Monday, October 31, 2011

The Winners of the Questionnaire in British Birdfair 2011

For the first time Estonian Nature Tours offered a possibility to win a dream wildlife holiday to Estonia in British Birdfair 2011 and on our webpage as well.

Estonian Nature Tours wishes to thank everyone who completed our questionnaire and took part in the prize draw.

We are delighted to announce the winners:

Grand Prize: Birdwatching holiday Estonia in Spring. Price 1150 € - Mr
Lot 1: Beaver photography. Price 180 € - Mr Brink
Lot 2: Flying Squirrel Study trip (1). Price 100 € - Mrs Francis
Lot 3: White-tailed Eagle Photograpy. Price 75 € - Mr Foley
Lot 4: MATSALU TICKET (for 2 person). Price 2 x 40 € - Mr Chew
Lot 5: Brown Bear tracking and watching. Price 105 € - Mr Cropper

Congratulations to everyone!

Titchwell Marsh

The Estonian Nature Tours team also visited the Norfolk area during the British Birdfair 2011 for some birding. Our main destination was Titchwell Marshes where we encountered nice flocks of waders - including Black-tailed Godwits, Dunlins, Avocets, Ruffs and many other wetland birds. Even a rare vagrant - a Buff-breasted Sandpiper was seen at Titchwell that day. It was an interesting visit not only for birds but also for the great opportunity to see successful nature conservation efforts in action. We were also delighted to see the very modern hides at this wetland which allow birdwatchers to get really close to the birds without disturbing them. We also went to Hunstanton to see Fulmars - a bird which is rather common in Norfolk, but not present in Estonia.

View to the Titchwell Marshes
Photo: Tarvo Valker

Titchwell Marsh is an exceptional nature reserve on the north Norfolk coast. It is a part of a network of outstanding wildlife sites across Europe called Natura 2000. A walk from the visitor centre down to the sandy beach takes you past reedbeds and shallow lagoons, which are often full of birds. You can sit on benches or watch from spacious, wheelchair-accessible hides. Read more...

Hiking trail before entering the hide
Photo: Tarvo Valker

RSPB Titcwell Marsh nature reserve is under pressure. The sand dunes along
the beach are being eroded by the sea. The ersosion of the dunes would
ultimately threaten the sea walls that prtect the reserve´s valuable
freswater habitats. These habitats are home to spectacular and rare breeding birds such as bitterns, mars harriers and bearded tits.

Inside view of the birdwatching hide
Photo: Tarvo Valker

In autumn 2009, the RSPB started work on the Titchwell Marsh Coastal Change

Find out more about the project here...

View to the mudflats from the hide
Photo: Tarvo Valker

Friday, October 28, 2011

British Birdfair 2011

The world’s largest birdwatching fair, British Birdfair, was raising funds this year to protect the African-Eurasian flyway. The constantly expanding Sahara Desert and deterioration of habitats in wintering areas is causing problems for many bird species that breed in Europe and winter in Africa. Many common species such as Barn Swallow, Wood Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher and others are rapidly dedlining, a trend that is happening in Estonia’s breeding birds as well. To support the Birdfair's important conservation project Estonian Nature Tours put up a 6-day birding tour ‘Estonia in Early Spring’ to a charity auction. Bidding on the day took the price to £455, which will be donated in full to one of the most renowned bird conservation organizations - Birdlife International. Our congratulations to L. Lowdnes, the winner of our birding tour in the auction!

Birdfair’s auction raised over £17,000 which is a Birdfair record! The money raised goes directly to the project Birdfair is supporting - Birdlife International’s Flyways Project.

Bristish Birdfair 2011
Photo: Tarvo Valker

The 2011 Birdfair took place at Egleton Nature Reserve, Rutland from Friday, 19th till Sunday, 21st August. This is the fourth time Estonian Nature Tours (ENT) has participated in the bird tourism fair as an exhibitor.

White-tailed Eagles near feeding site
Photo: Mati Kose

Tarvo Valker, a member of council of the Estonian Ornithological Society, made a presentation „Nature protection highlights in Estonia“. A small country with quite a few naturalists has much to share with the rest of Europe. It is successful in protecting wildlife and carrying on valuable mammal and bird studies, as well as raising public awareness. The presentation was illustrated with many pictures showing highlights of all their work. There were about 150 visitors listening to his presentation.

