TARTU - LUITEMAA NATURE RESERVE - MATSALU NATIONAL PARK – SILMA NATURE RESERVE - TALLINN
Day 1 – October 20 Luitemaa Nature Reserve
The 2-hour drive from Tartu to the Luitemaa Nature Reserve takes us through almost half of the country. The reserve covers the most characteristic part of the south-western landscape of Estonia. The richest values of the reserve are the extensive and bird-rich coastal meadows, but also the forested sand dunes that mark the location of the sea line some 5000 years ago. In Kabli we’ll have the opportunity to visit a ringing station where a Helgoland trap has been used for catching passerines for last 50 years. In Luitemaa we will have good views on stop-over sites of both Bewick’s and Whooper Swans. For more thorough descriptions and photos, please see the links below.
Matsalu NP is a wetland complex consisting of coastal and floodplain meadows, large reed beds and islets. The predecessor of the national park, the Matsalu Nature Reserve, was established in 1957 to protect birds and their breeding, moulting and stop-over sites. In 1976, Matsalu was added to the List of Wetlands of International Importance, or the Ramsar List. Matsalu Bay is one of the most important stop-over sites for Bewick’s swans in Estonia.
The Silma Nature Reserve is the second most important area for waterbirds in West Estonia besides Matsalu Bay. During the spring migration about 40 000 waterfowl make a stop-over here, in autumn, the numbers are even more spectacular.