New Trip Report – Estonia
At the very start of April I returned to Hiiumaa for a weekend to join the annual trapping survey for European Mink. Winter had lasted longer than usual and many of the rivers were still frozen when I arrived, but 2 days later had melted. Perhaps partly as a result of that we did not catch any animals (it certainly reduced the number of traps we set). I drove for 3 hours through the interior of the island on consecutive nights with a spotlight hoping to see a Lynx . I did find some fresh tracks but no Lynx. The only mammals were several Red Foxes, a few Red Deer and a Moose. Once again I stayed at the very nice Daagen House guest house. It seems February might be the best time to look for Lynxes. There is more fresh snow, and they are quite vocal as they are breeding. Many thanks to Madis Podra for organising the trapping and being such a great host. For more information on Estonian mammal watching then visit here
If you really want to see a Eurasian lynx, visiting Kolyma Highway in March is probably the best option (and it’s the largest subsp.) If you ever decide to do it, I have a friend who would know the best locations. Not much else there at that time of year, although snow sheep and wild reindeer are possible and mountain hare is common on most years (plus white-phase goshawks, Siberian jays, ptarmigans and black capercallies).
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A footnote to this report, but a week after I left Madis Podra saw a Lynx cross the road near his house at night. This was the first Lynx he had seen during field work on the island that has spanned the past 12 years. So they are there. But still not easy!