Tour At A Glance

Cost:

1399.00

Deposit:

300.00

Single Room Supplement:

150.00

Tour Code:

Expect early starts and dusk finishes on this tour, plus cold weather with some walking in snow and ice.

Group Size:

Seven plus leaders

Black Grouse [Sven Zacek] Spotted Nutcraker [Tarvo Valker] White-backed Woodpecker [Sven Zacek] Pygmy Owl [Remo Savisaar] Great Grey Shrike [Valerie Stserbatohh]

Estonia - Steller's Eiders and Taiga Forests

Date: 14th - 19th March 2019 [SPACES]
Leaders: Jason Moss & Tarvo Valker

Introduction

 

 
Steller's Eiders [Mati Martinson]
 
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 the biggest island, Saaremaa. These eye-catching birds arrive in December and can congregate in flocks of 300-400 birds here at this time of year. Our trip is times to see the birds before they depart, without visiting during the coldest [and shortest!] months of the year.As well as the Steller's, carpets of Long-tailed Ducks on the sea can number thousands, and in sheltered harbours there are often amazing opportunities to photograph this most charismatic seaduck. Saaremaa is also great for finding species such as Smew, White-tailed Eagle and wintering mixed flocks of both Taiga and Tundra Bean Geese, while our charming hotel has gardens where the fantastic Northern race of Bullfinch can be found - as well as Hawfinch of course! Estonian Western Taiga forest has an extraordinary richness of species, even though they are not always easy to find! 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 while Hazel Grouse or Capercaillie can suprise you near the roadsides while driving in forested areas. We will make dawn and dusk visits to the forests, looking for these elusive specialists, and we have a good chance to find White-backed, Black, Three-toed, Lesser Spotted and Grey-headed Woodpeckers here. In one national park in Estonia more White-backed Woodpeckers may nest than in the whole of Sweden! You can hear the calls of Ural, Pygmy and Tengmalm's Owls as it gets dark, and we'll be working hard to try and get you sightings if we can - with snow on the ground, these dusk vigils are very atmospheric as we find the tracks of Wolf and European Lynx on the forest rides too! In some years, Hawk Owl is also present in the area and if they are around, we will make a special effort to see one. Other species we could expect include Rough-legged Buzzard, Nutcracker, Great Grey Shrike, Mealy Redpoll, Northern Goshawk, 'borealis' Willow Tit, 'caudatus' Long-tailed Tit [white-headed subspecies] and 'europea' Nuthatch. Accommodation has been carefully selected by our ground agent and may well excel expectations, with superb food [especially the lunches] to boot. You can expect to walk only about 1 mile per day on this tour, but wrap up warm - it could be as cold as -15C with snow on the ground and plenty of slippery ice. We can expect to see around 80 species.

 

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