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Estonian Nature Tours Newsletter Winter 2017
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Newsletter Winter 2017
Visit ESTONIA and be amazed by its abundant wildlife!

Estonian Nature Tours has often received very positive feedback for its newsletters, people telling us that it is being read with great interest. For several colliding reasons there has been almost a year-long gap since the last one and we sincerely apologize and hope against hope that you still remember us!
Happy reading!

Quick links:
Hot in Estonia! Steller's Eider and Hawk Owl
Visit MATSALU - one of the most internationally

recognised national parks in Europe

Tours 2017/2018
The winners of the Questionnaire in British Birdfair 2016
Bird & Mammal news
ENT & Sustainable Tourism

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Keep up with all the news from Estonian wildlife and best travel offers at the moment via our FacebookTwitter and BlogYou do not need to be a subscriber.
Hot in Estonia! Steller´s Eiders and Hawk Owl

The very first Steller's Eiders have arrived to Estonia. During observations this weekend 35 Steller's Eiders were counted in the wintering areas of Saaremaa Island. In addition, hundreds of Long-Tailed Ducks were counted and dozens of Common and Velvet Scoters, Greater Scaup and Red-throated Divers.


Steller's Eider (Polysticta stelleri) / Photo: Kaarel Võhandu

Uudepanga Bay hosts up to 1000 Seller's Eiders each winter, though often numbers are between 300 and 600. Birds form dense flocks usually far from the shore where they behave synchronously, especially when diving. It is difficult to find them in windy weather and you need to know where to look, so we highly recommend the expertise of a local bird guide.
A Northern Hawk Owl invasion has also begun with now up to five birds spotted in Estonia this winter, two of them on the small islets off the western archipelago. Hawk Owls tend to be very site faithful once established but finding these places by yourself can be difficult so again we suggest using a local bird guide to spot this stunning bird - this way you can save lots of time and energy to see other great birds too!  The season of ENT is already starting so if you are interested in adding these two rare species to your list then it is worth getting in touch soon! Tour dates are 24th - 27th February/10th - 13th March and you can book flights from London Gatwick with Easyjet, or from other airports with British Airways, Finnair, SAS, Ryanair or Air Baltic.
 
Invite your friends, contact us, book a suitable period and start packing! 
For more information > info@naturetours.ee 
Visit MATSALU – one of the most internationally recognized national parks in Europe

Estonian Nature Tours considers Matsalu National Park as its home. The founder and CEO of ENT Marika Mann is living in the park and she worked 10 years in Matsalu before started her career in birdwatching tourism. Our office is just a couple of kilometres away, in Lihula. We love Matsalu Bay and wish to share this beauty with you.


Tuulingu Guesthouse at Matsalu National Park / Source: private collection


For bird watchers who want to enjoy a leisurely birding break with a fabulous variety of birds, we have on offer a fantastic five-day trip to Matsalu National Park. You will stay all four nights at Tuulingu Guesthouse, in the neighbourhood of the famous Haeska watch tower. The record for the highest day list of bird species from a single spot in Northern Europe was achieved from this tower – 128 species by nightfall in May, giving you some idea of the incredible diversity here.
Tour dates are 15th - 19th May/11th - 14th September 
and you can book flights from London Gatwick with Easyjet, or from other airports with British Airways, Finnair, SAS, Ryanair or Air Baltic. 

Invite your friends, contact us, book a suitable period and start packing! 
For more information > info@naturetours.ee
 
Matsalu National Park was founded in 1957 to protect nesting, moulting and migratory birds. Since 1976 Matsalu is included in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of international importance.
Matsalu National Park is the only reserve in the Baltic countries which has been rewarded with the Diploma of the Council of Europe, which confers the distinction of biological, geological and landscape diversity of Matsalu. Read more about Matsalu awards and recognitions >
 
             
Tours 2017/2018

ENT has had a busy year. Besides our existing clientele we have found several new partners, mostly from Great Britain, Germany, Spain and Belgium. The number has grown almost up to 30.  The number of loyal clients has increased as well and that indicates, that we have provided reliable and high quality service.
Our activities are also of great importance in a local context. Several accommodation providers from our network have told us that our clients significantly extend their season and help the enterprises to survive. It is always good to know that our clients are awaited and beloved. Read more >​

Here, we would like to share with you something really marvelous. One of our customers sent us, by post, this little booklet >
Truly touching. With the consent of the artist we used some of his drawings when designing the front and back cover of the ENT brochure 2017.


