“ .You now have an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with Estonia’s nature.

How to be the lucky one? Please visit Estonian Nature Tours stand at the British Birdfair in 2013!

Why Estonia? Why Estonian Nature Tours?

It is cosy and safe in Estonia. We have four seasons, plenty of space and quietness and unspoiled nature. Although it takes no more than a few hours to drive from one end of Estonia to another, no matter in which direction, you realize - when you are once there - that it takes more than a couple of days to wander around locally. Swamps and bogs, floodplains and sea-shore meadows, old-growth forests and reed-beds, sea and coastal dunes, Northern and Western klint, a multitude of small islets in the West and hill country in the South – so much surprise and variability our small country has to offer.

Wood Cow-wheat (Melampyrum nemorosum)
Photo: Tiit Leito

One more thing that makes Estonia really special: these are people who care about their assets and give their best to preserve this wealth for their descendants. Nature conservation in Estonia is motivated and strong.

„I’d always wondered why every birder who’s been to this country raves about it. In fact it exceeded our expectations. On the face of it, Estonia might seem very similar to Poland, with a similar list of species minus aquatic warblers, collared flycatchers and some others. But, having been to both countries, I think Estonia is better. It’s just chock full of birds!“ P.C. / UK, May 2012

„The organisation was smooth and flawless, the accommodation as comfortable as could be wished, and the Estonian cuisine, both picnic-style and in dining-halls, was delightful. Most important of all, of course, were the birds...  Much of this was due to the excellent knowledge and skills of the tour leader, Mati Kose. His expertise and ornithological knowledge was quite breath-taking at times, and his command of English was so great... Another aspect of Mati's leadership was his extensive knowledge of Estonian history and life, which he enthusiastically communicated wherever appropriate. I especially enjoyed the evening meal that was taken at an 18th century German manor-house, and the interesting talk given by the owner... It would be really pleasing to have these positive comments go on the record.
The overall result is that I am now quite a fan of Estonia generally, and shall certainly by trying to go back, perhaps as soon as next year.“
J-M. C-E / UK, May 2012, Naturetrek

"A fantastic one week’s break and I can certainly highly recommend the country, Estonian Nature Tours for their meticulous organisation,  and we will be sure to return soon. Thanks Marika and Tarvo for a great holiday." J.V. / UK, June 2012, Sandwich Bird Tours. Read more...

Musical slaidshow – Estonia in July by A.Broughton & J.Bridges...

With pleasure, we are continiously offering individual bookings on our fully-inclusive holidays. To order Estonian Nature Tours brochure 2013 (for free) enter your details here...


We’ll give you a photo-gallery for Christmas, click here to see it...  

ENT & Sustainable Tourism

Estland – natuurreis has been ‘Best beoordeeld’ tour in 2012
Estland – natuurreis, the Estonian Nature Tours first PAN Parks tour, has been ‘Best beoordeeld’ tour in 2012 what means that the trip has very high scores in the inquiry forms of our agent SNP clients. Read more about PAN Parks tour...  

Our first PAN Parks tours agent is SNP Naturreizen – the largest nature and culture tours travel agency in the Netherlands. This kind of new travel idea appeared to be so popular, that 3 tours will be on sale next year. With PAN Park labeled tours ENT can contribute to preservation of the most unique reserves of Europe, as each attendant endows personally the activities of PAN Parks Europe.
Article in „Quaderni di Birdwatching“
The latest copy of „Quaderni di Birdwatching“ – the best known magazine dedicated to the topic of birdwatching in Italy – published an article about Estonian birds and mammals. You can view the article here...
„Quaderni di Birdwatching“ is a magazine of EBN Italia. EBN Italia is a leading association for birding in Italy.


Stop thinking about it – come to ESTONIA!



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+372 5349 6695 or contact us online.

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E-mail: info@naturetours.ee

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