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Baltic trip in February (1 Viewer)


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Hi all,

I've also posted this in the Baltic states subforum:

I'm struggling to find anything much of use with regard to traveling to this area in winter. Trip reports are all April and May.

I have a plan to rent a car and visit all three countries with most time spent in Estonia heading out to Saaremaa. What I have read though is that the Steller's eider numbers seem to be less and less each year, so firstly, does anyone know what the situation is at present for this number one target for the trip?

Beyond this, I'm interested in catching up with Hazel grouse, Pygmy owl, Tengmalm's owl and if available, Hawk owl. I also read that Great grey owl is expanding range so I don't know if there is a chance of this species anywhere either.

I'd appreciate any advice from anyone with experience or recent information or directions to help plan an itinerary with the best chance of success.

I'm happy to consider using local guides to improve chances if needed. I was in touch with Kaarel from this forum a couple of years ago but I couldn't make it that year and then had travel curtailed in recent times and he doesn't seem to be active here anymore.

Thanks in advance.
I went to Estonia in late March 2018 on a mixed backpacking and birding trip, travelling by public transport and using Dave Gosney's guidebook.

On Saaremaa I stayed at Loona Manor and spent a whole day at nearby Vislandi National Park looking for Steller's Eider without success - so it is possible to miss them here, even though trip reports make it look like they are guaranteed. Loads of other sea ducks though, and the area around the manor also had Black Woodpeckers, Nutcrackers and Cranes. I was going to hire a bike from the manor but it snowed heavily on the day, so the lady gave me lift there for the same price (I walked most of the way back then caught a bus for the last few Km). On the short ferry journey from the mainland you should also see White-tailed Eagles standing on the ice.

In Nigula Nature Reserve I heard a Pygmy Owl calling and lured it in for excellent views. I also had Black and Grey-headed Woodpeckers here, and a heard only Hazel Grouse.

In Viljandi I easily found White-backed and Middle Spotted Woodpeckers.

These are just highlights off the top of my head. I would need to check my notebook for more details and other sightings.
About Steller's Eider. There are recent records of 50 individuals in 6 January and 30 individuals 31 December, between Harilaid and Undva, in NW Saaremaa - the normal site. The area is quite remote and therefore not too much visited, and it is possible that nobody else have been there recently.
Thank you both for the info. Really appreciated.

What are you using for those recent reports Jalid?


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