Estonia – Baltic Spring Birding

Saturday 17th – Thursday 22nd May 2025

Estonia is a must-visit destination for spring birding and during this tour, we will witness the migration of thousands of birds as they head northwards to their Arctic breeding grounds.

The wide variety of habitats are home to exciting species such as Great Snipe, Citrine Wagtail, Thrush Nightingale, Hazel Grouse, Barred and Blyth’s Reed Warblers, European Three-toed & White-backed Woodpeckers, Ural and Pygmy Owls and much more making this a tour not to be missed!

Tour Leader: Tarvo Walker & Steve Grimwade
Maximum Group Size: 7

Day 1
Fly London to Tallinn and after a 90-minute drive we arrive at Matsalu National Park, our base for the next two nights. Matsalu is the most well-known bird reserve in Estonia, May is the best time to find the biggest variety of species and the Haeska Tower holds the European record of 128 species seen from one spot during 24 hours!

The National Park encompasses Matsalu Bay, the lower course of the River Kasari, coastal reed-bed lagoons, wooded meadows and over 50 islands which are home to Caspian Tern, Temminck’s Stint, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Montagu’s Harrier, White-tailed Eagle, Barred Warbler, Common Rosefinch and Blyth’s Reed Warbler among others.
Overnight: Matsalu National Park

Day 2
A pre-breakfast exploration of the National Park should provide us with views of Eurasian Wryneck, White-backed Woodpecker, European Golden Oriole and Marsh Warbler and after a hearty breakfast we will spend the remainder of the day birding the areas around Silma Nature Reserve and Leidissoo, where we stand a good chance of seeing Red-breasted Flycatcher, European Nightjar, Ural Owl, Black Grouse, Little Gull, Red-necked Grebes, Grey-headed & Black Woodpeckers, Pygmy Owl and Boreal Owl. A night-time drive along the forest tracks will give us an opportunity to find Racoon Dog and Elk amongst others.
Overnight: Matsalu National Park

Day 3
We will spend the morning at Cape Põõsaspea, the north-westernmost tip of mainland Estonia. Its rocky ridge reaches far into the sea and this is one of the best places in Northern Europe for seeing the migration of waterfowl. This migration route of arctic water birds crosses straight over the cape and during our visit we hope to see thousands of Red & Black-throated Divers, Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Common & Velvet Scoters, Long-tailed Duck and many more species.

After a busy morning and a tasty home-cooked lunch, we drive for two hours to the Parnu region and early evening we head to the Audru wetlands where we hope to connect with Citrine Wagtail as well as Garganey, booming Eurasian Bitterns, Savi’s Warbler, Penduline Tit, White-winged Terns and Black Terns which will round off the day nicely.
Overnight: Parnu

Day 4
After a hearty Estonian breakfast, we will spend the day exploring the Luitemaa Nature Reserve. This wetland complex on the south-western coast of Estonia consists of diverse coastal and inland habitats including shallow sea, capes and islands, coastal meadows and reed-beds. The coastal meadows near Võiste have shallow waters that attract large amounts of dabbling ducks including Gadwall, Mallard, Garganey, Eurasian Wigeon and Eurasian Teal. Whooper Swans and smaller numbers of Tundra Swans also occur. The wide coastal meadows and lagoons are favoured by thousands of geese, mostly Greylag and Barnacle but there is a good chance of rarer species such as Greater White-fronted Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Red-breasted Goose, Tundra Bean Goose and Taiga Bean Goose.

The sandbanks and lagoons are great spots for waders including breeding species like Common Redshank, Common Ringed Plover, Eurasian Oystercatcher, European Golden Plover, Northern Lapwing and Ruff. During our visit we will look out for Spotted Redshank, Pied Avocet, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Dunlin, Little Stint, Temminck’s Stint, Red Knot, Curlew Sandpiper, Eurasian Curlew and Eurasian Whimbrel.
Overnight: Parnu

Day 5
The Soomaa National Park, situated in Transitional Estonia was created to protect large pristine raised bogs, flood plain grasslands, wet forests and meandering rivers. These habitats are perfect for some of the sought-after species including eight species of woodpecker which include Three-toed, White-backed and Grey-headed Woodpeckers. We will search the old growth forest for Hazel Grouse and the area also holds a good population of Lesser Spotted Eagle.

After a picnic lunch and afternoon rest, we return to this wonderful area to seek out Great Snipe which display in the wetlands whilst Corncrake, Spotted Crake and warblers provide a background chorus and will round off a fantastic day!
Overnight: Parnu

Day 6
We will spend the morning birding around Parnu before making the 90-minute drive back to Tallinn Airport for our flight back to the UK.

Tour Includes
Full board accommodation for 5 nights
All ground transport in Estonia
Full guiding throughout

Not Included
Travel Insurance
Drinks and items of a personal nature
Lunch on Day 1

Relaxed, three to four miles walking per day

Expect between 140 and 160 species

Tour Cost: £TBC (excluding flights)

* Estimated Flight Cost: £TBC

Single Supplement: £TBC

Deposit: £TBC

*Please see our flights page for more details


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