Outline itinerary

Day 1Tallinn - Saaremaa
Day 2 Saaremaa - Soomaa NP
Day 3 Soomaa NP
Day 4 Sooma NP - NW-Estonia
Day 5 NW-Estonia
Day 6 NW-Estonia - Tallinn


Accommodation, meals, transport (on-site), local guides

Not included

Flights and taxes, Drinks, tips and personal expanses. Booking costs amounts EUR 15,- per booking


Supplement single room EUR 175,-


EUR 1195,-

Tour leader

Jacob van der Weele

Number of participants

Minimum 6, Maximum 14


Hotels with private toilet and bath room

Difficulty level of the tour

Easy walks


Temperatures varying between -2 to + 10 degrees Celsius.

Estonia: Woodpeckers, Owls and Grouse

Duration:6 days
Price: EUR 1195,-
Tour leader:Jacob van der Weele
Code: G19034

Estonia is the smallest and most northern country of the Baltic States. With only 1.3 million inhabitants, the country is very thinly populated. About half of the surface consists of forest (mainly spruce, pine and birch) and a third of lakes and peat marshes. About 18% of these special habitats is protected area. Around 1500 islands (of which 45% is protected nature reserve) are scattered along the coastline. To be brief: You can still find enough nature in pristine Estonia which is a great reason to offer this birding trip! This early spring trip will mainly focus on grouse, owls and woodpeckers. We hope to find Capercaille, Black Grouse and Hazel Grouse; 8 species of woodpecker and Ural, Pygmy and Tengman’s Owl. Moreover, approximately 2000 Steller’s Eiders, accompanied by 10.000s of Long-tailed Ducks, have chosen the coast of Estonia as there wintering grounds. These numbers slowly decrease in spring, but some will stay longer. Same applies for Snow Bunting, Bohemian Waxwing and Twite. We can also expect some migrating Cranes and Rough-legged Buzzards.

Our journey starts in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. After arrival we will take the ferry to the island Saaremaa. We will visit Vilsandi NP, a smaller island located in a bay at the west side of Saaremaa. It is the oldest national park of Baltic States and consists of several islands and peninsulas. De sea is free of ice year-round which makes it an ideal location for wintering Arctic ducks. Especially the males of Steller’s Eider are a real attraction, as are the thousands of Long-tailed Ducks.

Hereafter, we will travel back to the mainland where we will continue to Soomaa NP. Two full days will be used for searching forest birds. The national park is characterized by large forests and peatlands and only a few people live here. By the time of our visit the sound of dubbing White-backed, Three-toed and Grey-headed Woodpeckers will go through the forests, Black Grouses and Capercailles will be displaying and with some luck a Hazel Grouse is quickly crossing a forest track. Nutcracker is also present in those forests. When we have a quiet and clear night, we will go out for owls and during the day we scan the skies for Golden and White-tailed Eagle. Both are breeding in Soomaa NP. We will also visit one of the biggest peat bog areas of Europe: Kuresoo.

The last days of this trip will be spend in northwestern Estonia. The peninsula Pöösaspea is a great base for the spring migration and it is just 15 minutes away from several interesting forests and marshes. Time permitting, we will pay a visit to Tallinn. The medieval city centre originates from the 11th to 15th century and is even on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The old city walls are mostly intact, including the waiting towers. To be short: Tallinn is a must-visit, which also applies to the rest of Estonia!

No tripreports available
Photo gallery

Click on the photo to view all the photo's of this tour.