Tour At A Glance





Single Room Supplement:


Tour Code:

Advanced with long hours in the field and night excursions.

Group Size:

Eight plus leaders

Bluethroat Booted Warbler Lanceolated Warbler Yellow-breasted Bunting

Russia - Birding Europe's Largest Lakes

Date: Tour not currently operating
Leaders: Ari Latja



Marsh Sandpiper
Western Russia, east and south-east of St Petersburg and around Novgorod are very rich in bird life. Agriculture is still undertaken by traditional methods, leaving vast areas of steppe landscapes, which in turn leads to a great diversity of plant and animal life. Broad natural meadows and cultivated fields support rich birdlife with a myriad of hunting raptors including Greater Spotted, Lesser Spotted and Short-toed Eagles, Hen and Montagu’s Harriers and an occasional Pallid Harrier or Red-footed Falcon. Corncrakes and Common Quails thrive here and passerines such as both Red and White-spotted Bluethroat, Barred, Blyth’s Reed, River and Booted Warblers are present in good numbers, while the scarce Lanceolated Warbler  and Yellow-breasted Buntings are also  present but do require some searching for. Whinchat and Red-backed Shrikes are everywhere and there are high densities of European Honey Buzzards, Eurasian Hobbies and Ospreys. Away from the steppe, Lake Ladoga - north-east of St Petersburg and Ilmen south of Novgorod also have a rich birdlife. In spring and autumn hundreds of thousands of migrating divers, wildfowl, shorebirds and skuas fly over Lake Ladoga to and from their breeding grounds in Siberia. The shores of Lake Ladoga comprise mostly of sandy beaches and breeding species include White-tailed Eagle, Terek Sandpiper and Little Tern. Three big rivers [Msta, Shelon, and Polat] run into Lake Ilmen making up vast estuaries with labyrinths of canals, ponds and flood meadows. These with smaller wetlands like fish-ponds around the lake have good populations of Bitterns, Little Bitterns, Black Storks, Spotted and Little Crakes, Marsh Sandpipers, Great Snipes, Black and White-winged Black Terns, Citrine Wagtails, Great Reed Warblers and Penduline Tits. There are also areas of rich deciduous forests where Black Storks, Black, Green and White-backed Woodpeckers, Greenish Warblers, Red-breasted Flycatchers, Common Nuthatches and Golden Orioles breed. There is no doubt that travelling in Russia is very different to that of most of Europe. There is undeniably great poverty, poor roads, stringent entry controls and accommodation can only be described as comfortable at best, but if you are willing to look on the positive side; then this vast nation offers a supreme and probably unique travel and birding experience. Quite simply - there is nowhere else like it and we are proud to offer this pioneering and exciting holiday to one of Europe’s last great wilderness areas. Our tour coincides with the arrival of late passerine migrants such as Lanceolated Warbler, whilst shorebirds and raptors will be well into the breeding cycle. There is little walking involved, though one or two long drives should be expected. You can expect in excess of 150 species and a whole host of memories. The holiday will be led by Ari Latja and Neil Donaghy [if numbers dictate], both of whom have worked together on two previous occasions in these areas. 


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