Steller’s Eider Weekend – Scheduled Tour - 4 Days

In winter and early spring, Estonian waters host about 600-1000 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 Western CapercaillieBlack Grouse, and Hazel Hen the lekking period is just starting and they are more visible. Owls have started hooting to declare their territories and woodpeckers (7 woodpecker species are possible during the tour!) are drumming. This guided nature tour targets all the aforementioned species and more in the period of just 4 days.

If you wish to look for these species on your own in your own tempo, then try the Smart-Guided Steller’s Eider Weekend Tour.


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, Common 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 Fox, 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, Common Scoters
  • White-backed, 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



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 1 night.

Lunch, Dinner

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, Common Scoters, Goosanders, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Eiders, Greater Scaup, 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.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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


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.

Price excludes

  • Flights
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.

Tour Map

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Steller’s Eider Weekend – Scheduled Tour
From €630.00
per Person in double room
From €690.00
per Person in single room

Trip Facts

  • March
  • 4-14 persons
  • easy walk
  • *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, Twite, Common and Arctic Redpoll