If You Go Down To The Woods Today In Finland

We have been running wonderful Birdwatching Trips to Finland and Arctic Norway for many years and each year we ponder if we should include trying to see wild brown bears. This year, 2019, all our group were up for seeing bears along with all the amazing birds so we quickly made a plan. It was about an hour drive from our hotel to the location, very close to the Russian border.

We arrived and had a quick briefing from the owner of the forest and then followed him into the woods. It was a perfect evening, the sun still shinning of course this far north, no wind and the forest looked enchanting with long shadows and moss covering the ground. We were installed in a very large and very comfortable hide, just our group of eight, and settled down to wait.

Our host put out food in front of the hide and then left us in the company of his son who joined us in the hide. A Raven flapped slowly over, but the food was hidden from sight, then a White-tailed Eagle landed in a tree but again no food for it. Gail spotted a lovely Common Redstart close to the hide but still no teddy to be seen. Coffee and buns pasted some time but we stared and stared but no bears. More White-tailed Eagles came and went empty beaked.

It was sharp eyed Gail on the left of the hide that saw them first, not one but two brown bears! Yes real live wild bears, oh wow! It was one of those wildlife moments we will never forget, ok we had gone to look for bears but until we saw them somehow it hadn’t seemed real? But now we were watching two wild bears in a Finnish forest in the evening sunshine just magical. Hearts were pounding and hairs on the back of our necks stood to attention, what beautiful and powerful animals these were. Our local guide explained that this was a mother and well grown cub and they were hungry not long having come out of hibernation. The bears easily pushed aside the wood covering the food and began to feast. We were spell bound watching their every move and cameras were in overdrive recording the moment forever. The bears were huge yet not scary at all and looked so relaxed going about their daily routine yet making us so happy!

Eventually the bears moved slowly off back into the forest and melted away amongst the pines, leaving us totally elated! It was hard to take in what we had just seen, wild brown bears. The drive home was wonderful too, it was still sunny, ten pm, perfectly still and plenty to see. We watched a male Black Grouse displaying, three Capercaillie and two moose! Finland is a wonderful country with so much wildlife.

Come and join us in May – June 2020 to see over 200 species of birds and some very special mammals!

For details of our Finland and Arctic Norway Birdwatching Trip in 2020, or any of our tours, please email us here....


We look forward to enjoying amazing birds and wildlife with you soon!

Amongst the many highlights of this years tour, (2019), we enjoyed the following species of birds...

Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, White-billed Diver, Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Whooper Swan, Tundra Bean Goose, Taiga Bean Goose, King Eider, Garganey, Long-tailed Duck, Smew, White-tailed Eagle, Hen Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Rough-legged Buzzard, Osprey, Merlin, Hobby, Gyr Falcon, Hazel Grouse, Willow Grouse, Ptarmigan, Black Grouse, Capercaillie, Common Crane, Dotterel, Temminck's Stint, Purple Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, Ruff, Jack Snipe,Woodcock, Whimbrel, Spotted Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Long-tailed Skua, Little Gull, Glaucous Gull, Iceland Gull, Caspian Tern, Brunnich's Guillemot, Puffin, European Pygmy Owl, Great grey Owl photo above, Short-eared Owl, Hawk Owl, Tengmalm's Owl, Ural Owl, Wryneck, Black Woodpecker, Three-toed Woodpecker, Red-throated Pipit, Waxwing, Thrush Nightingale, Red-spotted Bluethroat, Red-flanked Bluetail, River Warbler, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Siberian Tit, Crested Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Siberian Jay, Rose-coloured Starling, Common Rosefinch, Arctic Redpoll, Pine Grosbeak, Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting, Little Bunting, Rustic Bunting.

We also enjoyed some amazing mammals too - brown bears, moose, minke whale and lemming amongst them.

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