Bird-watching at Lake Ladoga and Vyborg, from St Petersburg
Lake Ladoga and Vyborg, which are both close to St. Petersburg, offer a land of plenty for bird watchers and photographers. These areas lie on densely-travelled migration routes for large numbers of arctic birds, travelling between the Baltic Sea and the White Sea and Barents Sea.
2-4 Day Birdwatching Tours
In spring we invite you to witness the stunning scenes of bird migration near the medieval town of Vyborg (136 km from St. Petersburg), on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. Hundreds of thousands of arctic birds form groups and fly over the Baltic Sea. Within weeks, the density of the migration flow increases sharply as all of the flocks are drawn into the narrow Gulf as in a giant tunnel. On some days, the migrating birds cover the whole sky like strands of a cobweb. Divers, scoters, grebes, swans, geese, pintails, garganey ducks, mallards, sea ducks, gulls, and waders of different kinds fly in large flocks first, above the water, and then, over Vyborg and in the Neva Bay, rise to 50-100 meters making a nonstop flight over the Arctic Circle.
In Vyborg you can combine a powerful flood of emotion from watching the non-stop mass flight of birds with the pleasure of a leisurely tour of Vyborg architectural sights.
Accommodation: 4* Victoria Hotel, Vyborg
This hotel is located on the Market Square in 10-minute walk from Vyborg Castle. It features a fitness center, 2 restaurants, Russian bath, hammam, hot tab and a Finnish sauna. Each air-conditioned room has a flat-screen TV and a bathroom with hairdryer.
Optimal dates are late April to end of May.
In autumn the birdwatching tour takes you to Karelian peninsula, Kurgalsky Reserve on the shore of the Ladoga Lake (110 km from St. Petersburg). You’ll watch the migration of Arctic birds over the Lake: a massed stream of birds flying from home towards their winter areas. Some days, divers, northern swans, geese, sea ducks and other groups of birds cover the whole sky. But it is not so much the species, but the unusual density and intensity of the migration.
The tour also provides a unique opportunity to see and photograph the huge numbers of waterfowl that take a break from their travels on the Lake as well as forest birds. This, combined with the bright autumn foliage in stunning and unspoiled countryside, produces a deep and long-lasting impression on most bird watchers and nature-lovers.
Accommodation: Sosnovsky GOOKH (State Experimental Hunting Farm) Hotel
Two blocks of this small hotel are located a kilometer from Lake Ladoga surrounded by coniferous Karelian forests. The combination of picturesque scenery, clean air and home comforts will impress you. The Hotel provides delicious local freshly cooked meals on a full board basis (breakfast, lunch, dinner), Russian Banya with a pool and barbecue equipment. All rooms have private bathrooms. No WI-Fi in Hotel.
Optimal dates are Mid-September to mid-October.
1 Day Bird-watching Tours
If you would like to combine a bird watching tour with a trip to St. Petersburg, we offer 1 Day trips to Kotlin Island, Ropshinskie Ponds, Lisy Nos and Lebyazhie. Best times for birdwatching are: in spring, from mid-April to mid-June, and in autumn, from mid-October to mid-November.
Come see the Swans
This special tour enables you to watch different types of swans at their migration stop-overs in the third decade of April. Additionally, you can see black-throated loons, white-fronted geese, black geese, mallards, tufted ducks, mergansers, golden-eyes, oystercatchers, curlews, lapwings, herring gulls, West Siberian seagulls, sea ducks, wood pigeons and many other birds. All tours are conducted by a professional English-speaking ornithologist, a scholar and a researcher of the St. Petersburg State University who has many years of field experience.
Please contact us directly to discuss your preferences as all birdwatching tours are by their nature individually tailored and depend on the time of year.