Discover our natural treasures
In Matsalu area, the landform is mostly plain. The oldest topographies in Matsalu National Park date back to Silur ages. The rudiments of Silur consist of dolomite slates (island mountains), which has made some slopes like terraces, where visitors can see slate downs.
Matsalu National Park area is about 48 610 hectare and it embraces Matsalu bay, around the delta also partly Väinameri, Kasari river lower course, wetlands of the bay and river, flooded Kasari river meadow, coastal grazing areas, wooded meadows and about 50 islets. The average depth of Matsalu bay is only 1,5 metres. Almost 6500 hectares of semi-natural landscapes are maintained by local people and 5368 ha is traditional farmlands.
Altogether Matsalu has registered ca. 280 bird, 49 fish, 47 mammal and 772 vascular plant species. The eastern Atlantic migration route runs along the western Estonian coast, which means that millions of migratory birds follow this route on their way from western Europe to breed in Arctic regions. Many of these birds stop on our coast for quite some time.
During the spring time over two million of water fowls migrate through Matsalu, this includes 10 000-20 000 small swans, 10 000 Scaup Ducks and Whistlers, numerous Tufted Ducks and Goosanders. On the coastal pasture lands up to 20 000 Barnacle Geese, over 10 000 Geese and thousands of Waders come for resting. Numerous migrating birds are Long-Tailed Ducks (up to 1,6 million), most of them stay in Väinameri. During the autumn almost 300 000 water fowls migrate Matsalu area. The wetland is well-known as one of the biggest resting sites in Europe for Cranes, up to 21 000 specimen.
Matsalu wetland is an important breeding and gathering energy site for Väinameri fishes. Bays and old rivers are valuable for Pikes, Roaches and Ides. Along Matsalu bay’s northern coast, there are several small coastal fishing villages that still honour the fishery lifestyle and traditions.
Listen to Matsalu migratory birds here !