Looking for Lynx and Flying Squirrel – Early Spring Tour

Estonia is a small pearl located between Russia and Scandinavia. Early spring is the time when there’s still patches of snow under the forest and on small dirt roads. Migrating birds are returning and the sun is moving higher and higher every day. Spring is not only in the air but also in the hearts of many birds and mammals. For example, it’s the mating season for the main target of this tour – the Eurasian Lynx. From the end of March until early April is the period when there are really good chances to spot one, as they are more active and come to open areas much more often than during other times of the year. During different periods, Estonia has been the country with the highest population density and the local individuals are one of the largest in the world. Its’ main prey – Roe Deer, is doing better year after and so is the local lynx population. Right now, an estimate of about 500 Eurasian Lynx inhabit the forests of Estonia and one of the best areas to spot them is Lahemaa National Park in the northeastern part of the country. Lahemaa was also the first national park grounded in the whole former Soviet Union and is still the biggest NP in Estonia.  

About a dozen trail cameras give us information about their movements and other technological solutions, such as thermal cameras and LED-lamps help to locate them during dark times. Thus, 4-5 evenings looking for the lynx give us a very high probability of seeing one. It must be noted that looking for Lynx means quite a lot of driving around in the dark.

The other target of this tour is even more secretive than the Lynx and can be found only in one part of the country Namely, we’ll be looking for the Siberian Flying Squirrel, who nowadays can be found only in the northeastern region of Alutaguse. The small nocturnal mammal rests in tree cavities during the day, but usually, after the sun has set, the elusive squirrel leaves the cavity to look for food. The difficult part is locating the squirrel. For that, we are working together with a local specialist, who has studied these mammals for over 30 years. Although this tour concentrates more on these 2 mammal species, we will most likely also meet other mammals sharing the same habitats, such as Elk, Roe Deer, Snow Hare, Pine Marten, and Raccoon Dogs, just to name the main ones. Many Brown Bears have also woken up from winter hibernation and the bare forests can give them more easily away than during other times of the year. Daytime will be used for looking at bird specialties, such as the forest grouse and woodpeckers. Evening excursions will allow us also to spot several species of owls, such as the Ural Owl and Pygmy Owl

Target species: Eurasian Lynx, Siberian Flying Squirrel

Other highlights: Elk, Red Fox, Roe Deer, Raccoon Dogs, Snow Hare

Birds: Ural and Pygmy Owl, Three-toed and White-backed Woodpecker, Black and Hazel Grouse, Western Capercaillie

Book a tour with us: info@natourest.ee or by phone: +372 5622 5943

Day 1.Arrival and drive to Lahemaa NP 

The group will be picked up from Tallinn Airport and driven to Lahemaa NP, where we will stay for the rest of the tour. During the first evening, we will meet the other local guide, who will give a more precise overview of the local Lynx situation, their behavior, and how we will start looking for them. Ofcourse, we won’t waste any time on the first evening and start looking for our main target already on the first late evening and night. Night in Lahemaa NP  

Day 2. Lahemaa NP and the search for Lynx.

Similarly to the first day, we will concentrate mainly on looking for Lynx. The best time for it is early morning before dawn, late evenings, and night time. Daytime will be used for recovery and on day tours to get the blood going and experience the beauty of Estonian spring.

Day 3. Lahemaa NP and Alutaguse area/NP

After an early excursion in Lahemaa, we will head out the wildest area of Estonia – Alutaguse. The region is known for its vast forests and peat bogs. Today’s main target, the Siberian Flying Squirrel, feels at home in the western taiga forests, where Norweigan Spruce trees alternate with Common Aspen. In Alutaguse we will meet with a local Flying Squirrel specialist, who has dealt with the secretive species over 30 years. During the day we will learn about the local nature and especially about the Flying Squirrel and its behavior, habits, and conservation efforts. In the evening, we take places next to one of its “home trees” and wait for the animal to come out. We will return to Lahemaa in the late evening.

Day 4-5. Lahemaa NP.

In the last 2 days, we will concentrate again on finding Lynx in the forests and meadows of Lahemaa NP. During the days, we will take walks to the forest and coast. From birds, we’ll look for woodpeckers, such as the Three-toed Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, and White-backed Woodpecker. Depending on the success of our search for the lynx, we can also visit a Black Grouse lekking site. Other forest grouse, such as Hazel Grouse and Western Capercaillie can be spotted on the roads while looking for the lynx. As we use the thermal camera to look for the lynx during the dark time, we will most likely also meet owls, such as the Ural Owl and Pygmy Owl. Coastal waters may produce views of Whooper and Bewick Swans, Velvet Scoters, Smew, and White-tailed Eagles. 

6. Return to Tallinn and Departure.

Today we can have the last lookout for whatever is still missing from our wishlist and then return to Tallinn


Book a tour with us: info@natourest.ee or by phone: +372 5622 5943

Dates: 30.03-4.04.2021

Price: 1440€ and single supplement 130€

Price includes:

  • Nature guide services for 6 days
  • 5 nights in local hotels and guesthouses (twin rooms with toilet and shower)
  • Flying squirrel tour with a local specialist
  • 4 evenings with a lynx tracking specialist
  • Local transport
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day (one meal per day is served as a picnic package)

Book a tour with us: info@natourest.ee or by phone: +372 5622 5943

Natourest is a travel company registered with the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and meets all the requirements set by the European Package Travel Directive. This means that when you book a tour through Natourest, your legal and financial rights are guaranteed by the state of  Estonia. Read more about the terms and conditions. 

EU Leader Virumaa Koostöökogu (VIKO) supported Natourest Inc for buying nature observation optics and trail cameras.