Yellow-browed Warbler
Photo: Uku Paal

There was considerable interest in Estonian Nature Tour’s stand with almost 700 people visiting us during the weekend. In addition to this there was a clear increase in the number of tourists wishing to visit Estonia. There was great excitement among our visitors about our mammal-watch tours, but also our early spring birding tours and nature photography safaris.

For the first time Estonian Nature Tours offered a possibility to win a dream wildlife holiday to Estonia in British Birdfair 2011 and on our webpage as well. Read more...

White-backed Woodpecker
Photo: Sven Zacek

Estonian Nature Tours team also visited Norfolk area for short birding. Read more...

ENT team is eagerly looking forward to meet you next spring in Estonia and of course at the Birdfair 2012!

The project MATSALU TICKET was launched unexpectedly well

During this season (from June till September) 226 nature lovers visited Matsalu. Among the groups there were visitors from foreign countries as well, including Finland, Holland, Belgium, Turkey, Moldova, France, Germany and more.

MATSALU TICKET was successfully sold to their clients by the travel agency Estravel, several hotels in Tallinn and Tallinn Tourism Information Point. The most popular option among the clients was the campaign – 50 canoeing trips for two were sold within two and a half days.
Beginning from 2012 it will be possible to buy a discounted ticket from Tallinn to Matsalu with the Tallinn Card. Buses will depart on Saturdays from Tallinn, Pärnu and Haapsalu.

White-tailed Eagle
Photo: Harry Vähk

The Matsalu Ticket is a very new and environmentally friendly brand meant for anyone who wants to travel sustainably and knows how to respect nature as well as local people. The project teaches about wildlife and coordinates visits to the Matsalu National Park helping to avoid excess disturbance of both animal and plant species, as well as the local population. Bus tours and canoe trips are lead by local Estonian and English speaking guides.

Lunch at Local Farm
Photo: Kristi Kevvai

The Matsalu Ticket is benefiting several companies including about 20 different service suppliers – tour guides, transportation companies, boatmen, tourist farms, caterers, museums, nature centres and many local craftsmen.

See photos here...

More info here...

Ryanair Magazine will soon issue an 8-page feature about Estonia

In the middle of September several European top journalists visited West-Estonia (Läänemaa County). The promotional tour was organized and managed by Estonian Nature Tours and it was partially financed by the Environmental Board (Matsalu National Park) and partially by EU. The main aim of the tour was to introduce to the whole world, with the help of motivated journalists, our wonderful network of unspoiled wetland habitats, different birding and mammal watching opportunities, our unique wildlife and to promote Estonia’s rich history and the options of sustainable tourism.

Photo: Greg Funnell

During the 4-day promotional tour several nature reserves as well as the Matsalu National Park were visited. In addition the guests received a comprehensive overview of the local history. Participants in the tour were almost exclusively top journalists from several leading travel magazines of Great Britain, Finland and Russia and a travel agent from the Netherlands.

Photo: Greg Funnell

Ryanair Magazine with over 4.5 million readers will publish an 8-page feature about Estonia in their upcoming Nov/Dec issue. A professional travel magazine from Finland Ikkunapaikka – Window Seat Travel Trade Magazine (15 000 readers) already issued a story in their Oct number. World Voyager Magazine ("Всемирный Следопыт"/ St.Peterburg) from Russia will publish a 2-page story in their first issue of 2012, that will reach almost 250 000 readers. Another Russian publication – Time Out Moscow ( with 50 000 readers will also publish an article soon. The travel agent from the Netherlands promised to start to sell two separate tours – in May and in October.

Photo: Greg Funnell

On 17 September the guests had the opportunity to meet Ms. Kaja Lotman, the director of the State Nature Conservation Centre, Ms. Nele Sõber, leader of the NGO Terra Maritima and the crew of Matsalu Nature Film Festival. It was soon followed by the festive final ceremony of the Matsalu Nature Film Festival and collective watching of the Grand Prix film.

