Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Thoughts of Recent Trips

Hawk Owl Watching / Tarvo Valker

The birding season is at its peak. The first tours have been very successful – all enthusiasts who have been on the tours with us have had a unique opportunity to see many male Steller `s Eiders in ideal conditions.

On our 6-day trip last week, we saw more than 80 bird species. Due to late spring the activity of forest birds was relatively low, but now woodpeckers and owls have become much more vociferous. We found all of our Gamebirds, including Black Grouse and Capericaillie and now White-backed and Grey-headed Woodpeckers are very active as well. The crown jewel of our recent tours was certainly Hawk Owl.

Hawk Owl / Tarvo Valker

We are waiting for warmer weather sometime next week as the forecast predicted and then it will be the perfect time to observe the key species of forest birds. At the same time the spectacular migration of birds north should get underway!

Seawatching / Tarvo Valker

Client Comments

"Overall impressions
1.Excellent organisation as always from you.
2.Good value
3.Estonia is a lovely country. People friendly and everything runs to time. Buses etc. run on time.
4.Really pleased I went.
5.Would like to return in the springtime although I loved seeing all the snow. It was really magical like scenes from Dr Zhivago

Laiksaare Forest / Tarvo Valker

Very pleased I was in Tarvo’s group as he kept as closely to the itinerary as possible. I think this is important to most people. Trips and meals were on time. To my inexperienced bird watching eye he seemed good at spotting and hearing birds. His English was good if a little hesitant and he was very helpful. Steve was excellent and very patient with novice bird watchers. He also kept things to schedule and on time. Enjoyed guided trip around Tallinn." S.B.

Tallinn Old Town / Tarvo Valker

“The trip was a lovely experience. Our guide was brilliant and checked everyone had seen birds on the few occassions we saw any. Unfortunately it is a late spring so we dipped out a bit on some of the owls and woodpeckers… . Had great views of the Hawk Owl…. Cannot fault the guide he was superb. Hotels were very good as was the food. During the day we had superb meals. More like evening meals with meat, veg or salad and potatoes and pudding. Everyone commented how good the food was. The rooms were warm and staff friendly. ….Great trip, lovely country with hardly any cars. Nice to go round a medieval city on the last day and learn a bit about the country”. C.

Guided Tour in Tallinn Old Town / Tarvo Valker

“My feelings are very positive about the tour arrangements. The buses were very light and everyone had a good view from one side or the other. Food was excellent, mostly local and what I like. Hotels were very comfortable.” E.

Lunch at Local Farm / Tarvo Valker

“Here are our views and thoughts about the Estonia Bird watching Trip.
Travel Arrangement - No problems. Everything and everybody on time and we had a good journey. Accommodation - The hotels were good. Rooms warm and comfortable. Food - Very nice food. Varied and plenty to eat. Guide - Very nice and helpful and spoke good English. He had a plan of action already in hand. He tried his utmost to find the birds which were very thin on the ground but we all saw the target bird, Stellers Eider. Also, Matti had arranged for us to have some meals provided by local people. These were most enjoyable and enabled us to see another side to local life.

Overall view
Estonia is a very interesting country and we thought it would be nice to go back at a different time of the year, preferably when it’s warmer. It was nice to have the services of a guide in Tallinn who told us some of the history and this was followed by a good meal at a local restaurant. We did visit the headquarters of Estonia Nature Tours and met the very pleasant staff.” J. and J.

Lunch at Local Farm / Tarvo Valker

Birds seen at Estonia during last trip

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