Friday, December 19, 2014

I was simply amazed at the beauty of Estonia...


“Both Stephen and I have travelled widely and seen a lot of the World’s natural wonders and wildlife. But this holiday will stand out for the reasons I have given below. So, it remains for me to thank you all very, very much for giving us such a wonderful holiday. I’ll never forget it…

I was simply amazed at the beauty of Estonia, especially as the leaves changed colour. As you may know I was particularly interested in the history of the country and its past politics. Despite the challenges, it has become a lively, successful and optimistic country. You can feel the will to succeed and we found the Estonian people charming. I think Stephen will confirm that we felt a real ‘bond’ with the people of your country.

A view to the Kabli bird station Heligoland trap. Photo: Wilf Powell

It was a great group of people and we shall keep in touch with them. All were relaxed, happy, enthusiastic and interesting people. So easy to get on with and we thoroughly enjoyed their company. Tarvo and his incredible level of skill were indispensable to the enjoyment and value of the trip. Without those skills and his hard work, we would not have got the high level of value and enjoyment that we did from the adventure. And both he and the lovely lady at the farm in Kihnu coped so well with the enforced change of plan due to the weather. I really liked the hotels you organised, especially the distillery and the farm stay was great. The migration was terrific to experience for me and summed up when we came across that little still-warm Goldcrest that had died that morning and just couldn’t make it! Nature can be both cruel and humbling…

The smallest passerine in Europe – Goldcrest. Photo: Stephen Judd
 
Tallinn was lovely and the hotel you booked us was excellent and the staff great and so helpful. We really enjoyed the football and mingling with the fans of both England and Estonia. The tickets were good and the tasty food and free beer much enjoyed. Thanks very much for getting them for us. They were most appreciated. We didn’t get to see the art museums after all, but the walking tour you organised was great. We especially liked the wooden coat of arms in the church and of course the cathedral. We also thoroughly enjoyed the Seaplane Museum, which is quite unique!

My intention is to visit again, possibly in the Spring, to see the things we missed and re-visit some and would contact you to sort out something for us. I’d really like to go in search of bears and other mammals as well as bears.”
 
Mike and Stephen J. Autumn 2014 - Migration Hotspots in Estonia

Click here to read Migration Hotspots in Estonia Tour report...

Estonia may be small externally but we think it is big internally!


We are grateful that you've noticed us, and that you are interested in our beautiful country and its wildlife.   


We hope you find something in our brochure that will tempt you but would also like to add that while everything we say in our brochure is true - it is not easy to put into words the pleasure of visiting our country beyond simply seeing and enjoying the wildlife.  We frequently find that two or three days into a trip people start asking questions!  Questions like Where are all  your people? Where are all the cars?  They talk of the pleasure of being somewhere you can listen to the sounds of nature in silence while being in a safe environment.  If we add to this the delight of travel in a country with excellent roads and clean roadsides and streets plus delicious food and friendly people who speak English - well surely this country would like a dream land!  


Estonia may be small externally but we think it is big internally!

Estonian Nature Tours has been a pioneer in developing nature and bird tourism throughout Estonia. We have 11 years experience of organising outstanding wildlife holidays in this fabulous country and feedback from our clients has always been very positive.  We try as much as possible to respond to requests quickly. We always communicate with our customers sincerely and personally. Cordiality and humour are also important to us and at the same time, we expect mutual respect - we don´t think that our customer is “king”, our client is our guest and we want to take care of him, or her, in the best possible way. Believe it or not - we have developed a fan club, with many of our customers visiting Estonia with our help again and again!

ENT office team (from left side: Hille, Marika and Raili) 

One more thing that makes us special - there are very few tourist companies where the owner takes the time to greet a group at the airport or in the office (we are located in the countryside). And there may be no other company in the world where the owner bakes a cake for her customers or offers a picnic-basket on an evening boat-trip!  We always want your trip to be special and believe little details like these make the difference.

We like to think of Estonian Nature Tours as small internally but big externally.
                        

Come to Estonia and feel it for yourself!

On behalf of the Estonian Nature Tours team, sincerely
Marika Mann

Friday, December 12, 2014

Send a postcard to Your friend and do a favour to an endangered butterfly!