Photo: Greg Funnell

Photo: Greg Funnell

Here is some first-hand feedback from the participants:
There is still a good taste in my mouth from the trip I had the privilege to participate with you! (And that is not only because of the excellent and tasteful Estonian food!)
I am writing to thank you and Ivar once again for this wonderful trip and this new experience. It was a very interesting and eventful program.
We got back fine yesterday and with many happy memories of a great time in Estonia! Thanks so much for everything you did to ensure we had such an enjoyable few days – I loved it all.
It had a big impression on me. Now I love the beautiful town of Haapsalu and I like looking to cranes of course!

Photo: Greg Funnell

Additional information:
Marika Mann, CEO
Estonian Nature Tours
Ph: +372 477 8214, +372 5349 6695

Photo: Greg Funnell

Estonian Nature Tours viib Teid Euroopa metsiku looduse parimate näidiste juurde

Estonian Nature Tours (ENT) kui ühenduse PAN PARKS kohalik koostööpartner annab Teile garantii, et Te külastate Euroopa metsiku looduse parimaid näidiseid. Alates 2011 aasta maikuust teeb ENT koostööd sihtasutusega PAN Parks, mis kujutab endast Euroopa metsiku looduse kaitseks loodud organisatsiooni. ENT korraldab retki Soomaale, Eestis seni ainsale sertifitseeritud PAN Parks’i alale ning selle vahetusse naabrusse. Need retked on parim võimalus avastada Euroopa metsikut loodust keskkonda sääsval viisil ning toetades kohalikke äriettevõtteid.

Kohalikud äriettevõtted on sertifitseeritud vastavalt keskkonnastandarditele ja nende pühendumusele loodust kaitsta. PAN Parks kohalikke partnereid, kes pakuvad kõrgekvaliteedilisi teenuseid ning tegutsevad kaitsealadega käsikäes, tunnustatakse PAN Parks’i logoga, mis on tagatiseks, et teie külaskäigust saab kasu ka looduskaitse. Need partnerid on looduskaitseala tegemistest ja väärtustest teadlikud ning nad aitavad külastajatel tutvuda metsiku loodusega vahetu kogemuse teel. Nad pakuvad teile põnevaid praktilisi võimalusi kogeda Euroopa metsikust loodusest ainulaadsete elamuste abil.

Eestis, kus mitmed olulisemad looduskaitsealad on moodustatud kaitsmaks poollooduslikke alasid, pole PAN Parks’i nõuetele vastavate mõõtmetega kaitstavad looduslikud massiivid kuigi sagedased. Üks niisugustest aladest on Soomaa, mis sai endale PAN Parks staatuse 2009 aastal.

PAN Parks on üleeuroopaline organisatsioon, mis keskendub meie kontinendi kõige vähem rikutud loodusalade kaitsmisele. PAN Parks ehitab üles kindlaksmääratud kvaliteedistandarditele vastavat Euroopa kaitsealadest koosnevat võrgustikku, mis hõlmaks piisavalt esinduslikku loodusalade valimit, kuid arvestaks ka sotsiaalsete, majanduslike ning kultuuriliste aspektidega. Need kaitsealad säilitavad väärtuslikke loodusalasid erakordselt suurtel puutumatutel maa-aladel, kus looduslikud taime- ja loomakooslused saavad segamatult ja jõudsalt areneda ning inimesed hindavad sel moel saadud võimalust neid väärtusi nautida, suhtudes loodusesse just niisuguse lugupidamisega, nagu see väärib.

PAN Park võrgustikku kuuluvatel kaitsealadel võib leida silmapaistvalt kauneid maastikke, nende erakordne looduslik väärtus kuulub reeglina Euroopa kõige hinnatuma looduspärandi hulka. Hoolsalt kaitstud alade mõõtmed võimaldavad nii ulukitel kui lindudel vabalt edeneda. PAN Parki tüüpi kaitsealal on nauditav loodus kaitstud parimate Euroopa näpunäidete järgi. Loomad saavad mööda territooriumi vabalt ringi liikuda ning taimedel on täisväärtuslikuks arenguks kõik looduslikud võimalused. Kaitseala juhtkond teeb territooriumil elavate inimestega tihedat koostööd.

