estonia ( NON BUSINESS TOUR )

ESTELLER¨S EIDER BREAK

Dates

Sun 18th Mar – Thu 22nd Mar 2018 or

TBA in Mar 2019

Tour Cost

€ 860.-

Single room supplement

€ 150.-

Group size

12 persons with two leaders

Tour leader

Josele J Saiz and Local guide

Airport

UK-Tallinn-UK

What´s included

English speaking local bird guide troughout the journey. All meals and all local transport. Ferry tickets. Entrance fees to protected areas. All overnights on a twin/double shared basis:
www.loonamanor.ee
www.roosta.ee

What´s not included

Beverages and sauna.  International tickets. Insurance.


Tour code

A 5-day fully-inclusive holiday in search flocks of Steller´s Eider and other wintering specialities of West-Estonia.

Selected species list

Steller´s Eider, Long-tailed Duck, White-tailed Eagle, Black Grouse, Hazel Grouse, Ural Owl, Tengmalm’s Owl, Pygmy Owl, White-backed Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Nutcracker, Waxwing, Snow Bunting, Parrot Crosspill 
Grey Seal, Wild Boar & Raccoon Dog (probably), Red Fox, Elk, Roe deer, tracks of Wolf, & Lynx (probably) etc.


More information

Introduction

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.

Itinerary

1 Sun (18th March)-TALLINN, to Saaremaa Island
We will pick you up from Tallinn Airport and drive to Virtsu (from Tallinn 160 km) where we take the ferry at 6:00pm. At half past 6 we arrive at Kuivastu harbour on Muhu Island and drive westward. After check-in and a short rest we will eat our first dinner at the guesthouse (Loona Manor Guesthouse).

2 Mon (19th March)-SAAREMAA ISLAND
Today we will have the opportunity to scope Steller's Eiders. To see dense flocks of these magnificent birds we have to drive to the north-westernmost part of Saaremaa. The hot spot for Steller's Eider is located close to Cape Undva. Uudepanga Bay near Undva hosts up to 1000 Seller's Eiders each winter, though often numbers are between 300 and 600. Birds form dense flocks where they behave synchronously, especially when diving. Other sea-ducks will be seen with a chance of divers and waders including Purple Sandpiper. Because of biogeographic reasons Saaremaa is not rich in rarer woodpecker and owl species, but we can see or hear Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Nutcracker, Great Grey Shrike and Rough-legged Buzzard on short stops on our way to Undva or after that. After lunch at the guesthouse and a short rest we will will go for an owling session. If we are fortunate we can hear and hopefully see Tengmalm´s and Pygmy Owl in Viidumäe Nature Reserve (Loona Manor Guesthouse).

3 Tue (20th March)-To mainland, MATSALU NATIONAL PARK
After a breakfast we will return to the mainland where our itinerary takes us to the Matsalu National Park which is the oldest Ramsar area in Estonia. This is the most famous bird area in Estonia, known as one of the most important breeding and stop-over areas for waterfowl and shorebirds in the whole of Northern Europe. Over 40 sq km, this reserve consists of large open floodplains and coastal meadows, riparian and coastal woodlands, river delta and marshlands and shallow Matsalu Bay with 3,000 hectares of reedbeds, numerous islands and seven birdwatching towers around it. This makes this reserve wonderful as migratory staging place for vast numbers of coastal and waterbirds. This time, Matsalu Bay is typically covered with the white spots of about 10,000 Whooper and Bewick Swans, also, several thousand Bean, Greylag and White-fronted Geese harvest the grass of local meadows and fields.
Later in the afternoon, we will go for an owling session before we have our evening meal. Dinner at the restaurant (Roosta Holiday Village).

4 Wed (21st March)- LEIDISSOO, PÕÕSASPEA & NÕVA                                                                                    
Today we will visit the Leidissoo lowland where forests alternate with mires and human settlements are sparsely located. The early morning safari passes several open clearings where Elks can be seen regularly as well as a mixture of old forests and fields for Wild Boar, Roe Deer, Raccoon Dog, Red Fox and if you are lucky one – Lynx... We also hope to hear the bubbling display calls of lekking Black Grouse, whilst other attractions in this area include Capercaillie, Hazel Grouse and some interesting woodpeckers. We will continue with birding at Põõsaspea peninsula. This small north-stretching spit is renowned as one of the best place for observing Artic waterbird migration. Tens and hundreds of thousands of Long-Tailed Ducks, Common Scoters and Geese species can be seen during the peak of migration, diver species as well.
After a lunch and break we will visit Noarootsi peninsula and Nõva forests where we scan over the area of mixture woodlands, fields and agricultural landscapes to search the Hawk Owl. Atmospheric pine forests nearby hold Crested Tit, Willow Tit, Goldcrest, Hazel Grouse and Black Woodpecker. Ural Owl often hunt during the afternoon before it is really dark (Roosta Holiday Village).

5 Thu (22nd March-Departure...                                                                                  
We will return to Tallinn by late morning and have a pleasant guided tour of Tallinn Old Town.
Tallinn was made a UNESCO World heritage Site in 1997 due to the medieval city centre, the
finest in northern Europe, with cobble-stone streets & buildings that date back to the 15th. century.

Gallery

Testimonials

Stellers Eiders, photo:                                  Chris Townend

Stellers Eiders (in the air)                           Mati Martinson

Common Crane                                             Luke Massey

Black Grouse                                                  Sven Zacek

Three-toed Woodpecker                            Sven Zacek

White-backed WP                                        Sven Zacek

Pygmy Owl                                                     Remo Savisaar

Hazel Grouse                                                  Remo Savisaar

Nutcrackers                                                    Tarvo Valker

Bewick´s Swan                                               Tarvo Valker

Long-tailed Ducks                                         Tarvo Valker

 

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