Demand was so high for our Finland trip that we ended up running three tours to Oulu and Kuusamo in late May and early June. The trips were like chalk and cheese, with late May being very hot and sunny but winter returned in early June! Nevertheless, all three groups saw all five key owls, thanks to the help of our amazing Finnature guides. Red-flanked Bluetails, Capercaillies, Three-toed Woodpeckers, Siberian Tits, Willow Grouse, Siberian Jays, Rustic Buntings, Waxwings and Hazel Grouse were also seen by all participants. Pine Grosbeak, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Black Woodpecker, Blyth's Reed Warbler and Corncrake were reserved for the lucky groups.
Hot and sunny or cold and wet, how do you prefer your birding? It didn't seem to make much difference to the smiles on the faces, and certainly the birds weren't too bothered.
Waxwings can be seen in small numbers around Kuusamo.
This female Ural Owl was watching over her chicks on week one.
This young Ural Owl was stood right above our heads! We had no idea he was there until one of the group turned round and looked up!
Tengmalm's Owls can be difficult to find, but this year our guide knew of four nests.
This male Pygmy owl was keeping guard close to the nest.
Pine Grosbeak only showed well to one lucky group. It is perhaps the hardest to find of the iconic Finland birds.
Oulanka National park in the sunshine.
Hawks Owls were scarce this year, due to a lack of voles. However, our guide knew just where to look.
Great Grey Owl was is perhaps the most wanted of all the birds on this itinerary, and we were not dissapointed.
Our guide found a small patch of Calypso Orchids at Oulanka National Park.
This Black Woodpecker landed on the 'magic tree', a tree at Valtavaara that had mysterious powers to attract rare birds. At this spot we saw Pine Grosbeak, Waxwing and Parrot Crossbill too.
This rogue male Capercaillie was looking for a fight with our group! Paul didn't manage any photographs, he was too busy fending it off. Customer John Sykes kindly send us this classic image..
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