Tekst: Peeter Vissak

With Estonian Nature Tours you are visiting the certified best of Europe’s wilderness

Estonian Nature Tours (ENT) as a local partner of PAN PARKS ensures that you are visiting the best of Europe’s wilderness. Since May 2011 Estonian Nature Tours cooperates with the PAN Parks Foundation, the European wilderness protection organization. ENT is developing tours to Soomaa – so far the only certified PAN Parks area in Estonia - or in the regions around the park. These tours provide an opportunity to discover Europe’s wilderness in a way which fully respects the natural environment and supports local businesses.

Local businesses are certified, based on environmental standards and their commitment to conservation. Local PAN Parks partners, offering high-quality facilities and working together with the park, are recognized by the PAN Parks logo; this guarantees that your visit contributes to the protection of nature. These partners are knowledgeable about the park and help visitors discover wilderness firsthand. They offer exciting activities to enable you to have a unique experience of European wilderness! In Estonia, where quite a number of most important parks consist of species-rich seminatural communities, vast unaltered purely natural areas are not so frequent. Soomaa, which became a PAN Park in 2009, is one of such areas.

PAN Parks is a European-wide organization focusing on the protection of the continent’s most undisturbed wilderness areas. PAN Parks creates a network of European protected areas certified in accord with PAN Parks quality standards, covering relevant wilderness protection, social, economic and cultural aspects. These parks offer a remarkably extensive wilderness area with undisturbed nature where natural systems of animals and plants are safe to thrive and people appreciate the pleasures offered by wilderness with the respect it deserves.

In a PAN Park the landscape is of outstanding beauty, its extraordinary natural values are among our most valuable European treasures and heritage. The well-protected area’s size gives wildlife a real space to thrive. In a PAN Park, the nature you enjoy has been protected according to the best European practices. Animals can roam free and plants are safe to thrive in true wilderness. The park management co-operates closely with the people who live around the park.

Text: Peeter Vissak

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Võida unistuste looduspuhkus!

Loosime oma Facebooki uute ja vanade sõprade vahel kaks imelist auhinda:

Auhind 1 Karuvaatlus. Hind 105 €
Auhind 2 Merikotka pildistamine. Hind 75 €

Vanad sõbrad osalevad automaatselt.
Uutele on see väga lihtne. Järgi neid kahte sammu ja võidki võita:

1. Mine meie Facebooki lehele
2. Klikka “meeldib”

Kaks võitjat loosime kõikide meie Facebooki uute ja vanade sõprade vahel.
Räägi sellest ka oma sõpradele! Alati värsked loodusuudised ja parimad pakkumised – kõik on oodatud osalema ja meid jälgima!

Estonian Nature Tours tänab Sind meiega veedetud aja eest!

Pakkumine kehtib 4. novembrini 2011. Võtjate nimed teatame oma Facebooki lehel 5. novembril.

Head loosiõnne!

Pilte varjest näed siin...
Vaata videot, mis tehtud merikotka varjest siin...
Vaata videot, mis tehtud karjuvarjest siin...

Disain: Tuuli Mann

Win a dream wildlife holiday in Estonia!

Win a dream wildlife holiday in Estonia!

Two amazing lots are available for lucky persons who will follow us on Facebook:

Lot 1 Brown Bear tracking and watching. Price 105 €
Lot 2 White-tailed Eagle photography. Price 75 €

It is easy indeed. Follow two simple steps and you may be a winner:
1. Go to our Facebook page at
2. Click on “like”

The winners will be chosen completely by random from among all our friends –both the new ones and people, who already are our followers.

Please, tell your friends about it! For the latest news and the best travel offers - everybody is welcome to follow us and participate!

The Estonian Nature Tours team would like to thank all our followers and we look forward to spend more time with you in the future!

This offer ends on November 4, 2011.
Drawing lots will be held on 5th November and then the winners will be announced on our Facebook page.

Good luck!

See photos of the hide here...
See the video taken at White-tailed Eagle hide here...
See the Brown Bear video here...

Design: Tuuli Mann

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sügisesed linnuvaatlustuurid 2011

Sel sügisel toimunud nädalastel linnuvaatlustuuridel vaadeldi enam kui 130 linnuliiki. Reisid sattusid sookurgede läbirände kõrgperioodile ning mitmed linnuturistid said jälgida tuhandete sookurgede kogunemist Matsalu lahe ööbimispaikadesse. Samal ajal olid siinsed rannaniidud ja põllud täitunud kümnete tuhandete valgepõsk-lagledega, kelle rahu rikkusid pidevalt ringitiirutavad merikotkad. Ei möödunud ainsatki õhtupoolikut või hommikut kui Matsalu luhtades pole nähtud võimsaid põdrapulle.

