The first warm day after the snowstorms in the beginning of April we’d go to our traditional spring searching road trip. This time we’d have a waffle dinner near Otten bridge (Otteni sild), in Põlvamaa county, South Estonia. The photos are arranged in the direction from walking from Otten brige back to Suur Taevaskoda and then to the parking lot (map).
From the Taevaskoja parking lot (RMK Taevaskoja parkla) to the Otten bridge and back it’s about a 6 km walk. For a person who would take a few snap photos and look around, this should be about a 3 hour thing, if you’d like to take some time to sit by the river and hope to spot an Alcedo atthis (jäälind=Common kingfisher), you have to take the entire day and if you see one, you’re rather lucky. A determined walkthrough with minimum stops is 2 hours. There is usually enough parking spots for everyone and parking is free. Suur Taevaskoda (the shore view spot) is usually crowded and it’s a pretty popular spot on the weekends, so if you want to wait for the animals, you might want to start really early or late.
In June you will have a huge time window for photographing since the sun rises at 3am and sets 11pm, although this might be bad news if you like capturing sunrises and you’re not into waking up 2am to go catch it. In the winter if you get a day where there is great light at all and the entire day isn’t gloomy dim, it’s about three hours around the noon when it might work. You’d need to go there by 8:30 to catch the morning light, sunrise is about 9am and sun sets around 2 pm and it’s pretty rare to see sun at all. If you’re planning a trip on specific time of the year, feel free to message me to ask what to expect.
This is taken on March 17th last year, next to the Ahja river. We had a day planned but had to return because of a sudden snowstorm and we happened to be underdressed for that.
It’s an easy path but since you’re crossing a furrowed land strip and dirt roads, you’ll be two inches in the mud in the spring and most of the forest pathways are icy puddles and some valley corners are entirely covered with snow. There is ice/snow on the forest pathways and in Suur Taevaskoda until the middle of April, usually near 15th it’s all still covered in icy melting snow. The frogs will be jumping and looking mates on the snow since the first part of April, the birds will be singing and you might count on that the temperature is +6 degrees during the day and -2 at night and it feels damp hiking near the river, so a winter jacket and boots won’t be overkill.