Our Finland Photographic Expedition is perfectly timed to photograph a full array of Finnish wildlife and birds! Black Grouse are actively lekking, huge Golden Eagles are in residence, while the Oulu and Kuusamo areas are ideal for photographing a spectacular variety of magnificent owls, including Great Grey, Northern Hawk-, Eurasian Pygmy, Boreal and Ural. In eastern Finland we will focus our lenses on Finland Brown Bears, just awakened from their winter sleep. Finally, in Lieksa, our primary photographic target will be the elusive and unique Wolverine.
- Black Grouse Lekking
- Greylag Geese and Black Grouse
- Golden and White-Tailed Eagles
- Winter Wonderland Landscapes
- The great brown bear
- Wild Forest Reindeer
Lieksa: High density of Wolverine
Day 1, 14th of April: Arrival at Oulu Airport & Transfer to Hotel
Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met and transferred to your comfortable hotel that will serve as a base for the next 2 nights. Time permitting, after settling in and freshening up we will begin our photographic adventure with an evening excursion to an area that sometimes holds a number of striking owl species and, if luck is on our side, the magnificent Elk.
Day 2, 15th of April: Photographing in the Oulu region
We will depart very early in the mornings during our time here in order to arrive at our strategically placed canvas hides in the Finnish wilds. From here we will spend time capturing the awe-inspiring display of Black Grouse, with their lyre-shaped tails and striking red skin around the eye. While Black Grouse are spectacular birds in their own right, it is their amazing courtship display during early spring that makes them all the more desirable for bird and wildlife photographers alike. This courtship behaviour, known as lekking, begins soon after the long winter’s cold embrace is finally broken and the snow begins to melt, exposing an arena of richly coloured ground plants. Not only do these open arenas make for easy viewing and photography, but the early morning’s first light blankets this stage and illuminates the large males as they call, leap, dance and even spar in full view of the hides. At times, up to fifteen or more males compete for the chance to mate with a female who might be looking on from nearby! During our time at Oulu we will also visit nearby Liminganlaht, where impressive numbers of Greylag Geese can be found feeding and wheeling around in large flocks. In order to position ourselves for the best photographic opportunities, we will once again be using hides. Typically, we aim to spend only a few hours in the hides at any given time, affording us the opportunity to explore the surrounding areas and photograph some of the other local creatures that splash the Finnish countryside with colour and form. Possibilities include various wonderful owls and even the delightful little Snow Bunting.
Day 3, 16th of April: Oulu to Kuusamo
We will spend another full day photographing Black Grouse, Greylag Geese and other wildlife. In the evening we will then bid farewell to Oulu and make our way to our hotel in the Kuusamo region, where we will spend the next three nights.
Days 4 - 5, 17th - 18th of April: Kuusamo area
Once again, to take full advantage of the long spring days, we will depart for our hides in the stillness of the very early pre-dawn hours. After settling into our comfortable hides we will begin the wait for our latest photographic quarry, the mighty Golden Eagle. These truly magnificent birds of prey are both a pleasure and an exciting challenge to photograph. This we will do as they perch against a range of different backgrounds as well as while interacting with one another. Mating and occasional aggressive behaviour will give us the opportunity to capture these eagles in action and we will no doubt leave with a whole range of interesting images! Not to be outdone by their counterparts, White-tailed Eagles may also put in an appearance, providing us with the chance to photograph yet another very impressive marvel of the avian world. In order to maximize our photographic opportunities, much of our time in the area will be spent in hides and it is not uncommon for us to remain in these from before sunrise until just before darkness sets in. However, to break the monotony we may also visit some nearby feeding stations where a host of smaller birds will form the subject of our focus, including such gems as the Siberian Tit, Siberian Jay and the striking Great-spotted Woodpecker. Day 6, 19th April: Kuusamo to Viiksimo After a final morning’s photography in the region, we will head to Viiksimo. En route we will break for lunch before continuing to our accommodations for the following three nights and the next stop in our exciting photographic adventure, Brown Bear country! After arriving in Viiksimo and settling into our rooms, we will then undergo a photo workshop on the basics of how to photograph from a Brown Bear hide. Several of these professional hides will be used in order to obtain the best possible pictures of these impressing animals!
