Steller’s Eider weekend- scheduled, 4 days – (18-21.03.2021)

self guided short break Steller's Eiders

 

Estonia is gaining popularity as an excellent birding destination. Located between Scandinavia and Russia, the ex-Soviet country has to offer a lot of unspoiled nature, great infrastructure, high standard of service, and most importantly – lots of magnificent birds. In winter and early spring, Estonian waters host about 600-2000 Steller’s Eider and offer the best possibilities in Europe to spot them. In Early spring they come closer to shore and are easier to see. At the same time woodpeckers, owls, and forest grouses are getting more and more active. For Capercaillie, Black Grouse, and Hazel Hen the lekking period is starting, owls have started hooting to declare their territories and woodpeckers (8 woodpecker species are possible during the tour!) are drumming. The ice-free waters of the Baltic Sea are also a good location for several arctic breeders, such as Long-tailed Ducks, Smew, Bewick Swans, Whooper Swans, Greater Scaup, Goldeneyes, Black and Velvet Scoters, Goosander, and Red-breasted Merganser among others. White-tailed Eagles patrol the coastlines and can even be seen dozens of kilometers inland during the winter. It’s also a great time to spot Snow Buntings, Common Redpolls and during some years also Arctic Redpolls. What else makes Estonia stand out is the distance between varying habitats, it takes just 10 minutes to drive from one of the best migration hotspots in Europe to an old-growth pine forest, where Western Capercaillie and Hazel Grouse can be spotted. Such forests are also home to several owl species, such as Pygmy Owl, Ural Owl, and Tengmalm’s Owl. Although this trip is mostly about birds, we have good chances of spotting Elk, Roe Deer, Raccoon Dogs, Red Foxes, Fish Otter, and Snow Hare. First Brown Bears wake from winter hibernation in mid-March and their tracks can be found in the snow together with Wolf and Lynx tracks. With lots of luck, we might even cross our paths with one of the aforementioned mammals during our early morning or late evening excursions. Every year there’s also the possibility to spot Rough-legged Buzzards, Waxwings, and during some good influx years, the Northern Hawk Owl. This trip is not so much about seeing as many different species as possible, rather about getting excellent views of our target birds.

What can you see?

  • Steller’s Eiders and lots of other seaducks, such as Long-tailed Ducks, Velvet Scoters, Black Scoters
  • White-backed, Three-toed, Grey-headed, Three-toed, Middle-spotted, and Black Woodpeckers
  • Ural, Pygmy and Tengmalm’s Owls and Northern Hawk Owl during some years
  • Capercaillie, Hazel Grouse and lekking Black Grouse
  • White-tailed Eagles, Rough.legged Buzzard, Hen Harrier
  • Waxwing, Parrot-and Common Crossbill, Snowbunting, Twite, Common and Arctic Redpoll

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

by phone: +372 5622 5943

 

Day 1: Arrival (Tallinn)

After arriving at Tallinn International airport, you’ll be picked up by ou guide with a minibus and start driving towards Saaremaa island. The transfer, together with a ferry ride, takes about 4 hours and we will do some birding already on the way to our accommodation. Roadsides may produce views of Rough-legged Buzzards, Hen Harriers, and Great Grey Shrikes. Depending on the time of arrival, we’ll already go looking for our first target bird, which is Europe’s smallest owl species – Pygmy Owl. Our accommodation is an old manor house situated in Vilsandi National Park and we will stay there for 2 nights.

Day 2: Steller’s Eiders in Saaremaa

Steller’s Eider and other waterfowl – Undva promontory and Uudepanga bay. Driving around Saaremaa island NW coast and it’s best birdwatching spots gives you the opportunity to spot beside the Steller’s Eiders other overwintering waterbirds, such as Long-tailed Ducks, Velvet Scoters, Black Scoters, Goosanders, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Eiders, Greater Scaup, Black Scoters and Tufted Ducks. White-tailed Eagles are often seen patrolling the coastline and Waxwings look for food in the Juniper stands. In the evening drive back to Estonia’s mainland and spend the evening again looking for owls.  Overnight in mainland NW of Estonia.

Day 3: Owls and woodpeckers

Black Grouse, Woodpeckers, and Owls in NW- Estonia. In the morning visit Leidissoo woods for different species of woodpeckers and forest birds. Here we can spot Black Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Three-toed Woodpecker, White-backed Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Nutcracker, Great Grey Shrike, Parrot Crossbill, Crested Tit, and from mammals – Elk, Snow Hare, and Raccoon Dogs. During the day we visit Põõsaspea peninsula, which is one of the best spots in Estonia to observe arctic waterfowl migration. Here we’ve got chances for Black-throated and Red-throated Divers. In the evening we take a trip into nearby forests to look for Ural-, Pygmy-, and Tengmalm’s Owl. Night in NW-Estonia

Day 4: Western Capercaillies and Black Grouse

On meadows and fields located between two vast peat bogs, it’s possible to observe a Black Grouse lek, and that will be today’s main event. We’ll drive there quite early and have good chances of spotting also Western Capercaillie on the way to the spot.  At noon we’ll start driving back towards Tallinn, but still, have the chance to target any bird that we still haven’t seen during the trip. 

Drive back and departure

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

by phone: +372 5622 5943

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

by phone: +372 5622 5943

Price for Steller’s Eider weekend group tour, 4 days is 630 euros per person. Single supplement 60 euros. Group size 4-15 persons.

If you prefer traveling on your own see also Self-guided Steller’s Eiders weekend short break, 4 days

Price includes:

  • bird guide services for 4 days,
  • 3 nights in local hotels and guesthouses ( twin room with toilet and shower),
  • local transport,
  • Breakfast, lunch, and picnic and dinner during the trip.
  • ferry tickets to Saaremaa.

Scheduled tour dates: 

  • 18th-21st of March 2021

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

Natourest is a travel company registered with the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and meets all the requirements set by the European Package Travel Directive. This means that when you book a tour through Natourest, your legal and financial rights are guaranteed by the state of  Estonia. Read more about the terms and conditions. 

EU Leader Virumaa Koostöökogu (VIKO) supported Natourest Inc for buying nature observation optics and trail cameras.