Veelindude kõrval moodustasid suuremaid parvi lõunasse kiirustavad värvulised, eriti metsvindid and rästlased. Nende sadadest ja vahel koguni tuhandetest lindudest koosnevaid parvi võis näha väljaulatuvatel poolsaartel rännet jälgides kui ka teeäärsetel põldudel toitumas.
Põnevamatest linnuliikidest kohati sügisestel linnuvaatlusreisidel: väike-konnakotkas, teder, hallrähn ja väike-kirjurähn, punaselg-õgija, hallõgija ja mänsak.
Tekst: Tarvo Valker


"Täname Teid, et pakkusite võimalust külastada Matsalu Rahvusparki hilissuve ja sügisealguse saabudes. Kogunesime Lihula mõisa parki meile registreeritud kuupäeval kõigi lootuste ja ootustega. Veetsime alanud sügispäeva kanuudel ja kuulasime kohaliku retkejuhi igati asjalikku teejuhist looduspargis ning mida vaadata ja tähele panna. Meeldivad hetked koos vahepeatustega piknikukorvi tühjendades möödusid kiirelt ja peagi olime päikselisest hommikust jõudnud õhtuhämarusse. Täname kogu töökat kollektiivi selle imelise päeva eest Matsalu linnuriigis."
L.L. / Sept 2011

Foto: Remo Savisaar

"Suur tänu hästi organiseeritud ürituse eest. Linnuvaatlus oli väga põnev ja täitis meie ootusi. Nägime erinevaid linde esimeses vaatluskohas ja hiljem vaatlesime pikemalt sookurgi nende kogunemiskohas. Kurgedega oli nii, et nad hakkasid kogunema vastavalt sellele, kuidas päike madalamale langes ja siis ühel hetkel otsustas suur osa, et parem koht on lähedal oleva metsatuka taga ja lendasid sinna. Nii et liikumist oli kogu aeg kahes suunas. Linde oli märgata taevas ka veel suurte gruppidena lendamas peale päikese loojumist.

Foto Remo Savisaar

Giid andis meile huvitavat infot laiemalt ja vastas kenasti küsimustele. Piknikukorvist leidsime väga maitsvad söögid ja kuumad joogid. Suur tänu kokkadele! Buss oli mugav ja bussijuht tõi meid kenasti tagasi ning meie rahvas sai linna sisenedes kõikides vajalikes kohtades oma peatused, mis marsruudi peale jäid. Üritus läks meie hinnangul igati korda, eriti vedas ilmaga, sest oli tõeliselt päikeseline ja ka tuule eest olime hästi kaitstud. Veelkord tänan, et sellise ürituse olete välja mõelnud ja meile kättesaadavaks teinud. Loodetavasti kohtume veel edaspidigi."
SEB finantsdivisjon / Sept 2011

"Laupäev oli väga tore. Giid oli asjatundja, rääkis kõigest ja vastas kõigile meie küsimustele. Eestimaa loodus on väga ilus ja seda vaadata koos giidiga, kes suudab rääkida mis on mis ja miks see nii on, on suurepärane ajaveetmise viis päiksepaistelise ilmaga. Teised grupi liikmed olid ka väga rahul üritusega ning me kõik tuleme Matsallu veel, ehk siis väiksemates gruppides ning muul aastaajal -- loodetavasti näeme siis ka rohkem linde ja loomi ;) Mind nature häiris, et vahemaad olid pikad, kuid see oli enne juba teada. Järgmine kord saab ehk miski väiksema ala võtta ja seal tutvuda loodusega ;)

Nii et kõik oli väga tore ja jõudu ja jaksu edaspidiseks!
PS. Lõunasöök oli väga maitsev!!!"
R.F. / Sept 2011

Foto: Harry Vähk

„Läks väga hästi.Linde oli palju,ilm oli ilus.Giidi jutu järgi oli peale tormi tõeliselt hea päev.Laps nägi merikotkast, nagu oli soovinud.Ja põdrad udus sookurgede keskel.“
P.P / Sept 2011

Luht põtradega
Foto: Tarvo Valker

Autumn tours 2011

During the one-week birdwatching tours this autumn more than 130 bird species were encountered. The tours coincided with the high time migration of Cranes and several birding tourists were lucky to watch thousands of Cranes gathering at roosting places around the Matsalu Bay. At the same time surrounding coastal meadows and fields were filled with tens of thousands of Barnacle Geese, which were constantly disturbed by White-tailed Eagles - a fabulous sight.

