Estonian Nature Tours: Birdwatching in Estonia

Although not widely discovered yet, Estonia is ideal country for observing one of the most spectacular natural shows – massive bird migration. This smallest and northernmost Baltic country lies on the crossroad of the Eastern Atlantic migratory flyway: Estonia is locked between the Finnish Gulf, eastern coast of Baltic Sea and Lake Peipsi near the Russian border.

In this respect, geographically the Estonian waters and coastline are the natural stepping-stones, the most natural flyway between breeding and wintering areas for millions of Arctic waterbirds, making birdwatching in Estonia fabulous at this time of year.

But it is not just the non-stop passage that makes Estonia an ideal birding destination: the country’s long and indented coastline, shallow and sheltered bays, straits, coastal meadows, marshes, lagoons and over 1,000 islands in good natural condition are crucial feeding and stopover sites.

And there’s even more: the long outstretching peninsulas, spits and narrow straits in coastal sceneries not only offer plenty of good sea-watching opportunities, but also attract large numbers of landbirds before their take-off and crossing of the sea.
Spring birdwatching in Estonia begins in late March when woodpeckers start their drumming, Capercaillies become very active under the old pine forests at dusk and all the swamps and bogs resound with Black Grouses at sunrise.

Steller’s Eider is easily observed in their wintering grounds and when it gets dark you can hear the calls of owls in the forest and observe Woodcocks flying above you. On shallow bays, their traditional feeding sites, there are thousands of Whooper and Bewick’s Swans and different duck species, on the fields gather tens of thousands of geese.
During the migration season, the crowds of southward-rushing birds can be seen in incredible numbers: several hundreds of thousands of waterfowl or passerine migrants can be seen passing per day at the best sites at the peak season. As many as one million of waterfowl and nearly three-quarters of passerines are observed per day as top figures.

In total, over 50 million of waterbirds are estimated to pass the Estonian coast and marine territories annually. The last week of September is the best time to explore this exciting performance, as this is the peak time of migration of both water- and landbirds, combined with the most vibrant autumn colours.

Learn More About Estonia: Featured ecoDestination

Estonia is a small country, situated on the Baltic coast between Russia, Finland, Latvia and Sweden. Estonian territory is about same as the Netherlands, but the population (1.4 million) is eleven times less, which means that there is lot of space for nature. About 50% of country is covered by forests and woods, and is home to eagles, wolves, brown bears and lynx. People of Estonia often call themselves the “forest people”, and have lived on these lands since Stone Age. more…

European Ecotourism Conference (EETC), Pärnu, Estonia, September 26-30, 2010

Join TIES and Estonian Ecotourism Association this September at the EETC 2010, being hosted in Pärnu, Estonia, and you will have the unique opportunity to meet ecotourism leaders from across Estonia and Europe. Pre- and Post-conference tours include: Kayaking in the Bay of Tallinn and Elk watching and wolf tracking. To learn more about the conference program and to register, go to the EETC 2010 webpage.Don’t forget to join the EETC group on Facebook and LinkedIn to participate in on-going discussions about ecotourism in Europe!