Monday, July 16, 2012

Birdwatching in Estonia – even better than Poland!

„I was encouraged to go to Estonia after winning a free bearwatching excursion in an ‘Estonian Nature Tours’ competition, but also because I’d always wondered why every birder who’s been to this country raves about it. In fact it exceeded our expectations. On the face of it, Estonia might seem very similar to Poland, with a similar list of species minus aquatic warblers, collared flycatchers and some others. But, having been to both countries, I think Estonia is better. It’s just chock full of birds!

Estonia is surely one of the most relaxing foreign excursions a UK birder could take. English is universally spoken (fluently!), everyone is helpful, it’s very safe and crime-free, the roads are almost empty  and there is a general cleanness and efficiency about the place.

At the bear hide, we were the only visitors, since the bears were reported to have left the area and not been seen for a week (they returned a couple of days after our visit). The forest was deathly silent as we waited; a Red Fox paced the boundary, then vanished. Then at 10pm to our amazement a Great Grey Owl appeared and began hunting right in front of the hide! This Estonian rarity was presumably hunting rats attracted by the  carcasses left out for the bears, and after watching it for nearly an hour, it pounced on something and flew off. Two Raccoon Dogs also came to feed in front of the hide, and the owl reappeared for a time in the early hours of the morning. So, no bears, but a very good night’s work!“ P.C. / UK, May-June 2012

Photo: Robin Dryden

Photo: Robin Dryden

Photo: Robin Dryden

Photo: Robin Dryden

Photo: Robin Dryden

Photo: Robin Dryden

Photo: Robin Dryden

video
 Great Grey Owl / Paul Cropper

In total, 174 species of birds seen during a trip. The mentioned observation of Great Grey Owl has been submitted for an approval to Estonian Rarities Committee. On average, five times a year Great Grey Owl has been seen in recent years.

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