Finland-Black Grouse & Capercaillie Lekking 2019


Finnish Lekking Grouse & Capercallie

One of the most beautiful sounds of late spring is the sound of a lekking Black Grouse or Capercaillie in the first rays of natural light. My trip to one of the best sites in Finland will give you a fantastic opportunity to experience and photograph this amazing event at close quarters. You’ll stay overnight in small, carefully prepared tents ready for the birds' early morning antics. As a group you will rotate through the Black Grouse and Capercallie hides and also there might be a chance of photographing the Wolves, Brown Bears and Golden Eagles with a possibly Sea Eagles too in this amazing week that offers so many photography opportunities.

Our base for this 6 day photo tour is Kuikka, in Finland, a former forest workers' residence close to the border with Russia. Surrounded by the lake of Kuikka as well as by boreal forest. The building is a traditional rural Finnish log house. This is one of the best locations for photographing brown bears, wolves and wolverines anywhere in Europe. At this time of year you will also be able to photograph both of these beautiful birds going about their unique courtship displays. The wildlife in this place ranges from Moose, Eagles, Wolves, Bears, and so many birds and mammals it’s a feast for wildlife photographers. You will get the chance to photograph all these and more during your time there.

There are 7 rooms in our accommodation, with bunk beds. Due to the origin of the house, there are no single or double rooms as such. However, if you have any particular wish concerning your privacy, let me know. All bedding and towels are provided. In case of any allergies or special food habits, let me know in advance.

The sleeping quarters are warm and very comfortable and clean and are designed to get some sleep during the days as you will spending the evenings in the hides where you will be able to sleep also while we take it in turns to watch for our chosen subject at that given time.

All these animals and birds are very shy and sensitive to noise so you must remain quite in all the hides to maximise your chances of seeing these. You need to bear this mind in terms of your expectations as both species are very unpredictable. Photographing lekking Grouse and Capercaillie involves arriving in your hide the evening before and awaiting their arrival at dawn.  These hides are tent based sand you will be cold so warm clothing is needed.

Itinerary

Day 1: Travel to Kajaani airport in Finland (we will advise you on our flight recommendations- FinAir,Flybe etc)) where we will be met by our Finnish host for the 2-3 hour transfer to Kuikka which will be our base for the duration of the trip. Once we arrive we’ll unpack and have lunch before heading straight out for our early morning action.. This will depend on what time we all reach our base.

Day 2/3/4/5: Each day/evening follows the same routine and after dinner we’ll leave for the hides again until the following morning.  I will rotate you all so you get the very best from all the hides. Once you have photographed the Lek you can then move to one of the many hides where you will have chance for Wolf, Bear and Wolverine with snow as the backdrop fingers crossed. Also Goldne Eagles and Sea Eagles visit at this time of year. This trip offers so much it will fly by, but these are wild animals and nothing is promised the site is one of the best in the whole of Europe so by coming with me on this trip you will have the best chance of seeing this amazing action. I will be on hand to help, show you and go through all the camera settings you need and throughout the day once you have had some slept offer guidance on your images, processing help and general help so you get the very best from the week with me.

On the last hide day we will leave the hide on the 6th day and after breakfast take our transport back to the airport and head off back to the UK. Allow for a late evening flight which will maximise your time on the last day also allowing for the journey back to the airport.

To see my 2016 trip and some of the images you're able to ge then see the following link   

Recommended Kit

You will need to provide your own photographic equipment, a 500mm lens is ideal but a 300mm with convertors will meet your needs. Bring a smaller zoom lens also so you can capture a bit more of the habitat within this amazing place. This beautiful area will give you many landscape opportunities so a wide angled lens will also be useful.

You will need your tripod for the Lekking hides. There is a device for installing your ball-head in the hides, which you’ll screw into a wooden board. In front of your camera there will be an opening through which you’ll put the lens outside. You can rent Nikon cameras, lenses and converters from our base camp, please notify me in advance if you wish to do so.

Laptop (Wi-Fi at our accommodation) Memory cards, Tripod (only for photography outside the hides, Ball-heads for the photo hides. Rubber boots, hiking shoes. Warm clothes.

Additional Information

The weather in April/May will be a cold in the days but during the nights in the hides it will be even colder around minus -10c. So please bring warm clothing with you as you have to be prepared for everything. Sleeping bags can be hired or you can bring your own. The vast majority of your time will be in the hides. Please bring your mosquito spray also

Cost includes: Airport transfers, accommodation, all meals, Water, drinks, use of hides. All photographic tuition from myself.

Cost excludes: International flights,  and sundry items

Level of fitness: The forest walk to the hides can be tough going over uneven terrain but is only about 30 minutes walking time. Long hours are spent in the suitably equipped hides though, as we will be there from 6.00pm in the afternoon until 7.30am the following morning.

Group Size

6

Trip cost: £1,895

Deposit: £500

Dates - Saturday 4th May 2019 - Friday 10th May 2019

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