Thursday, 24 January 2008

Destinations: Endla - Estonia

This vast complex of peat-bogs, pools, lakes, channels, rivers, reedbeds and mixed pine-birch forests lies at the heart of Estonia and is everything a Baltic wetland should be. Breeding birds include Slavonian Grebe, Common Crane, White-tailed and Lesser Spotted Eagles, Green and Wood Sandpipers, Golden Plover and Black Tern. Drier forests have Capercallie, Hazel and Black Grouse, Ural and Pygmy Owls and White-backed and Three-toed Woodpeckers. On passage swans, geese and waders drop in in high numbers. Some bogs (Mannikjarve near Tooma and Kaasikjarve by Lake Endla) can be crossed on boardwalks, other areas will require wellingtons, though in areas marked as Nature Reserve (Looduskaitseala) trails and boardwalks should be kept to and the observation towers used. Spring (April - May) is the best time to visit, summer can be pretty silent, and autumn (September - October) sees good passage. Tallinn is around 130km to the north-west and Tartu 70km to the south-east.

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