Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Incredible Hawk Owl invasion in Estonia!

 Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula) / Remo Savisaar

This year has seen the biggest invasion of Hawk Owls to take place in Estonia for many years. The first birds started to appear in late August – nearly two months earlier than usual. During this autumn up till the end of November birders have found 32 different Hawk Owls, an astonishing number for such a little country. Some of Estonian Nature Tours autumn bird trips offered brilliant views of this stunning northern owl.

 This shot was taken by Luke Massey in North-East Estonia in Autumn 2013

Normally there are no more than 10 individuals encountered during one season. Yet this years movement has been already more spectacular than ever. It is impossible to predict the final numbers we will have by the end of winter, but it is clear that this is the best time ever to twitch hawk owls in Estonia this winter.
Stop thinking – come to Estonia NOW!

For birdwatchers who can make a quick decision and are keen to see this stunning northern bird; the Hawk Owl plus other specific species as Black Grouse, Hazel Grouse and White-backed Woodpecker, we now have 3-day bargain tours. Invite a friend, or even a few and contact us, book a suitable period, and start packing! Group sizes can vary from 2-7 people. The price includes local transportation, a guide, two dinners and two nights in hotel/guesthouse with private facilities and breakfast. 

White-backed Woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos) / Sven Zacek

2-3 pax                 495 € per person
4-7 pax                 395 € pp.
Single suppl.          70 € 

For futher information on 3-day bargain trips we have on offer, plus booking details, terms and conditions please phone or e-mail us:

Tel:  +372 5349 6695 / E-mail:

A good hawk owl invasion usually lasts till at least early March, but with the amazing numbers they are expected to stay until mid-April. By joining one of our early Spring tours, there is a great opportunity to see the Hawk Owl.

Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula) in Estonia in winters 1996/1997–2011/2012

During this period at least 76 Hawk Owls were observed in Estonia,including autumn and spring migrants. Apparent invasions were registered in winters 2002/2003, 2005/2006, 2009/2010, 2010/2011 and 2011/2012. No Hawk Owls were observed in winter 2000/2001. Most of birds were met from November to January. The earliest observation dates from the 11thof September and the latest from the last days of March. Site fidelity of wintering Hawk Owls is quite high, 11 birds held a territory longer than one month. All individuals were solitary ones.
More than half of birds were met in western counties (Läänemaa and Pärnumaa). Uku Paal / Hirundo 25 (2012)

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