Days 7 - 8, 20th - 21st of April: Viiksimo area
Following a long hibernation through the mind: an almost insatiable hunger and a fervent desire to mate! Fortunately for us, this brings these normally solitary bears into close contact with one another, providing photographers with the rare opportunity to photograph a number of bears and, more importantly, some exciting interactions between them. In particular, photographing male Brown Bears expressing their naked aggression toward one another has got to be one of the most thrilling experiences in any wildlife photographer’s career! As on our previous days in Finland, we will make use of the area’s hides; however, in contrast to previous days, we will spend most of our time positioned in the hides during darkness as a result of the bear’s largely nocturnal/crepuscular habits. Fortunately, with the spring daytime exceeding sixteen hours, there will be plenty of opportunities to photograph and observe these bears in the golden light of early morning and late afternoon. Once again, bears will not be the only subject of our attention during our stay in the area and we can expect to photograph several other smaller denizens of the surrounding forest.
Day 9, 22nd of April: Viiksimo to Lieksa
After filling our memory cards with unforgettable images of Brown Bears and other animals, we will move on to our final stop on this photographic extravaganza, the Lieksa area.
Days 10 - 11, 23rd - 24th of April: Lieksa area
While Lieksa may be the last stop on our journey, as the saying goes – it’s certainly not the least. With a density of Wolverines matching that of just about any other area in the world, Lieksa will no doubt be one of the major highlights on our tour! Our hides here will provide us with the perfect vantage point from which to photograph these ferocious and charismatic little beasts as they come to feed on scraps of food. In an effort to keep these scraps out of reach of various scavenging birds, only small portions are scattered around the area in front of the hides. This also serves to ensure that when wolverines do enter the area, they remain there for longer periods of time in search of further food, allowing us to photograph them in the open while climbing trees and searching among fallen logs.
Day 12, 25th April: Lieksa & depart to final destination of choice
After a final morning of photography our photography comes to an end around midday. We will depart for a short 30 km drive to the Hotel Puustelli, in Lieksa. In the evening we will departure from Joensuu airport where we will say our final goodbyes.
- Rates are based upon group tariffs; if the tour does not have sufficient registration (a minimum of 4 paying participants) a small party supplement will have to be charged.
- Furthermore, these costs are subject to major foreign exchange fluctuations and unforeseen increases in tour related costs and may have to be adjusted as a result.
- Lastly, we may be forced to change or alter the itinerary at short or no notice due to unforeseen circumstances; please be aware that we will attempt to adhere as close to the original program as possible.
- Due to constantly fluctuating exchange rates, we now quote our tours in 4 currencies. The tour price is however fixed only in the currency printed in bold (Euros), and the actual cost in the other currencies listed will be adjusted according to prevailing exchange rates at the time of final invoicing (usually 3 months before the tour.) Approximate domestic flight (where applicable) and single supplement rates have been converted to € but are also subject to exchange rate movements.
Tipping: As noted above, gratuities (drivers, hotel staff, restaurants etc) are NOT included on this tour.
Arrival and Departure Details:
Further meeting details will be forwarded to you in due course. The expedition starts in Oulu on day 1 and will conclude at Lieksa after dinner on day 12. If you wish to arrive early and/or depart late and would like assistance in this regard kindly contact the ORYX office. Flights: As our guests reside throughout the world we do not include international flights to and from your home in our tour prices. However, please DO NOT book your international flights until you have consulted the ORYX office for confirmation on the status of the tour. If you wish to arrive early and/or depart late and would like assistance or advice in this regard, then kindly contact the ORYX office.
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