The one and only known habitat of an endangered butterfly species Scythris penicillata in the whole World is located in Kogula, Saaremaa island. Thereby the destiny of this tiny creature is commended to our hands. We speak here about a really petty bronze-brown butterfly with its wingspan of 9 mm. This extremely rare species was discovered by Finnish lepidopterologists in 1994 in Kogula, Saaremaa. They had a hard time of identifying the species, until given a hand by Swedish scientist Bengt Bengtsson, one of the best specialists of this family in the world. Scythris penicillata was first escribed  in 1900 in French Alps. In after years the habitat was so severely altered by human that the species was never spotted again.


Buying and sending the donation postcard, published in cooperation between Estonian Fund for Nature (ELF) and lepidopterologists as a gift, one can contribute to protecting the endangered butterfly species  Scythris penicillata and its habitat. The donation postcard was published with the help of volunteers. Illustrations and layout of the postcard are by Maria Karolin. Printing was supported by the print shop Kroonpress. The postcards are printed with vegetable oil printing inks on small carbon footprint paper, using only precipitation water and renewable electricity

Donation postcards are available in the ELF office for subscription by mail. There are five, ten and twenty Euros donation amount postcards to choose among. First make the money transfer and then send your subscription together with the postal address to elf@elfond.ee or make a call: +372 742 8443.

Payment details:

Receiver: Eestimaa Looduse Fond
Receiver address : Lai 29, Tartu, ESTONIA
IBAN: EE282200221005100292
Bank name: Swedbank      
Bank address: Liivalaia 8, 15040 Tallinn, ESTONIA
Bank BIC/SWIFT code: HABAEE2X

Video clip (90 sec, in Estonian) feturing Urmas Jürivete (specialist of petty butterflies, Estonian Lepidopterologists Society) introducing Scythris penicillata:



We have still places on our Butterflies & Dragonflies Holidays 2015:

Wild Flowers & Butterflies                    
Sun 7th Jun - Sun 14th Jun         
An 8-day fully-inclusive holiday in search of wild flowers and other wildlife of Estonia, amongst them a fine selection of orchids and rare butterfly species such as Baltic Grayling, Scarce Heath, Scarce Fritillary, Frigga's Fritillary, Bog Fritillary, Cranberry Blue, Clouded Apollo, Northern Chequered Skipper, Poplar Admiral etc.

Scarce Fritillary (Euphydryas maturna) / Wilfred Powell
 
Dragonfly Holiday                                
An 8-day wildlife holiday in search of the dragonflies (and butterflies) of Estonia, amongst them a fine selection of rare species as Siberian Winter Damsel, Azure Hawker, Green Hawker, Bog Hawker, Baltic Hawker, Dark Whiteface, Spearhead Bluet, Yellow-Spotted Emerald as well as Baltic Grayling, Scarce Heath, Scarce Fritillary, Frigga's Fritillary, Bog Fritillary, Cranberry Blue, Clouded Apollo, Northern Chequered Skipper, Poplar Admiral etc.

Woodland Brown (Lopinga achine) / Wilfred Powell

 Siberian Winter Damselfly (Sympecma paedisca) / Peeter Vissak

Clouded Apollo (Parnassius mnemosyne) / Mike Williams

Yellow-Winged Darter (Sympetrum flaveolum) / Peeter Vissak

Northern Chequered Skipper ( carterocephal silvicolus) / Wilfred Powell


For futher information on Butterfly trips we have on offer, plus booking details, terms and conditions please phone or e-mail us:
Tel:  +372 5349 6695 / E-mail: info@naturetours.ee


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Kingi sõbrale kaart ja ohustatud liblikale heategu!


Ohustatud liblika Scythris penicillata ainus maailmas tänapäeval teadaolev elupaik asub Saaremaal Kogulas. Seega on selle pisikese liblika saatus usaldatud meie kätte. Tegu on väga väikse, umbes 9 mm tiibade siruulatusega, pronksjas pruuni liblikaga. Üliharuldase liblika avastasid Saaremaal Kogulas Soome liblikateadlased 1994. aastal. Liigi määramisega oli tükk tegemist, lõpuks aitas selle kindlaks teha Rootsi lepidopteroloog Bengt Bengtsson, kes on selle sugukonna paremaid tundjaid maailmas. Esmakordselt kirjeldati Scythris penicillata’t Prantsusmaa Alpides 1900. aastal. Hilisema inimtegevuse tõttu oli sealne elupaik sedavõrd muutunud, et liblikat enam ei leitud.



