Lynx and the Flying Squirrel

8 Days

In December and January, the sun in Estonia is up only for about 7 hours. But in June it almost seems like the day does not want to end. This makes looking for animals somewhat easier, as the timespan when it is really pitch black outside is really short. Even though the weather can be quite warm in June, it is still a great time to look for the elusive Eurasian Lynx. The main reason for it is that in May, lynx have a new litter and the pups from last year have to start living on their own. This means that the inexperienced young felines have to figure out on their own where to hunt and whom to fear, often hunting carelessly on forest roads for birds and rodents. Most of the searching will be done during the evening, night, and/or early morning hours with the help of a thermal binocular.

June is also the best time to get views of our second main target – the Siberian Flying Squirrel. The nocturnal small mammal leaves its nest site after sunset for most of the year, just to go feed on leaves and tree buds. But in June, the daytime is just so long and it doesn’t get dark quickly even after the sun has set, the chances of getting a good quality observation are higher than for most of the year. In addition, as with the lynx, the Siberian Flying Squirrel population is doing better year after year, and during recent years we have had the pleasure of seeing them also during the day.

We will also take time to enjoy the local birdlife, stay overnight in a Brown Bear hide, and of course, blooming orchids as June is the top time to enjoy the colorful meadows and coastal pastures.

Overview

All in all, the main targets of this tour will be the mammals, but it’s also a great time for birding. Young woodpeckers are loudly beginning for food and flying around or still begging for food from the tree cavities. Young owls are also more vocal and explore the area around their birthplace, and interesting night singers, such as the Blyth’s Reed Warbler are singing self-indulgently. We will do most of the bird and mammal watching during the early and late hours of the day. Thus the daytime, which is the calmest time of the day, will be used more for resting. We will also look at blooming orchids and other special plants, as June is the top time to enjoy the colorful meadows and coastal pastures.

What can you see?

  • Eurasian Lynx
  • Siberian Flying Squirrel
  • Elk, Brown Bear, Raccoon Dogs, Beaver
  • White-tailed Eagle, Lesser-spotted Eagle
  • Common Rosefinch
  • Ural and Pygmy Owl
  • White-backed, Three-toed, Grey-headed and Black Woodpeckers
  • Blyth's Reed Warbler, Corncrake, Nightjar, River Warbler,

Itinerary

After arriving in Tallinn, we will first head to Matsalu NP. It’s an area mostly known as a superb birding location, but it’s also home to many mammal species. The very varying landscapes are a perfect home for Elk and Roe Deer, and the latter is the main prey for one of our main targets – the Eurasian Lynx. On the first day, we will go and look for birds during the afternoon and then start looking for the lynx in the evening. Night in Matsalu NP

Lunch, Dinner

Matsalu has a lot of deciduous forests and hosts numerous pairs of White-Backed Woodpeckers. We hope to spot one of them during our morning lookouts. We will also take time to enjoy the blooming orchids and other plants that enjoy the calculous thin soil. June is probably the best time to enjoy their beauty. Matsalu has also a steady population of Golden Jackals, who arrived in Estonia about 10 years ago. Similarly to the Lynx, they are elusive and become active in the evening hours. Matsalu is also a great location for Elk. Thus, in the evening we set out and start looking for the lynx, with the hopes of spotting also other mammals that Matsalu has to offer. Night in Matsalu

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we will start driving towards the famous Alutaguse forests. The area is known to be the core of Estonia’s Brown Bear population. We will spend the night in the Brown Bear Hide to observe at least 1 of the more than 1000 Brown Bears roaming around in Estonian forests. Besides bears, we have a really good chance of seeing Raccoon Dogs and other mammals in their natural habitat. The hides are spacious and comfortable and offer a great insight into the daily doings of forest animals. Night in the Brown Bear hide.

Breakfast

In the morning, we will look around in the forests surrounding the bear hide, with the chances of seeing more mammals and even Western Capercaillie and Hazel Grouse. Afterward, we will drive to the closest town of Rakvere for breakfast and then continue to Lahemaa NP, which is probably the most well-known national park in Estonia. After a rest, we will start exploring the wonderful forests of Lahemaa and in the evening, we will start looking for the lynx again. Night in Lahemaa NP

Breakfast

Lahemaa NP is the oldest and largest national park in Estonia. The vast old-growth forest alternating with small meadows and fields offers a perfect landscape for the lynx to thrive. During the morning, we will look for woodpeckers as Lahemaa is one of the best places in Estonia to see the Three-Toed Woodpecker. Mid-June is usually the period when young woodpeckers are loudly beginning for food in the tree cavities or already exploring the world on their own. Either way, it is actually a quite good time to spot them. In the evening, we will again start looking for the elusive lynx. The varying landscapes and good infrastructure give us excellent conditions to succeed. Lahemaa is home also for all of Estonia’s owls. Most likely we will spot a Ural Owl while driving along the forest roads. Night in Lahemaa NP

Breakfast

Our next big target will be the Siberian Flying Squirrel, that in Estonia has survived only in the Alutaguse area. We will meet a specialist, who takes us to a location, where we have a good chance of seeing one of the most hard-to-see mammals in Europe. If we are lucky enough, we might have a chance to see this nocturnal mammal during the day as in certain cases, they have to leave their nest also during the daytime. If not, we have to wait until sunset to hopefully have a look at this magnificent mammal. For the night, we will return to Lahemaa NP.

Breakfast

During the mornings we will visit some of the numerous walking trails in Lahemaa NP. Again, our targets will be woodpeckers and some of the more interesting warblers, such as the Barred Warbler and Blyth’s Reed Warbler. After breakfast, we will visit Suru peat bog, the enjoy this very unique landscape with all of its species. With luck, we might also spot some of its breeders – Wood Sandpiper, Golden Plover, Whimbrel, Great Grey Shrike, and even a soaring Golden Eagle. In the evening, we will again start looking for the elusive lynx. Night in Lahemaa NP.

Breakfast
Day 8 :
Departure

On the last day, we still have the chance to go for a last early morning walk or drive. We will return to Tallinn around noon.

Breakfast

Price includes:

  • The services of 2 nature guides/drivers for 8 days
  • 6 Nights in local hotels and guesthouses ( twin room with toilet and shower),
  • 1 Night in a Brown Bear and wildlife watching hide
  • Local transport
  • 2 dinners and 2 lunches (as picnic packages), all breakfasts
  • A day with a Flying Squirrel specialist

Price excludes

  • Flights
  • Beverages during the meals

FAQs

What is the best time to arrive in Estonia/When will the tour start on the first day?

It would be advisable to arrive in Tallinn during midday or in the afternoon. If there are only late afternoon/evening flights, we can find a suitable solution.

When should I be at the Tallinn Airport before the departure of my flight?

Tallinn International Airport is a small and convenient airport, so you’ll have enough time at the airport if you arrive 90 minutes before the departure of your flight.

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Lynx and the Flying Squirrel
From €1,850.00
/ Person in double room
From €2,010.00
/ Person in single room
  • May-June
  • 4-6 persons
  • Easy walk
  • *Eurasian Lynx & Siberian Flying Squirrel
    *Brown Bear and Raccoon Dog
    *Elk & Beaver
    * Lesser and Greater-Spotted Eagle
    *Ural and Pygmy Owl
    *White-backed, Three-toed, Grey-headed, and Black Woodpeckers
    *Blyth's Reed Warbler, Savi’s Warbler, River Warbler, Common Rosefinch
    *Nightjar, Corncrake