Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's Solstice tomorrow

We’ll give you a photo-gallery for Christmas, click here to see it...

It's freezing outside and it's already as dark as it gets – the days won't grow shorter any more. During the last days the windows are covered in ice ferns. No wind and drifting snow any more, but it's still snowing slightly. Mortimer's walkabout is getting shorter every day – cold paws, you know ...

The bird-feeder is full of hustle. There are Great Tits, Marsh Tits, Blue Tits, Greenfinches, Nuthatches and House Sparrows – pretty colourful company, isn't it? A Great Spotted Woodpecker is bullying there every morning. I don't mind, there is enough for everyone. Still no Bullfinches.

Prolonged mornings and lazy evenings are passing quietly and contemplatively in the candle-light, the only sound being the spits and cracks of the fireplace.

It's Solstice tomorrow, the very first winter-day.

On behalf of the Estonian Nature Tours´ team 
Marika Mann

Homme on pööripäev

Kingime teile jõuludeks pildigalerii, seda näed siin... 

Õues on pakane ja enam pimedamaks minna ei saa. Juba mitmendat päeva on aknad jäälillemustritega kirjatud. Tuisk on järele andnud, kuid lund sajab tasapisi juurde. Mortimeri jalutusring jääb aina lühemaks – käpad külmad, käpad külmad...

Lindude söögimajas käib tihe askeldamine. Kohal on rasvatihased , sootihased , sinitihased, rohevindid , puukoristajad ja koduvarblased – päris liigirikas plats, kas pole? Suur kirjurähn laiutab ka igal hommikul. Mina teda ära ei aja, jätkub kõigile. Leevikesi veel ei ole.

Pikad hommikud ja laisad õhtud mööduvad küünalde valguses vaikselt ja mõtiskledes, ainsaks heliks sageli vaid praksuv tuli ahjus ja pliidi all.

Homme on pööripäev, algab talv.

Estonian Nature Tours´i nimel
Marika Mann

Monday, December 17, 2012

Migration Map News

Since 2005 the Estonian Ornithological Society and the Eagle Club have placed satellite and GPS receivers on birds. Receivers are placed on the birds primarily for the purpose of researching the species and organising protection. All of these birds have also been named.

This year, the Migration Map autumn season started in mid July. Migration map has upgraded, though the changes are not obvious - there are added new players, Opreys of ESTLAT project and a completely new species - White-tailed Eagle. It is likely that all the birds we can follow this year are now visible on Migration Map. You can see four new juvenile Cranes (Ahja3, Juula2, Kadaja ja Hauka), and at least three of these are already heading south. There are alkso juveniles tracked in previous years from numbered territories. For example, Ahja2 got his transmitter in 2011 and spent this summer in the border area between Belarus and Ukraine. Cranes are tracked by Estonian University of Life Sciences. 

 White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) / Remo Savisaar

White-tailed Eagle Nimeta (which means No Name!) was rehabilitated in Vet Clinicum and released in Eastern Estonia. He did not move much for a week, but then started to fly north. He was found in the Finnish Gulf and we can assume he’ll return there. We will see if he was already breeding somewhere... Nimeta is tracked with support of voluntary donations.

Another interesting track is that of Piret the Osprey. For some reason having crossed the Sudan border she then turned back north. Another Osprey of ESTLAT Eagles project Ilze stopped for some time in Hungary at the Hortobagy National Park. The male Osprey Eriks stopped in Bulgaria, but Estonian Ilmar is still at its breeding grounds. Lesser Spotted Eagles are also starting to migrate.

To see Migration Map click here...

Estonian Ornithological Society
Eagle Club

Friday, December 14, 2012

ONCE IN A LIFETIME! Fox Sparrow break in ESTONIA

From 295 € pp.

For twitchers who can make a very quick decision and are keen to see the extremely rare vagrant Fox Sparrow, we now offer a 2-day bargain trip.
Book now so you don’t miss out on this rare opportunity!
The offer is valid from today until such date that the bird decides to move on.
We kindly request that you contact us directly before booking flights. Our local guide, Tarvo Valker will be checking the site daily and will be able to confirm whether the bird is still present.

Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) / Tarvo Valker

More than a week ago, an extremely rare vagrant Fox Sparrow was found in Estonia, just one hour drive from our capital, Tallinn. So far, nearly 100 twitchers from Estonia, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, UK and Belgium have been fortunate enough come over and see this bird. The bird is still present and many birdwatchers think that it could easily stay here for several more weeks, meaning that there will be a very good chance for everybody to come to Estonia to twitch this stunning passerine.

The normal distribution range of the Fox Sparrow is in North-America, while in Europe there have only been 2 previous confirmed records of this extremely rare vagrant.  The last time this bird was recorded in Europe was 51 years ago! Obviously nobody knows how long the bird will stay.

The Fox Sparrow became the 386th bird species recorded in Estonia.

To see a video clip about emotions of one of the top Western-Palearctic species twitchers, Bosse Carlsson from Sweden, click here... 
Scroll down and click to the video, wait about 30 seconds, after a Vodka advert :)

Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) / Source: Wikipedia

Estonian Nature Tours is offering to help make your twitching trip to Estonia as comfortable as possible. We offer a short trip which will include a rental car driven by a keen birdwatcher who will make all due efforts to ensure that you see the Fox Sparrow, as well as a one night stay at a comfortable hotel. The location of the hotel allows for further birding in the wonderful surrounding areas, looking for northern bird specialties like Waxwing, Great Grey Shrike, Long-tailed Duck, Pine Grosbeak (possible), White-backed Woodpecker and Hazel Hen, to name only a few!

For a group size of  2-8 people, price includes local transportation, guide, one dinner and one night in hotel with private facilities and breakfast. Exclude international tickets and insurance. All you have to do is get yourself to Tallinn Airport (or Tallinn Harbor) where our local guide will meet you.

For futher information on Fox Sparrow break or any of bargain birdwatching trips we have on offer, plus booking details, terms and conditions please phone or e-mail us:

Tel:  +372 5349 6695 / E-mail:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rare in Europe Fox Sparrow was spotted in Estonia

Last Sunday Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) was the very first time spotted in Estonia. It is also very rare throughout the whole Europe.

Just in the middle of November another European rarity, the Dusky Thrush was also spotted in Estonia, where it usually doesn’t occur. And now, some weeks later the Fox Sparrow was here.

Fox Sparrow is so incredibly rare because this is a North American species, as the birdwatchers say, having been spotted in Europe only  two or three times.

Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) / Source: Wikipedia

„Rarities happen to be in the birdwatchers‘ sight unexpectedly and this exactly happened there at the wastewater sewage plant in Haapsalu, where the local well-known birdwatcher  Aivar Veide happened upon the bird. He was lucky enough to get the pictures right away, but first it was not clear, what it was, because the species is missing from the keybooks of Europe,” said Margus Ots, the chairman of the Bird Rarities Committee of the Estonian Ornithological Society to the “Terevisioon” broadcast. “These pictures spread quickly in the internet and the species was soon determined.”

To explain, how the rare Fox Sparrow could happen to Estonia Margus Ots  said, that the outermost distant rarities come to pass here mainly with the same reason – something went wrong on the migration route.

“The bird may have been hit by a storm and then carried away even onto another continent. Another suspicion is, when talking about small Passerines, that being out on the Atlantic Ocean due to a storm or whatnot, they may take a wrong ship to rest on and travel towards Europe instead,” said Ots.

How it will cope with our winter, Ots ould not say.

The rarity has been watched by dozens of birdwatchers both from Estonia and from Finland. “While this is a rare bird throughout Europe then we may expect birdwatchers from further countries as well, such as Great Britain and similar,” Ots commented. Obviously nobody knows how long the bird will stay in one place.

The Fox Sparrow became the 386th bird species ever met in Estonia.

Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) / Aivar Veide

Source: ERR 04.12.2012

Eestis nähti Euroopas üliharuldast rebassidrikut

Möödunud pühapäeval nähti Eestis esmakordselt rebassidrikut (Passerella iliaca), kes on kogu Euroopas väga harvaesinev linnuliik.

Alles novembri keskpaigas nähti Eestis esmakordselt kogu Euroopas harvanähtavat ruskerästast, kes tavaliselt Eestisse ei satu. Möödunud pühapäeval nähti Eestis aga esmakordselt üliharuldast rebassidrikut.

Rebassidriku teeb linnuvaatlejate sõnul üliharuldaseks see, et teda on Euroopas ainult paar-kolm korda nähtud. Tegelikult toimetab ta hoopis Põhja-Ameerikas.

