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Reisebericht: Moore, Taiga und baltische Küsten Mai 2012

Naturkundliche-ornithologische Reise nach Estland: Moore, Taiga und baltische Küsten

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Braunbär

Braunbär

With more than 700 animals Estonia has one of the strongest Brown Bear populations in Europe. A forested area in N-E Estonia, called Alutaguse, has almost half of Estonian bears. Although fairly common there, it is still difficult to see them in wild. Natourest has built hides for observing and photographing these magnificent predators.

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Elch

Elch

Elk (or Moose, as Americans say) is a common animal in Estonia. With the population of more than 12 000 animals, Elks can be seen all over Estonia, but it is naturally more common in the big wilderness areas.

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Sperlingskauz

Sperlingskauz

Pygmy Owl is the smallest owl in Europe. You can find this bird all over Estonia, we have about 600-1200 breeding pairs. Pygmy owl is active during the sunset and sunrise, before and after the other owls. They usually are not afraid of people so Pygmy Owl is easy to watch for longer time and quite close. Best time for watching Pygmy Owl is March- May and also September- October, during these periods Pygmy owls protect their territories.

SperlingskauzWe usually see the Pygmy Owl on all of our Spring and Autumn bird and mammal tours.

With self-guided tour you will be in Pygmy Owl habitat.

 

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Auerhuhn

Auerhuhn

The speculated number of male Capercaillies in Estonia is about 1000-1500 birds. They live in big forest areas like Soomaa and Alutaguse but we can’t find them in Estonian islands. April is the time when they lek. Male birds gather in sparse forest spots and fight for females. All the Capercaillie leks are under protection in Estonia but after the lek birds often some to the  small forest roads to look for small gravel stones. This is a good option to see the Capercaillie. Best time for that is April- first part of May and also September-October.

nettiWe usually see the Capercaillies on our longer bird and mammal watching tours. A very good area for seeing them is Alutaguse. It is a good area for 2-3 day tour to also watch other taiga species like Ural-, Pygmy Owl, Three -toed Woodpecker and Brown Bear. Our selfguided bird tour takes you to a good Capercaillie habitats.

 

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Regenmoor

Regenmoor

About 23% of Estonia is covered with peat land soil and about 8%  is covered with raised bogs.

You will find raised bogs all over Estonia. Bogs started to develop after the last Ice Age about 12 0000 years ago. Biggest of them are 10 000 hectares and the peat layer is 6-8 metres thick.There are pools 2-3 metres deep, mineral bog islands, old trees and unique-looking plants in the bog.

IMG_3276Common birds species breeding in the bogs are great grey shrike, raven, golden eye and  waders. In some solitary bog islands Golden eagle might nest also a wolf pack might live.

We visit bog on all of our longer bird and mammal watching tours and also the self-guided tours take you to bogs. We enjoy the view to the bog- stunted pines and scenery bog pools. In Spring, plants are blooming and in Autumn sphagnum is colorful. Bogs are especially beautiful during sunset.

 

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Ringelrobbe

Ringelrobbe

Estonia hosts the most  southern Ringed Seal population in the world. Their population is about 1500 and they can be spotted around small islets near Hiiumaa and Muhumaa.

In spring Ringed Seals are molting and rest near small islets on the coastal rocks. They spend summer feeding in fish filled waters and double their body weight for the end of the Summer. Then, in the beginning of Autumn, they gather again to spend time on rock in big haul-out areas, making them easy to watch.  In Winter seals can be spotted on sea-ice from where they  slip into ice cracks or seal holes to feed under ice. In the end of February- beginning of March, females give birth to cubs in small snow caves. Cubs are nursed about a month. Ringed Seals mating season starts right after birth. In April when sea-ice starts to melt, they gather again to islets to shed fur.

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Ringed Seals spend time on coastal rocks twice a year: in Spring and in the end of Summer-beginning of Autumn and then it is best possibility to spot them. If you are in the right place at the right time then it is quite easy to see them. We watch Ringed Seals on our nature expirience tour , bird and mammal watching tours.

 

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Birkhuhn Balz

Birkhuhn Balz

The number of male Black Grouses in Estonia is about 6000-10 000 birds. They live everywhere in Estonia (except small islands) and they prefer boggy and forested areas. Black grouse cocks start lekking in early Spring and continue until middle of May. They also lek on quiet mornings in September and October. Black Grouse lek is great to look. Cocks have their territory in the lek, dominant  birds are in the middle and less dominant are at the edge areas. Cocks posture themselves, protect their territory and sing their typical aria to impress females. Hens prefer dominant males.

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Black Grouse lekking game will be part of all our longer guided tours in spring.  Selfguided tours take you to a good Black Grouse habitats.

 

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Brown bears are preparing for winter hibernation 28.10.2013

Brown bears are preparing for winter hibernation 28.10.2013

At the end of October brown bears are done with crowing  fat layer under their skin. Brown
bears start hibernate in November and couple of weeks before they are less active and eat less as well.
Organisms need to be prepared for hibernation.

Brown bears eat a lot and energy-rich food in Autumn. They eat berries ( blackberries, cowberries and crandberries),cereals and apples. But if it is very good hazelnut year, brown bears go for that. If there are a good food resources, bears might stay in certain area for longer time. Like 2005 one female brown bear stayed mostly one appleyard.

Alutaguse brown bears will start to eat again in April- May.

karu_tegi (2)

karu_tegi (1)

karu_tegi (3)

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Wanderlust latest issue

From the latest Wanderlust issue September 2013, William Gray writes about Estonian brown bears. He visited Natourest brown bear hide and Alutaguse area in May 2013.

Read the latest issue http://www.wanderlust.co.uk

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