Lynx and Steller’s Eider

8 Days

Availability

TRIP DATES AVAILABILITY PRICE SPACE LEFT
16/03/2024 - 23/03/2024 Available €1,850.00
5 Available

A perfect tour for everyone, who wants to get views of 2 hard to find species – the Steller’s Eider and the Eurasian Lynx. Besides the 2 main targets, we will also look for other highlights, such as owls, woodpeckers, forest grouse, and sea birds.

Overview

March has a really different feeling to it than the months prior to it. The days have become longer and there’s more and more sunlight in the air melting the snow and ice. It’s also a busy time in nature for many mammal and bird species. For the main target species for this tour, the Eurasian Lynx, March signifies the beginning of the mating season. This is also the time of the year when the chances to see them are the greatest. For the lynx, we will start looking before dusk and finish around midnight. The rest of the day will be used for resting, looking for recent tracks, and birding! Because this tour is not only about lynx but also about other mammals and birds. The other most important target for this tour will be the Steller’s Eider, which overwinters in Estonian waters. Other birds, we will look for are owls, woodpeckers, forest grouse, divers, seaducks, and everything else Estonian nature has to offer.

It must be noted tho, that after seeing the Steller’s Eider and the first 2 nights on Saaremaa, we will concentrate more on looking for the lynx, rather than birding. Of course, if we get good looks at the lynx during the first evenings in Lahemaa, we will have more time for other activities and can go on early morning walks or drives to look for certain birds. If not, we will concentrate on looking for the lynx until late in the evening, and the daytime will be used for resting, looking for birds, and lynx-tracking if the snow conditions are suitable.

What can you see?

  • Eurasian Lynx, Elk, Roe Deer, Otter, Raccoon Dog, Wild Boar, Pine Marten, Red Fox
  • Steller’s Eiders and lots of other seaducks, such as Long-tailed Ducks, Velvet Scoters, Common Scoters
  • White-backed, Grey-headed, Three-toed, Middle-spotted, and Black Woodpeckers
  • Ural Owl, Pygmy Owl, and Northern Hawk Owl
  • Capercaillie, Hazel Grouse, Black Grouse
  • White-tailed Eagles, Rough-legged Buzzard, Waxwing, Parrot-and Common Crossbill, Snow bunting,

Itinerary

The tour starts off in Estonia’s capital Tallinn and we’ll head towards the island Saaremaa. Depending on the time of arrival, we’ll go and look for the Steller’s Eider or target the Pygmy Owl in the forests near the accommodation. Night in Saaremaa.

Dinner

Saaremaa is home to many interesting bird species. Just before breakfast we’ll go out in the forests close to the accommodation and try to spot Nutcracker, Parrot Crossbill, and Black Woodpecker. After breakfast, our main target will be finding the Steller’s Eider. About 600-1000 of them overwinter in Estonian water. Along the coast of Saaremaa, it’s possible to spot from 50-200 birds. Besides the Steller’s Eider, we will also find hundreds or even thousands of Long-Tailed Ducks. They are the most numerous seabirds in Estonian waters during winter time. As a sidecatch, we also hope to spot Black- and Velvet Scoters, Red-throated Divers, Black-Throated Divers, Red-Breasted Mergansers, Common Eider, Scaup, Tufted Ducks, Bewick Swan, Whooper Swan, Smew, and White-tailed Eagles. In the evening, if the wind conditions are suitable, we can look for the Tengmalm’s Owl. Night in Saaremaa

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we start driving back to the mainland. Some birding on the way and then ready in the evening to start looking for the Lynx in Lahemaa NP.  During the mating season in March, the lynx move more also during the daytime, but the main searching will still be done with a thermal scope. Lahemaa NP is the oldest national park in Estonia offering perfect habitats for our main target – big forest areas alternating with small fields and meadows. Our contact person in Lahemaa NP has a good web of trail cameras, so we know their preferred routes and locations. During these lookouts for the Lynx, we will also spot other mammals, such as Elk, Roe Deer, Wild Bore, Racoon Dogs, Pine Marten, Red Fox, and possibly even Brown Bears who have gotten up from hibernation. These searches last every day until about midnight. Night in Lahemaa NP

Breakfast, Lunch

Days 4-7. These afternoons and evenings, we concentrate on finding the Lynx. We will drive on small gravel roads while scanning the forest borders and meadows. Although there are no guarantees in nature, 4 evenings should be enough for securing an observation of this elusive cat. Looking around in the evening will mean that during these days we will most probably also catch a glimpse of a Ural Owl. During the daytime, we hope to see woodpeckers and forest grouse. Lahemaa is probably the best location in Estonia for spotting Three-Toed Woodpeckers also the White-backed Woodpecker is not scarce in the manor parks and Black Alder forests growing on the river banks. Another species we will hopefully see during this trip is the Western Capercaillie and Hazel Grouse, which are in good numbers in the national park. But it’s not only forest birds, as Lahemaa has a long coastline perfect for overwintering seabirds – Long-tailed Ducks, divers, and Black- and Velvet Scoters. Due to the depth of the Finnish Bay, the coastline is mostly ice-free in winter offering good hunting grounds for River Otter. So although the spring migration is just starting in March, there’s still a lot to see and explore. Nights in Lahemaa NP.

Breakfast

Day 8. Depending on what we have seen and if there’s still something missing from the wishlist, we have time to make the last morning excursion before departing to Tallinn.

Breakfast

Price includes:

  • Nature guide services for 8 days
  • Second guide/driver for 6 days
  • 7 nights in local hotels and guesthouses ( twin room with toilet and shower),
  • Local transport during the tour
  • Breakfast on all days, 2x lunch as a picnic, and 2x dinner
  • Ferry tickets to Saaremaa.

Price excludes

  • Flights

Availability

TRIP DATES AVAILABILITY PRICE SPACE LEFT
16/03/2024 - 23/03/2024 Available €1,850.00
5 Available

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 at the latest, so we would have enough time to have some birding stops on the way to the island of Saaremaa.

If I'll arrive a day earlier, will I be picked up from the hotel?

Yes. If you arrive earlier, we can pick you up from your accommodation before the start of the tour.

For what time should I plan my departure flight?

It would be at best if your flight leaves during the afternoon of the last tour day or you can stay for another night. This way, we have enough time to do birding also on the last day. If there are only flights that depart before midday, we can find a solution and organise a private separate transport to the airport.

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 Steller’s Eider
From €1,850.00
/ Person in double room
From €2,010.00
/ Person in single room
  • March
  • 4-6 persons
  • Easy walks
  • *Eurasian Lynx, Elk, Raccoon Dog, Mountain Hare, Pine Marten, Fish Otter *Steller’s Eiders, Long-tailed Ducks, Velvet Scoters, Common Scoters *White-backed, Three-toed, Grey-headed, Three-toed, Middle-spotted, and Black Woodpeckers *Ural, Pygmy, Tengmalm’s Owls and Northern Hawk Owl *Capercaillie, Hazel Grouse and lekking Black Grouse *White-tailed Eagles, Rough.legged Buzzard, Hen Harrier *Waxwing, Parrot-and Common Crossbill, Snowbunting, Common and Arctic Redpoll