Rebassidrik (Passerella iliaca) / Allikas: Wikipedia

"Haruldused satuvad väga ootamatult linnuvaatlejate vaatevälja ja sellegagi seal Haapsalu veepuhastusjaama juures läks nii, et Haapsalu tuntud linnuvaatleja Aivar Veide sellele linnule otsa sattus. Ta sai õnneks ruttu ka pildid, kuid kohe polnud selge, kellega tegu on, sest Euroopa linnumäärajates teda ei ole," rääkis "Terevisioonile" Eesti ornitoloogiaühingu linnuharulduste komisjoni esimees Margus Ots.

"Pildid levisid aga ruttu internetis ja määrang oli õige kiiresti selge," lisas ta.

Küsimusele, kuidas võis haruldane rebassidrik Eestisse sattuda, vastas Ots, et kaugelt tulnud eksikülalised satuvad siia enamasti sel põhjusel, et rändeteel on midagi vussi läinud.

"Lind on kas tormi kätte jäänud ja siis lausa teisele kontinendile sattunud. Väikeste värvuliste puhul võib aga kahtlustada seda, et kui ta näiteks tormiga sattus Atlandi ookeanile, siis osa maad sõitis ta Euroopa poole hoopis laeva pardal," märkis Ots.

Seda, kas lind Eesti talvega hakkama saab, ei osanud Ots öelda.

Haruldust on Otsa sõnul vaatamas käinud juba kümned linnuvaatlejat nii Eestist kui ka Soomest. "Kuna tegemist on Euroopas väga haruldase eksikülalisega, mõned ükskikud korrad on teda Euroopas nähtud, siis võib arvata, et linnuvaatlejaid tuleb lisaks naabermaadele ka kaugemalt - Inglismaalt ja mujaltki."

Samas tõdes ta, et pole teada, kui kauaks lind ühe koha peale püsima jääb.

Rebassidrikust sai 386. linnuliik, keda eales Eestis nähtud.

Rebassidrik (Passerella iliaca) / Aivar Veide 

Allikas: ERR 04.12.2012

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Bears in Estonia are moving to the West

The abundance of bears has been growing during the latest decade little by little. As the consequence they have recently moved from the Middle Estonia to the West. While there were no bear litters in the Läänemaa County six years ago, then the latest count was showing four females with cubs. Leaving the female bears be unhunted has helped to increase their distribution area.

Peep Männil from the Department of Wildlife Monitoring has referred to the clear increase in the abundance of bears both in the Läänemaa County and in the Western part of the Harju County. “It can be mostly explained with the intensiveness of hunting: the pressure in these areas has been constantly low and so far no adult female bears have been hunted there,” explained he.

According to the latest abundance estimation there are 650-700 bears in the woods of Estonia. As a comparative remark we should say that the number of wolves is about 250 and the number of lynxes is up to 600.

Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) / Valeri Štšerbatõh

As of the bears it has been speculated that the increment rate has now stabilized after a prolonged increase period, mostly due to comparatively active hunting. In the previous season 53 bears were hunted, this year the number was 55.

The action plan of protection and containment of large carnivores for 2012-2021 is aiming at holding the number of bears at the level of 60 litters with cubs and 600 specimen as a minimum. Additionally it has been planned to carry on hunting as the remedy of preserving the fearfulness and to minimize bear damages.

Männil emphasized that for the protection of the bear population it is equally important to maintain their distribution to the Southern counties and prohibit hunting closer than 50 km to the Southern border.

Large carnivores have become extremely attractive nature tourism targets in Europe, mainly due to their low abundance and constrained distribution areas. Several countries, where the number of large predators is higher, have been dealing with this tourism branch for a long time already and lately it has started to developed in Estonia as well. The biggest attraction have been undoubtedly the bears. Unlike with wolves and lynxes it is possible to watch the bears, to take pictures and video clips and attract them to the feeding grounds and hides.

Tracks of Brown Bear / Bert Rähni

The bears are active mostly in the twilight and at night. In the daytime they are usually sleeping in some sheltered place and leave when people get too close. Therefore it is not easy to meet a bear in the wild. Right now the bears are taking their winter’s nap or making the last preparations for the sleep.