Self guided nature tour with smart device

WHAT IS SELF-GUIDED TOUR?

Natourest is one of the first wildlife and birding tour companies to offer this innovative nature tour type. Self-guided tour (SGT) with smart device is designed for active and independent people appreciating independence and flexibility.self-guided-tour-nature-Estonia SGTs offer the opportunity to visit the same nature areas as on our guided trips. With SGT, you will be your own guide and you can decide where and how much time to spend enjoying nature. With SGT you don’t have to do the research for the best birding areas in Estonia. But you can choose from the described destinations and plan your own itinerary. All locations are thoroughly chosen and visited annually by our guides to ensure you will have the updated information. Most people choose for one of our ready made self-guided itineraries but we can modify any of our tours to suit your needs.

HOW?

On self guided tour you will have a Smart Device (tablet PC or smart phone) with a GPS geo-location, google maps with locations, detailed instructions and internet connection. You will also have printed out suggestions for tours daily schedule. Paper map is also provided as extra backup.

While you are on the tour, Google Maps navigator leads you the way to the best birding places. Also you get the information where to park a car, where is the bird tower or nice trail, what kind of birds you most probably see there and where to look for them. You can use map on Android, iPad, iPhone and in Windows OS.self guided tour

Self guided tour is arranged for you including:

  • hotel bookings,
  • car rental,
  • Natourest representative meeting you in the Tallinn airport,
  • smart device (tablet) with tour map during the tour,
  • best road atlas of Estonia,
  • printed tour description with daily route suggestions.

 

BENEFITS:

SGT offers opportunities missed when travelling with group – flexibility, privacy and favorable price with support from our people.

1) Flexibility and privacy

-You travel on the dates that are best for you and your group

-We give full recommendations on itinerary and daily schedule but you decide in what pace and order you visit the best wildlife watching locations.

-You travel with your own friends or/and family

-Your route is well planned by our experienced guides

-All accommodations are chosen in the middle or close to the best wilderness areas, you have a choice of accommodation options to suit your budget

2) Favorable price

-Prices will vary based upon your level of accommodations and duration of the tour.

-For example: Steller’s Eiders weekend self-guided 4-day  short break  is 350 euros per person . Approximate cost of a guided short break would be 530 euros per person.

3) Support from expert

-Upon your arrival you will be met by a Natourest representative for short introduction and tour materials.

-If you need assistance during the trip you will have phone support 24/7

 

WHEN?

The best months for bird-watching and mammal watching in Estonia are May and September- October. First half of April is the best time to come Estonia to see both the Steller’s Eider and also observe the activities of owls, woodpeckers and grouses.

How to be sure you would enjoy self-guided trip?

  • You are comfortable reading a map and following road signs. To really enjoy a self-guided trip, you should like discovering surroundings on your own hand and have a open mind. So if  you do miss a turn and have to backtrack you will be okay doing so. After all the most memorable travel includes some unplanned adventures!
  • You have some intuition about using technology. Just awareness of when to load batteries and how to turn the device on is good enough.
  • You prefer to take time to notice details in nature yourself without someone pointing out species and have the patience to observe.
  • You value having personal independent daily trip schedule.

 

AVAILABLE SELF-GUIDED TOURS:

 1. Steller’s Eider weekend- self guided short break, 4 days.

About 2000 Steller´s Eiders winter in West-Estonian coastal waters. In Early spring they come closer to shore and are easier to see. At the same time woodpeckers, owls and grouses are getting active. Capercaillie, Black Grouse and Hazel Hen are lekking. Owls are breeding and aggressively defend their territories. Woodpeckers are drumming. The best time for sighting all this natural life is at the end of March and first part of April. Read more…

2. 7 best birding areas in Estonia

If you want to do the planning on your own and need only know-how map with locations then contact us  info@natourest.ee about  Estonian wilderness areas. It is a package of 7 best birding areas in Estonia with locations of target species habitats and instructions how to spot them better.

3. Estonian birds and mammals, 8 days self-guided tour.

Estonia has about 10 000 elks, 700 brown bears, 200 wolves, 500 lynxes, a great number of roe deer, foxes, raccoon dogs. It’s also the best place in Northern Europe for mammal- and bird-watching. This self-guided tour will lead you from N-E Estonia – where you’ll get close-up views from a brown bear hide to world famous Matsalu NP on the western coast. Read more..

 

Feel free to ask any questions or book your holiday- please contact us: info@natourest.ee or by phone:

+372 5622 5943

People are saying..

The trip went very well. In all we saw or heard about 151 or maybe a couple more. A few mammals too. The self-guided map worked very well. We could put the co-ordinates straights into a sat-nav and it took us perfectly to the locations. White-backed woodpecker was hard, in the end 5 of us saw it, but two of the group were chasing a tawny owl then searching for a corncrake so missed it. We’re already thinking about next year, maybe an earlier one for Seller’s Eider and more woodpeckers/owls. Or late May for Great Snipe etc.

Tony

Tony and his group were in Estonia 8-12 th of May 2013

 

I managed to see a hawk owl near to Virtsu on a forest road. I was surprised at the scarcity of birds during our time in Estonia, I assume that it was due to winter weather. We manage to see Steller’s eiders ca 240 Uudenpanga bay, several groups of snow buntings and Great Grey shrikes, despite searching suitable areas no White backed, 3 toed woodpeckers, we did see Grey Headed and black though. We managed to see Hazel, Black grouse and Capercaille. On our drive back to Tallinn airport, we saw our only nutcrackers at the roadside along with several blackbirds presumably northbound migrants!

We enjoyed our visit and would like to return when the weather is a little kinder!