SA Eestimaa Looduse Fondi (ELF) ja lepidopteroloogide koostöös sündinud annetuskaardi kinkimisega saab ohustatud liblika Scythris penicillata ja tema elupaiga kaitsmisele kaasa aidata. Annetuskaart valmis vabatahtlike abil. Kaardi illustratsioonide autor ja kujundaja on Maria Karolin. Trükkimisega toetas ettevõtmist trükikoda Kroonpress. Kaardid on trükitud taimsetel õlidel põhinevate trükivärvidega väga madala süsinikujalajäljega paberile, kasutades vihmavett ning ainult taastuvatest ressurssidest toodetud elektrit.

Annetuskaarte saab osta Tartu loodusmajast ja ELFi kontorist või tellida posti teel veebilehelt www.elfond.ee/annetuskaart. Samadest kohtadest saab soetada ka varem valminud annetuskaarti ohustatud linnu, niidurüdi toetuseks. Valikus on viie, kümne ja kahekümne euro suuruse annetusega kaardid.

Videoklipp (1,5 min, eesti keeles), kus Urmas Jürivete (pisiliblikate uurija, Eesti Lepidopteroloogide Selts) tutvustab Scythris penicillata’t:


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Join our Steller's Eider Break 2015!

The following videos were filmed during Wise Birding Holidays, giving you an idea of some of the great wildife encounters that are possible with us in Estonia!

 Steller's Eider (Polysticta stelleri) / Jari Peltomäki

We have still places on our Steller's Eider Breaks 2015:

Request our tour packages also from Wise Birding Holidays...

video
Steller's Eider Flock / Undva Point 24th Feb 2014

video
Drake Steller's Eider / Undva Point 25th Feb 2014

video
Hawk Owl / Estonia 26th Feb 2014



Friday, October 31, 2014

ENT guide Neil Aldridge is the 2014 European Wildlife Photographer of the Year!


Estonian Nature Tours Wildlife Photography Tour guide, Neil Aldridge, has won the overall title of 2014 GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

"It’s with humility and immense pride that I can announce that my photograph ‘Living Rock Art‘ has won me the overall title of 2014 GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year.". The full story can be seen here...

Congratulations, Neil! 
 
 The photograph is an artistic take on two blesbok antelope stampeding across the plains 
of South Africa’s Kariega Game Reserve / Neil Aldridge
 

Join Neil Aldridge and Remo Savisaar and travel from coast to forest and from bog to riverbank photographing Estonia's wildlife and wild places. Highlights of the trip include the chance to photograph bears and other forest-dwelling mammals like elk and wild boar. Beaver sightings have also been excellent on previous trips. Estonia has great swathes of forest and picturesque bogs that give the chance to focus on landscape photography. On top of that, Estonia boasts a bird list of over 300 species.

Click here to see Neil Aldridge and Remo Savisaar gallery.
Click here to read more our Wildlife Photography Tour 2015 with Neil Aldridge.


Brown bears (Ursus arctos) / Neil Aldridge



Monday, October 27, 2014

International Award of Nature Photography. OASIS PHOTOCONTEST 2014

We are pleased to forward a press release of the international wildlife photography competition Oasis Photocontest 2014:

International Award of Nature Photography
OASIS PHOTOCONTEST 2014

The new edition of Oasis Photocontest 2014 is finally here, promoted by Oasis magazine. The major Italian competition of nature photography and one of the most important worlwide.
Registrations are open until 31 December 2014. Registration...

"For all fans of photography, it is a great opportunity to present your work to the general public, thanks to its wide diffusion, result of a major promotion in Italy and abroad, the catalogue and Oasis Photocontest exhibition, which every year tours Italy stopping by in the major cities. Last year this event was attended by over 350,000 people", Alessandro Cecchi Paone, Oasis' new editor in chief.

More than 100 recognitions and a total money prize of 30,000 Euro. The overall winner will receive a cash prize of 2,000 Euros and the prestigious Oasis Photocontest trophy, a valuable sculpture in bronze made by the Italian artist Michele Vitaloni. The best Italian author will receive a prize of 1,000 euros. Important cash prizes will be given to the top three winners in each section.

Another great prize that we have consists of the publication of your photo in the official Oasis Photocontest 2014 catalogue, the most important showcase of nature photography in Italy and at international level, printed in English and Italian. In addition to the best 103 awarded images, the catalogue will feature a thousand photographs that will have reached the final.