Neither a morning nor afternoon went by without spotting some powerful Elk bulls in the floodplains of Matsalu. Besides waterfowl the largest flocks of birds were of passerines, in particular Chaffinches and Thrushes hurrying southwards. These flocks, built up of hundreds or occasionally even thousands of birds, could be observed from various peninsulas and feeding in the fields by the roadside.

The most exciting bird species encountered this autumn on the birdwatching tours were Lesser Spotted Eagle, Black Grouse, Grey-headed and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Red-backed and Great Grey Shrike and Nutcracker

Text: Tarvo Valker

Forest Dawn
Photo: Neil Aldridge, Conservation Photojournalism & Safaris

Client Comments:

“Thank you for organising a great week for us. It was a privilege to get to know your wonderful country better during our stay. We were initially attracted by your high quality advertising, especially the full page spread in BBC Nature Magazine. Your "Estonia" brochure was also eye catching and very well put together. I first become interested in Estonia and its wildlife a few years back but the rest of my family had been reluctant to join me until they saw your product and were able to fully appreciate what your exceptional country has to offer! We were a bit limited as Sinead is pregnant at the moment but were able to enjoy most of the tours. The guides were very knowledgeable and keen to show us everything. The only limit was our energy!

Unfortunately we did not see the bears from the hide but were treated with excellent views of the raccoon dogs and the next days tracking rewarded us with bear and wolf prints and good views of capercaillie, black grouse and hazel grouse so we were not disappointed. Matsu Talu guest house was comfortable and the food excellent. We will have to come back in spring!”
N.C. / Sept 2011

Photo: Neil Aldridge, Conservation Photojournalism & Safaris

“Estonia, its people, landscapes and wildlife were truly captivating. I'm already looking forward to returning and I hope to be able to share the country's wildlife riches and photography potential with guests on future trips.

Saaremaa was particularly impressive - the landscapes, sunsets, coast and forests were all remarkable. To be able to walk out of the door at the guest house and watch swallowtail butterflies, fall asleep listening to corncrakes and see in the dawn from the top of the 26m high tower in Viidumae was something special. That said, literally losing count of the number of beavers Remek and I saw on the Emajogi River probably ranks as the highlight of the trip in terms of wildlife watching.

Photo: Neil Aldridge, Conservation Photojournalism & Safaris

While it was a shame that the weather made it impossible to see the flying squirrels, the study trip gave me the ideal impression of how good the opportunities would be at other times of the year. The quality of the guides in Remek and Uudo was impressive. They both went to great lengths to make sure that I had a great experience, had the chance to get whatever shots I was after and came away with an in- depth understanding of the species and habitats that they know so well. I'm looking forward to working with them both in the future and developing ideas.

All of the accommodation was comfortable and secure (important for a photographer travelling with expensive equipment) and the reception was always warm and friendly. Thank you to everyone at Estonian Nature Tours for your help organising trip and I'm looking forward to working with you closely again.”
Neil Aldridge, Conservation Photojournalism & Safaris

"We had a lovely holiday, everything went smoothly and I thank you again for organising. We did not manage to see bear, but that's ok, it was an experience to stay in the forest. We can leave that for another day!