Andrew

Andrew was in Estonia at the end of March 2013

 

Having attended a lecture on Estonia at the Bird Fair a few years ago, we knew the country boasted a mouthwatering list of northern and eastern special birds. We did not want to be on an organised tour, but having never visited the country before needed some help in finding good sites to visit. David Gosney`s “Finding Birds in Estonia” we found to be a useful startpoint. The GPS provided by Natourest (www.natourest.ee) was preprogrammed with a lot more sites including specific places for scarce breeding birds like White-backed Woodpecker and Ural Owl. We are both technophobes, but after a little tuition and some practice, found the GPS system (TAB and Google Maps) relatively easy to use and of great value in getting to sites, that in some cases were off-road down forest tracks. We found Estonians to be very friendly, and most people speak English well. The road signage is good, and outside of Tallinn the roads are empty of traffic. We found the accommodation to be of a good standard and the food very tasty. There are a lot of National Parks and Reserves with a very good infrastructure of bird-towers, boardwalks and toilets. With a lot of wet forest, bogs and mires, there are also a lot of mosquitos, but regular application of deet, did keep the number of bites received down. Our holiday was very enjoyable, and we certainly hope to visit again.

Mike from England

Mike was in Estonia 1-11 th of June 2012

 

We had a great time in Estonia with a total of 300+ Steller’s Eiders and 2 Pygmy Owls on Saaremaa,  6 woodpecker species and no less than 4 different Ural Owls.

The maps are good for the overview, the big picture. But it was good you sent the text with the coordinates too, it was very useful. It’s much easier to use the gps this way, and the gps is needed, because the internet connection is not so good in some of the forests.

We will recommend the self guided bird watching to our friends!

 

Mads from Denmark

Mads was in Estonia 23-30 th of March 2013 

 

In this video we followed one of our guides, Triin on Paljassaare self guided tour to see how it looks like:

Below is the small sample, self-guided bird watching tour in Tallinn, Paljassaare. Guide is free to use. The other self-guided tours are built similarly. On map are displayed watching towers, species habitats, when to spot them, info about nature trails, parking.

 

Recommended route for Paljassaare self-guided tour:

Paljassaare ist the best birdwatching area near Estonia’s capital, Tallinn. This NATURA 2000 site is just 15-20 minutes drive from city center.

The tour takes couple of hours up to half of the day. Area is a mix of in reed-beds and stony coastline providing habitats for different bird species. It is not good spot to observe mass migration but it is excellent when you like to spot variety of species. Over 100 species are definite or probable breeding birds in the area and there are 231 birds in the Paljassaare bird list.

All of the paths can be passed on foot and usually rubber boots are not needed. There are 2 bird watching towers, a wooden (1) and a white brick one (2). White brick tower was in the past Soviet navy  searchlight garage. These types buildings are found in many places along Estonian coast, only this one here is reconstructed into a bird tower. It’s a 3-story building and you can find here shelter from the rain.

If you only have time to visit one location in Paljassaare, then the wooden bird watching tower (1) should be the first choice. The tower is next to the reedbeds and the southern lake. There’s also a scrub-land by the tower and an open brownfield in the south, which attracts raptors.

Multiple information boards are along the trail.During the breeding season 01. May – 31. July, people should stay on the paths and not wander around in the bushes, reed-beds or along the coastline.

List of species that can be seen:

Spring, April and May:

Autumn, September and October:

Ringed Plover, Little Plover, Common Redshank, Mute Swan, Common Eider. During the migration Bewick’s and Whooper Swans.

On sea and on stones- Eurasian Oystercatcher, Common Shelduck, Goosander, Gadwall, Common Goldeneye,  different gulls, Great Cormorant, Tufted Duck, sometimes Velvet Scoter,Common Eider, Red-brested Merganser, Common Scoter.

In bushes- Yellow Wagtail, Common Cuckoo.

In reedbed- Grey Heron, Tits, Reed Bunting, Eurasian Marsh Harrier.

During autumn migration- geese and Barnacle Goose.

Winter Long-tailed Duck, Common Eider, Great Crested Grebe,  Red-necked Grebe, Black-headed Gull. Flocks of Common Goldeneye and Long-tailed Duck. In bushes- Great Grey Shrike,  Great Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Great Bittern.

 

Book a tour with us: info@natourest.ee or by phone: +372 5622 5943

Choose one of the tours

AVAILABLE SELF-GUIDED TOURS:

1. Steller’s Eider weekend- self guided short break, 4 days

About 2000 Steller´s Eiders winter in West-Estonian coastal waters. In Early spring they come closer to shore and are easier to see. At the same time woodpeckers, owls and grouses are getting active. Capercaillie, Black Grouse and Hazel Hen are lekking. Owls are breeding and aggressively defend their territories. Woodpeckers are drumming. The best time for sighting all this natural life is from 1 of March til 15 of April. Price for 2 people group is 350 euros per one person. Read more…

 

2. Or buy the know-how only.

If you want to do the planning on your own and need only access to self-guided know-how google map with locations then contact us: info@natourest.ee  about the 7 best Estonian wilderness areas package. It includes 7 best birding areas in Estonia with locations of target species habitats and instructions how to spot them better. Variety of habitats in short driving distances make Estonia one of the best destinations for self guided tours in Europe. Price for 1 area is 50 eur and price for 7 areas is 99 eur.

 

3. Estonian birds and mammals, 8 days self-guided tour.

Estonia has about 10 000 elks, 700 brown bears, 200 wolves, 500 lynxes, a great number of roe deer, foxes, raccoon dogs. It’s also the best place in Northern Europe for mammal- and bird-watching. This self-guided tour will lead you from N-E Estonia – where you’ll get close-up views from a brown bear hide to world famous Matsalu NP on the western coast. Read more..

 

Feel free to ask any questions and contact us:  info@natourest.ee or by phone: +372 5622 5943