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WHITE-TAILED EAGLE PHOTOGRAPHY

 
Estonia is an up and coming destination for wildlife photography. Boasting fantastic species such as European Lynx and wolves, White- tailed Eagles, Wild Boar and Elk. All of which you may get the chance to photograph if you visit Estonia already this Winter.

NB! Due to diffusion of the African Swine Fever into Estonia this year certain problems with stocking up White Tailed Eagles' fodder have been encountered. Therefore we cannot give any assured warranties as usual. We cannot rely on roadkills only. Feeding eagles with fish can be an alternative. To hold the price of eagles' photography hide on level, large amount of fish should be purchased at one time, possible to preserve in the field conditions. So, cross the fingers for winter 2015 to be up to par!

Please read several reports from 2013:

An Estonian Winter. Part One by Luke Massey...
Estonian Eagles by Ann Dahlberg...
Estonian Wildlife and Winter Landscape by Ann Dahlberg...

HOW TO BOOK?



Period:
January - March 2015
Group size:
max 2 pax
Grading:
Photography will be from hide(s) and on walks in the snow. Therefore, an element of physical fitness and good mobility is necessary.
Leader:
local nature photographer
Accommodation:
Local guesthouse
Food:
Breakfasts, packed lunches and dinners



 White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) / Remo Savisaar
Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) / Remo Savisaar




White-tailed Eagle Photography hide

Our small hide is specially designed for photographers having space for a maximum of 2 persons. The hide is well-insulated and has gas heating, so even if it is -30C outside, it will be warm and cosy inside. The hide has been designed by some of Estonia’s best wildlife photographers making it perfect for photography. Visitors will be able to take a wide range of images, from naturally perched eagle shots to eagles on the ground as well as being perfectly situated to have birds flying directly towards the hide. The common bait is a pig which is hidden from view allowing for natural images, although where possible, we use natural baits e.g. arctic hare (road kills). The lens ports are low making for brilliant opportunities to gain attractive low level shots. Above the ports are two 20x30cm mirror-glazed windows  (one meter from the ground).

See video that has been filmed in the Eagle hide...    

Guests are usually driven direct to the hide by ATV,  however if conditions are too wet a 300 metre walk is needed.

NB! It is likely (unless in emergency) that you’ll have to stay in the hide for 8-14 hours. Make sure before you enter that you have prepared for this.  Bottles are provided for relieving yourself if it comes to that. The test of a true wildlife photographer ...




White-tailed Eagle (Haliaetus albicilla) / Remo Savisaar

Highlights:

 

In winter, the hide is usually visited by 2-4 eagles daily. Sometimes Golden Eagles and Buzzards are also in attendance, along with Red Foxes, Raccoon Dogs and even Wolves. Photographing the eagles in winter allows for the opportunity to photograph them with snow on the ground and if you’re really lucky falling snow. When not in the hide, you’ll have the opportunity to try and photograph the local birdlife, from Black Woodpeckers to Crested Tits and many more in between. Along with this opportunity a local guide will take you to a number of different habitats in search of a wide range of animals and birds. 


Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) / Remo Savisaar
 


You will also have the chance to spend time photographing passerines and woodpeckers at a local feeding station along with an afternoon being guided around the local area where it is possible you’ll have the chance to photograph mammals like Elk, Otter, Wild Boar or Raccoon Dog.  From the beginning of March onwards it may be possible to photograph Capercaillie or lekking Black Grouse. If there is a good Hawk Owl year they arrive in December and stay around until mid-February.


                  Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula) / Remo Savisaar


This year, for the first time, eagle feeding started in mid-August. The result has been amazing! In September it was common for 5-7 individual birds to visit the feeding site, along with Raccoon Dogs, Red Foxes and Wolves. The feeding site has not only allowed fantastic eagle photographs to be taken, but also valuable research has taken place, recording ringed birds, the number of juveniles and behaviour. With 2012’s earlier feeding period this has now hopefully lengthened the season that the hide can be open.  


Wolf (Canis lupus) / Valeri Štšerbatõh


Eagle hide. Wiew from the inside / Jan Siimson


Lenses and tripod

The eagles can come incredibly close to the hide allowing for fantastic portraits. Feel free to bring a range of lenses but remember once in position for the day you won’t be able to change the lens. We  recommend you bring a lens with a focal length of 300 to 600mm. Converters can be added and removed carefully during your stint in the hide.

There is no need to bring a tripod. However, please bring your tripod head with you. You can attach your tripod head to the windowsill in the hide. Ball heads are the best option. However a gimbal or sidekick will also suffice. Some photographers find an angle finder helps with taking images from the hide.


Ready to make a booking?

Please contact us: info@naturetours.ee

Click here and read Terms and Conditions...



Wild boar (Sus scrofa) / Sven Zacek


White-tailed Eagle (Haliaetus albicilla). ESTONIA, October 2012 / Luke Massey




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