The country is beautiful and easy to navigate and the people although somewhat shy are helpful and nice. We stayed in some really nice place and I would not hesitate to recommend or return at a differen time of year. We knew it was not peak time for the birds, but plenty of butterflies and flowers, frogs, fox, elk (brief glimpse) and the peace and quiet were more than enough for us. We also enjoyed the hustle and bustle of Tallinn."
A.B. / July 2011

Common Blue
Photo: Peeter Vissak

“First of all we want to tell you how much we enjoyed our 3rd trip to Estonia! Mati tried his best to find woodpeckers, but without success, but we did see thousands of cranes and geese and lots of other birds. We also saw 2 elks, which was very exciting! Poor Mati was suffering with toothache, which was fixed in Parnu, and then he was his normal self again.
Thank you for organising a wonderful tour, especially the lunches at farms and guesthouses, we had a real taste of Estonian food!”
K.B. / Sept 2011

Photo: Ivar Ojaste

“Thanks very much for another superb holiday. As ever, we were delighted with all that we saw and heard. Nothing beats the sight and sound of thousands of Cranes coming in to roost on an autumn evening! Thanks especially to Mati for his expertise and good humour and for ensuring that we missed nothing. Our accommodation was just right and it was lovely to meet up, once again, with all the ladies who provided such delicious lunches for us in their villages. Hope it won't be too long before we're back again. We still have to see all those wonderful spring and summer flowers."
P.R. and R.R. / Sept 2011

„I am writing to thank you and Ivar once again for this wonderful trip and this new experience. It was a very interesting and eventful program. I hope that your amasing journey still proceeds, and you will return to me after the rest with details.

P.S. I successfully send a postcard before departure and enjoyed the cake I taked away in the cafe which was great like everything we had during our stay in Haapsalu.“
L.G / Promotional Tour 2011, West-Estonia in Autumn tour Fri16September – Mon19September.

Photo: Neil Aldridge, Conservation Photojournalism & Safaris

„Thank you so much for this amazing tour! I have no doubt that all participated will confirm this. It had a big impression on me. Now I love the beautiful town of Haapsalu and I like looking to cranes of course )) Special big thaks to Ivar!"
A.V. / Promotional Tour 2011, West-Estonia in Autumn tour Fri16September – Mon19September.

„Just a quick email to say that we got back fine yesterday and with many happy memories of a great time in Estonia! Thanks so much for everything you did to ensure we had such an enjoyable few days – I loved it all.“
J.P. / Promotional Tour 2011, West-Estonia in Autumn tour Fri16September – Mon19September.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Autumn is here...

Photo: Tuuli Mann

I spent my weekend watching birds together with 3-years-old Anette. Saturday afternoon in Rannajõe watchtower was the real “bullseye”. We had our picnic-basket with us and we also asked Laura, the girl next door, to join us.

There were White-tailed Eagles sitting on hay rolls and Black Grouse was lekking in high grass. Hundreds and thousands of Cranes were gathering from the fields. They flew over our heads and landed on the flood-plain meadow. Laura said that even she hadn’t seen so many of them before!

Pretty soon kids got tired of this mess and started playing hide and seek. What a nice idea – not many kids have played hide and seek with such a whooping soundtrak. When we were leaving they still continued to gather, all together there could be more than 6000 birds eventually.

In the Sunday morning dozens of Barnacle Geese flocks were flying straight over my house. While the flight was almost nonstop, Anette and me decided to drive to the bay to find out, where they had landed. It was a good idea – there were more than 5000 birds in Keemu coastal meadows. The weather was warm, so I opened Anette’s window and she could stare at them with a binocular and with a naked eye. We also climbed up the tower and watched the cattle. Driving back I switched on music and Anette played drum in her safety seat with some sticks ...

In the Monday morning I had my morning coffee in the backyard watching a White-Backed Woodpecker who was bustling about on a dry branch of the giant poplar about twenty meters away. It was a crisp morning, barnacle geese were hurrying off above my head and gossamers were glittering on the clumps of late flowers. What a splendid moment before the beginning of the upcoming busy week!

Autumn has arrived at last ... Most of the cranes started off to South on Sunday.

Text: Marika Mann, executive manager, 19Sept

Sügis on nüüd kohale jõudnud...

Käisin nädalavahetusel 3-aastase Anettega linde vaatlemas. Laupäeva õhtupoolik Rannajõe tornis oli „kümnesse“. Võtsime piknikukorvi ühes ja kutsusime naabritüdruku Laura ka kaasa. Merikotkad passisid heinapallide otsas ja tedred mängisid kõrge rohu sees. Sajad ja tuhanded sookured lendasid põldudelt üle pea ja laskusid luhaniidule maha. Laura ütles, et isegi tema pole enne nii palju neid korraga näinud! Lapsed tüdinesid varsti mäsust ära ja hakkasid peitust mängima. Tore mõte oli see neil – sookurgede kruuglemise taustamuusikaga ei ole just väga paljud lapsed peitust mänginud :) Meist jäi neid sinna veel ja veel kogunema, kokku võis luhale maha tulla ligemale 6000+ sookurge.