This contest is divided into 9 sections (young people under 18 can participate in a category reserved for them):
LANDSCAPES
MAMMALS
BIRDS
ALL THE OTHER ANIMALS
STORYBOARD: STORIES TOLD THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY
UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY
PEOPLE
PLANTS
PETS

The deadline is December 31, 2014.
All information and registration details can be found on the official website: www.oasisphotocontest.com
For journalists, bloggers and association leaders, we provide you with some high resolution images of last year's edition of the competition which you can download by clicking on the link below. Please inform your readers and associates about the new edition of our contest, they will surely welcome it.

Thank you
the staff of Oasis


Would you like to see the latest edition of our catalog? If yes, please click here...
To download our ambassador photos of edition 2013,  please click here...

 
Winners 2013:



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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Abundance of mammals in Estonia


The abundance of Lynx has dropped significantly recently and researchers have therefore suggested to stop hunting this carnivore in the upcoming season. The reason for the decline has been a sharp drop in the abundance of Roe Deer in 2010, when females were no longer able to supply their offspring by adequate nutrition. Over the last two years, three adult female Lynx have been equipped by monitoring devices. The average size of their territories has been 200 square kilometers. When Lynx abundance was high, the average size of male territories was 180 square kilometers, but this year's territories are on average four to five times higher, 800 square kilometers!

Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) / Remo Savisaar

Lynx (Felis lynx) / Sven Zacek


There has also been a slight decline in numbers of Brown Bear and Wolves. There were about 20 Wolf packs in Estonia this year after a steady decline from 31 packs in 2011.  Wolf packs are found in specific area and this is not influenced by other wolves in areas nearby.  Since last summer, local researchers were able to observe in detail the movements of two Wolf packs in Pärnu and Viljandi County as the alpha females of these packs were radio tagged.  Both of the territory sizes were found to be in the range of 700-750 square kilometers. The amount of damage caused to farmers by wolves has continuously declined since 2011, which is probably due to the decrease in their numbers.  

Wolf (Canis lupus) / Valeri Štšerbatõh

   Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) / Luke Massey


The abundance of Wild Boar and Raccoon Dogs is still high but there has been a moderate decline in Elk and Red Deer numbers which primarily inhabit in the two islands, Hiiumaa and Saaremaa. Roe Deer populations that were severely damaged by previous snowy and very cold winters have begun to recover.
The numbers for Pine Marten and Beaver have fallen slightly, but more significantly for Foxes, while numbers of European Polecat, Badger, Mountain and European Hare have increased. Also of interest - a new species of mammal was recorded for Estonia - the Golden Jackal, a species who's range has been gradually moving north and west in recent years.

Elk (Alces alces) / Luke Massey

Racoon Dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) / Valeri Štšerbatõh

Wild boars (Sus scrofa) / Sven Zacek



Migration Map News


On the current migration map the autumn season started in mid-July. Our new Osprey named Tiiu has surprise us all as no previous Estonian Osprey has gone to western Africa. Seems Tiiu wants to stay in Cote d'Ivoire. 

The hybrid Spotted Eagle (mix between Greater and Lesser Spotted Eagles) Tunne started in July and used quite a different migration route to last year, flying first northwards, from Russian Kaliningrad oblast to Latvia and then stopping near the Bosporus in Turkey. Last year he wintered 750km westward, in Montenegro.


Our Black Stork, Raivo, was rather late with breeding this year and therefore started his journey south quite late too.  He made good time with his travels however and arrived at his wintering grounds in Near East, Jordan Valley by 15th September.  A new Black Stork on the map is from Slovenia, his name is Francek. Francek started to migrate in 8th August and took quite a dangerous route over southern Italy and Sicily. According to the data Francek stopped over in the Rosmarino River mouth in northern Sicily. Probably that was caused by stormy weather there, but after awhile Francek continued his journey. He is in now in northern Tunisia.

Our famous Crane Ahja 4, began migration on 24th Sept and moved from Estonia to Belorussia. It will be interesting to see where he winters this year as last winter he spent wintered in Ethiopia together with its parents.

Lesser Spotted Eagles (LSE) are migrating quite close to each other and the distance between individuals has shortened during migration to just two-three days. There are more LSEs on the map than earlier as satellite tags were being used to collect data about their home range and the migration data is extra information. For LSEs it is typical that they avoid crossing even short expanses of water and will ganerally prefer an overland route even if it is longer.  For example they don't like crodssing the Suez Gulf even thought he width is only 20-40 km, but fly round it, whereas Black Storks do not avoid Suez Gulf, but choose better weather and wind to make the crossing.

The Greater Spotted Eagle Iti started slowly migration nn 3rd October. There is still no data about Tõnn, probably our most famous bird during the years... 





