A few days ago our last mammal tours of the season ended. All 4 were a success.
Interestingly, we had at least 2 lynx observations on every trip, which in a way shows that autumn is at least as good of lynx observation time, as the mating season in early spring.
To get a better idea of what we saw and how were the observations, I’ll give you an overview of the 2 observations we had during a tour with Inezia Tours at the beginning of October.
It was our second day and our plan was to go to the northeastern part of Estonia with the hopes of hearing (and maybe even seeing) wolves. On the first evening, visiting another pack, we had probably driven too close to the pack, and instead of howling back to us, 2 of the wolves came to check us out. Willem, the tour leader for Inezia, saw them for a few seconds through the thermal binoculars, but that was it for the night. No response or observations.
So it was our second evening and the wind hadn’t gone calmed down as much as I had hoped. Unfortunately, it was also raining a bit from time to time. That was also the case when we had just reached the correct location. It wasn’t heavy rain, but still affected the hearing. The wolves started to howl exactly when the first raindrops were falling, making the sounds a bit more muffled. Just one response from the pack for about 20 seconds and then nothing… We waited in total silence for movement or any other sign, but nothing. Then a plane flew over us making quite a loud noise and the pups reacted to it and started to howl again. I had heard that Golden Jackals react to planes and chainsaw noises, but this was something new to me!
After hearing the wolves, we started driving back and scanned the surrounding area with the thermal binoculars. We had gotten out of the forest area already and reached a place with vast meadows, windmills, and some houses and forests. While I was trying to find an owl that was in a bit of hiding, one of the persons in the car saw the reflection of eyes on the roadside. It was hunting for mice or birds on the roadside and we managed to see it walk away before jumping in a ditch and disappearing. We knew that the thick tree-wall in the ditch wouldn’t allow us to get a good view of the animal so we drove up to another crossing road, where we managed to see the lynx again. But it was far away. It could have been about 300 meters. We decided to take our chance and all got out of the car, put the light on the lynx, and started moving on foot towards it. Making stops after every 25 meters just to get a better and better view of the animal. 100 meters and it already seemed crazy to me, that the lynx did not really care. It was concentrating on hunting and didn’t mind us…we got to 50 meters…then even 30-40 meters. The animal was so close…changed it its position and tried to understand what was behind the bright light…until it had enough and started to walk away from us, making a stop after every 10 steps and looking back at us.
It was hard to believe our luck! From 300 meters to 30 meters. The whole on-foot saga continued for about 30 minutes.
As it was already around 23 and our accommodation was still about 45 minutes away, we started driving back. We decided that we had to drive back at a rather normal speed and try to concentrate on scanning just open areas. At one point, there was something really big and really close. We backed down and it was another lynx. It was just about 5 meters from the road. It had caught a Brown Hare and after a moment of confusion, it started walking towards the forest, which was about 70 meters away, but making stops and looking back after every 10-20 steps. Wow! The observation came quite suddenly, so there’s unfortunately no photo proof of the observation.
Instead, I’ll post some lynx photos of another tour that finished on the 15th of October. The second observation of the tour came already before sunset and the lynx showed itself in all possible positions. Our guides are not photographers themselves, so you’ll just have to settle for photos made with a phone camera.
And 2 other photos from another Big Predator tour that ended on the 15th of October. This lynx was seen on the 6th late evening. So you never know when you will see one. It can happen already on the firs day, but also on the 6th day.
On the same tour, the second lynx observation came on the 7th evening/last evening. From this moment, there’s only a photo of a photo at the moment. The lynx was found quite close to the accommodation
And..during another type of nature trip, where the lynx was not at all set as a target species, the group managed to get an excellent observation. Photos below.