To order Estonian Nature Tours brochure 2017 (for free) please send your contact details (full address, name) to our e-mail: info@naturetours.ee 

See also a gallery “There is no need for words” > 
With pleasure, we are continiously offering individual bookings on our fully-inclusive holidays. See the selection of best birdwatching, mammal tours and other wildlife holidays in Estonia available for the year 2017/2018 by clicking here >


The Winners of the Questionnaire in British Birdfair 2016
 
For the sixth time, at the British Birdfair 2016, Estonian Nature Tours offered the possibility to win a dream wildlife holiday to Estonia.  We wish to thank everyone who completed our questionnaire and took part in the prize draw. ENT apologise to participants that we have not published the results until now. We very much hope that the winners still have the opportunity to include their visit to Estonia in their plans for 2017.
This time, the prizes were awarded exclusively to women. We are delighted to announce the winners > 
Bird & Mammal News
NGO-s of Estonia claim for changes in birds hunting regulations  
At the same time as Birdlife International is gathering evidence from their partner organizations for a review of illegal killing and taking of birds, the NGOs of Estonia were striving for changes in our regulations to guarantee waterfowl safety in their migration corridors.
On the order of Estonian Ornithological Society (EOY) and Estonian Council of Environmental NGOs (EKO) an analysis was prepared by the Centre for Environmental Law (CEL), revealing that the effective regulation is Estonia is not adequate enough to guarantee sustainable and ecologically balanced waterfowl hunting.
The first time killing of birds caught public interest was two years ago on west Estonia's small islets. According to their local long-time tradition, local hunters would shoot 2-3 Mallards each autumn and that is it. Foreign hunters shoot indiscriminately everything that is flying or swimming around, using forbidden decoys and electronic sounds. Read more >
Petition to protect forests in Estonia
In the latest months there has been a snowball effect civil initiative to reject the new Forest Act. The petition “Let us stop the destruction of Estonia's forests by industrialists!” gathered remarkable 7006 signatures (5000 was expected). ENT team members have supported the petition among others. On December 16, a picket was carried out in front of the Ministry of Environment, which protested against the official state forestry policy, that is concentrating more on forestry than protection of the environment, as was declared by the protesters.
Read more >


Source: www.delfi.ee
International bird races
Every year, in mid-August, an international bird racing event called the Estonian Open takes place in Estonia. The race starts at 3.a.m. and continues for 14 hours in this nonstop birdwatching marathon. The winning team usually spots over 150 bird species, which is really a remarkable result for late summer.
This year's bird race took place at Hiiumaa - our second biggest island. 
Read more >
Flight of the Swans
Sacha’s epic migration has seen her cross the wilderness of the arctic tundra, endure injury, brave freezing temperatures, and battle through snow and thunder storms to make it back to Slimbridge. But the end for Flight of the Swans is just the beginning for WWT.
Their pioneering conservation work continues, saving endangered wildlife and the wetlands they need to survive.
Donate today >
With its efforts to support “the Flight of the Swan” campaign and the establishment of a National Action Plan for the Bewick’s Swan, Estonia demonstrates how these internationally agreed conservation measures can be successfully implemented at a national level. Read more >
Estonia: a blueprint for Bewickś conservation >
Bird of the Year 2018
Estonian Ornithological Society has announced that the winner of the competition for, 'Bird of the Year 2018' is Capercaillie.  

Capercaillie / Photo: Luke Massey

The candidate was chosen as one of the symbols of pristine nature, as 2018 will also be the 100th anniversary of the Estonian Republic. In the final round Golden Eagle and Goldcrest were competing with Capercaillie, and in earlier rounds Black Grouse, Eurasian Jay, Nuthatch, Goosander, Bullfinch and several other species were in the running. Read more > 
Efforts to save the Flying Squirrel
On 18th November this year, Minister of the Environment, Marko Pomerants, sent a regulation on amendment of borders and protection procedures of 13 existing Flying Squirrel protection sites to other ministries to be approved. 25 new protection sites will be established with the same regulation.

Flying Squirrel (Pteromys volans) / Photo: Jean Michel Bompar


The most critical risk factors influencing preservation of the Flying Squirrel population, are isolation and destruction of critical habitats, but also the small number of animals in sub-populations. Due mainly to intensive forest management during last decade, the Siberian Flying Squirrel population has undergone a huge decline. According to monitoring data from 2016 there are only 45 known inhabited sites now left!  The most pessimistic predictions suggest the Flying Squirrel will become extinct in Estonia within 5 years.
Therefore an environmental NGO “MTÜ Noored Rohelised” launched a petition to collect signatures for protection of Flying Squirrel habitats and Estonian forests. Read more >
 

NB! Because Flying Squirrels are endangered you may only visit their territories to observe them with a local expert.  
If you are keen to see (or photograph) this stunning animal then contact us to book a suitable period or a place on our Mammals and Birds in Spring 2018 tour > 
BBC Wildlife: Estonian ecologist Uudo Timm is telling us the story how he fell in love with Siberian flying squirrels. Read an article published in March 2016 issue >
Autumn rarities and migration counts
Like many European countries this autumn, Estonian birders were rewarded with an influx of Siberian Accentors. In all, eight individuals were seen in Estonia this autumn. One of them was still possible to observe a week ago in South-East Estonia!