EuroBirdWatch 2014


The international birdwatching event EuroBirdwatch 2014 on the weekend of 4-5 October was attended by 40 countries from Europe and Central Asia. In Estonia, over 300 people participated in the event and collected 98 sighting lists, the longest of which was 111 species of birds. At several places in Estonia it was also possible to join a guided birding trip. During the weekend over 400,000 birds of 166 species were observed..
Despite the beautiful weather the passerine migration was not great and inland the number of the birds was extremely low. But the situation was totally different near the sea. At Põõsaspea Cape, the international event celebrated by 60-70 birdwatchers from Estonia and abroad saw some superb migration with the season's best counts: nearly 90,000 birds in all. An early passage of Long-tailed Duck produced 58,000 birds with smaller, but still impressive, numbers of Velvet Scoter (5,500), Wigeon (6,300), Pintails (1,050), Scaup (2,300), Red-throated Diver (720), Barnacle Goose (6,800) and Brent Goose (2,180). Also worth mentioning are Dunlin (133) and Grey Plover (32). 

Photo: Aki Aintila

Other species seen in good numbers include Great Tit, Hooded Crow, Black-billed Magpie, Eurasian Jay and Great Spotted Woodpecker and more interesting species were Yellow-browed Warbler, Common Guillemot and Hoopoe. Quite a lot of migratory species that should have already left Estonia were also seen, such as Shelduck, White Stork, Honey Buzzard, Eurasian Curlew, Black Tern, Spotted Flycatcher, Common Redstart, Serin, Sedge Warbler, Blackcap and Penduline Tit.

Monday, September 29, 2014

"Oasis"- the largest travel and nature magazine of Italy- published an article about Estonian wildlife


At the invitation of Estonian Nature Tours two journalists from Italy were visiting Estonia in the beginning of June.
In early September, the latest copy of "Oasis"- the largest travel and nature magazine of Italy- published an 12-page article about Estonian wildlife.


Click on the picture to read the text or read the article here...








We were offered the opportunity to advertize our own travel calendar 2015 as ex gratia for cordial welcome and pleasant cooperation.



Itaalia suurimas reisi- ja loodusajakirjas Oasis ilmus artikkel Eesti loodusest

Estonian Nature Tours´i kutsel viibisid juunikuu alguses Eestis ajakirjanikud Itaaliast. Septembri alguses  ilmus 12-leheküljeline rohke pildimaterjaliga artikkel Itaalia suurimas reisi- ja loodusajakirjas Oasis.

Kliki pildil, et lugeda teksti või loe artiklit siit...

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-bEXixzZBw44/VCkjsVcwd7I/AAAAAAAABr0/VvXlpsgCIAs/s1600/Oasis_Estonia_def_corretto_lowres-page-001.jpg







Tänutäheks lahke vastuvõtu ja meeldiva koostöö eest anti meile võimalus reklaamida ka enda reisikalendrit aastal 2015.




Friday, September 26, 2014

ENT bird guide Tarvo Valker participated in the Batumi Bird Festival


From 15 to 21 September a Bird Festival took place in Batumi (Georgia), where Estonia was reperesented by a birding expert Tarvo Valker. Tarvo stood up with two presentations:  „Spithami - a major flyway for the arctic waterfowls“ and „Nature conservation in Estonia“.



It was already fourth time of this birdwatching event to take place. Batumi is located at the Black Sea coast, which is a major bottleneck for several million birds on their journey from breeding grounds to wintering areas. The aim of this event was to promote this birding area for wider public and encourage more birders to visit that unique hotspot.

Besides Estonia experts from Belarus, Armenia and Azerbaidjan were invited. Several field trips were made together with local stakeholders - including visiting famous Batumi raptor watching point, opening new bird tower at Mtirala National Park and visiting several other nature conservation areas. In the evening the conference was held where experts from abroad shared their excperience in birdwatching and nature conservation work.

It was corporately confirmed by the participants, that Batumi has a huge potential in birdwatching and ecotourism. The main problems are lack of local birders and also massive hunting, including on many endangered bird species. Certainly Batumi Bird Fest will take place also in next autumn.

See also a gallery of Batumi Raptor Count Autumn 2014


Migrating Black Storks / Tarvo Valker

There are still many falconers in Georgia / Tarvo Valker

Over one million raptors pass through Batumi every autumn / Tarvo Valker

Tarvo Valker is on the left side

Tarvo Valker is on the left side

Tarvo Valker is on the left side