Pühapäeva hommikul lendas üle kodukatuse kümneid valgepõsk-laglede parvesid. Ülelend kestis ja kestis ja me otsustasime Anettega sõita lahe äärde vaatama, kuhu nad maandusid. Mõte oli õige – Keemu rannas oli neid maas rohkem kui 5000. Ilm oli soe, keerasin Anettele akna lõpuni lahti, ta sai uudistada neid nii palja silmaga kui binokli abiga. Ronisime torni ka ja uurisime lehmasid. Tagasitulles panin muusika mängima ja Anette lõi lõbusasti oma turvatoolis puupulkadega trummi...

Esmaspäeval jõin hommikukohvi õues ja valgeselg-kirjurähn toimetas taas minust mõnekümne meetri kaugusel hiigelpapli kuivanud oksaharul. Oli karge hommik, lagleparved lendasid üle pea, ämblike härmalõngad helkisid hiliste lillepõõsaste küljes. Milline kaunis hetk enne töise nädala algust!

Sügis on nüüd kohale jõudnud... Suurem osa sookurgesid alustas teekonda lõuna suunas pühapäeval.

Tekst: Marika Mann, tegevjuht, 19 sept

Crane Monitoring Results in Matsalu - Autumn 2011

Photo: Remo Savisaar

On the evening of September 21st, from half past five till full darkness Estonian conservationists and birdwatchers were busy counting Cranes on the both shores of Matsalu Bay.

Kaarel Kaisel, nature photographer and bird ringing specialist of the Läänemaa region of the Environmental Board, mentioned the following best crane sites: Sassi-Põgari Peninsula with almost 9000, Haeska with 2000 and area around Munarahu Islet with 1500 birds. Where the 6000 cranes from Rannajõe plain flew just before dark, remains unknown. According to the estimates by Kaarel Kaisel the number of cranes in the surrounds of Matsalu Bay exceeded 15 000, which is well above average. The counting day happened to be at the most favourable time – lots of birds had just arrived from Finland and most of them left after a couple of days.

Photo: Remo Savisaar

According to data from the Environmental Board the peak number of cranes occurred here in 2006, when 23 000 birds were counted in Matsalu area and 55 000 as the total in Estonia. Presumably it was an extraordinary year for migrating birds and the count must have coincided with the peak number of birds.

Read about one lovely weekend with children and birds...

Photo: Remo Savisaar

Sookurgede loendus Matsalus

21 septembri õhtul, kella poole kuuest kuni täispimedani loendasid Eesti looduskaitsjad ja linnuvaatlejad traditsiooniliselt Matsalu lahe põhja- ja lõunakaldal sookurgi.

Photo: Remo Savisaar

Keskkonnaameti Läänemaa regiooni rõngastuse spetsialist ja loodusfotograaf Kaarel Kaisel nimetas kurgede lemmikpaikadena Sassi-Põgari poolsaare randa ligi 9000 linnuga, Haeskat ligi 2000, Munarahu ümbrust 1500 ning Rooglaidu 1300 linnuga. Kuhu lendasid Rannajõaelt pimeda hakul sealsed 6000 kurge, jäigi teadmata. Kaiseli hinnangul ületas Matsalu ümbruse sookurgede arv 15 000 piiri, mis on tublisti üle keskmise. Pealegi sattus loendus optimaalsele ajale – enne loenduspäeva saabus Soomest tublisti lisa ning enamik kurgedest lahkus järgneval nädalavahetusel.

Keskkonnaameti andmete kohaselt oli sookurgede tipparvukus 2006. aastal, mil Matsalu piirkonnas loendati 23 000 ja kogu Eestis 55 000 sookurge. Tookord oli arvatavasti tegemist rändlindudele erakordselt hea aastaga ning ka loendusaeg sattus rände haripunkti.

Photo: Remo Savisaar

Loe ka ühest armsast nädalavahetusest koos laste ja lindudega...