Siberian Accentor is the 387th bird species for Estonia and at present the only new bird for the country this year.
See the Map of the Siberian Accentor influx in Europe in 2016 > 
 
Estonia is a well known hotspot in Europe for visible migration of passerines and waterfowl migrating from Northwest Russia and Scandinavia to their wintering grounds across western and southern Europe and some of them even to Africa.
The most interesting has been an influx of Long-tailed Tits with massive numbers reported from various places. At Kabli bird station, more than 500 birds were caught for ringing. More than 8000 Long-tailed Tits were counted at Puise Peninsula on 29th September – the 3rd biggest daily count ever for this species. Another star of this autumn has been...
Read more >
„Migration of Estonian Birds” by ENT bird guide Tarvo Valker
This autumn a new Estonian bird book „Migration of Estonian Birds“ was published (in Estonian „Eesti Lindude Ränne”). This is the fifth bird book written by ENT bird guide Tarvo Valker. The book contains an overview of the history of bird migration studies in Estonia, best places to observe visible migration in Estonia, migration maps of different bird groups and affect of the climate change on migratory birds.  This book shows that Estonia is one of the most rapidly warming up place in Europe and many spring migrants arrive now a week or even two weeks earlier than 50 years ago.
Read more >
Thousands of Wild Boars affected by African Swine Fever
Wild Boars have been very numerous throughout Estonia but during the last one and a half years thousands of Wild Boars have been died from African Swine Fever. A huge cull of 11,500 Wild Boars have been shot by hunters during 2016 to reduce Wild Boar population and to avoid spreading the disease to domestig pigs. Nearly 10% of the Wild Boar hunted this year have been affected by African Swine Fever (ASF). Read more >
Golden Jackals continue to spread in Estonia
The Golden Jackal is a fairly new mammal in Estonia, with the first confirmed sightings in 2013. Since then, sightings have become more and more regular. They have been mainly seen, heard and photographed in the coastal areas of West Estonia, including some islands, with only a few sightings from eastern Estonia. Read more >


Golden Jackals at Pärnu county / Source: maaleht.delfi.ee
ENT & Sustainable Tourism
Birdfair 2016: Excellent ESTONIA
Another excellent and successful key event for us took place in August 2016. This was the ninth year for Estonian Nature Tours at the British Birdfair. Was really lovely to see all the good partners, friends and loyal customers again. Special thanks to the organizers and volunteers. We look forward to meeting all of you next year!
Many thanks to all who celebrated with us the 25th anniversary of Estonia regained independence on Sunday! See the gallery > 
ALTHOUGH Estonia does not feature strongly on the radar of most birders, that could change sooner than later > 
After the Birdfair, we visited the beautiful Cairngorms National Park in Scotland. It was a fantastic and relaxing trip >​  Many thanks to Speyside Wildlife!
The Urban Birder visited Estonia
David Lindo alias The Urban Birder visited Estonia at the beginning of July. During 4 days, he enjoyed, together with ENT, birding in Tallinn, Haapsalu and Pärnu town as well as in Matsalu National Park. The visit such a famous birdwatcher was reported by several local newspapers as well as Estonian National Television. The article was published in the Bird Watching magazine October issue >​ 


David Lindo alias The Urban Birder: "Birds could bring more tourists to Estonia!"

Estonian National Television - Aktuaalne Kaamera – interviews David Lindo and Vanessa Palacios > 
ENT has done a thankworthy job in appraisal of Estonia's nature and conservation
ENT has gained deserved confidence amongst nature conservation and bird protection organizations of Estonia. By virtue of the report at the fall semester of Estonian Society for Theriology (study of mammals) it was acknowledged, that ENT has done a thankworthy job in appraisal of Estonia's nature and conservation, widely introducing Estonia and its wildlife abroad. Our participation in partnership days with the Ministry of Environment has also been extremely useful... Read more >
Also, several media reports have been published on the activities of the ENT this year.
Estonian Nature Tours in ETV Kapital (Estonian Public Broadcasting) on Thursday, 27th Oct at 21:40 > 
Would you be willing to pay 700 euros to spend an hour with the gorillas in the African woods? About 30, 000 tourists are willing to do so each year. At the same time, only 2,000 birdwatchers visit Estonia annually. What is the reason that there are so few?
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
 
Estonian Nature Tours believes in a better future. We are pleased to have been involved in the process of rescuing a Flying Squirrel.
Thinking about this stunning animal and Estonian forests we would like to share a video with you >



 

For friendly, experts advice, excellent customer care and 'accommodation only'
call +372 5349 6695 or contact us: info@naturetours.ee


www.naturetours.ee

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Estonian Nature Tours · Läänemaa, Eesti Vabariik · Linnuse tee 1 · Lihula 90303 · Estonia

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