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FINLAND - NORWAY
Taïga & Toundra
Extension - Southern Finland
PRICE : XXXX $US for 8 people for the main itinerary Taïga & Toundra.
XXXX $US for 8 people for the extension Southern Finland.
(see the price grid in our Detailed Informations page).
Tour duration : 15 days for the main itinerary Taïga & Toundra.
4 days for the extension Southern Finland.
Tour date : June 2018.
Group size : 4-12 people with a "Tour Leader".
Tour Leader : Mathieu SIOL.
Arrival : Oulu for the main itinerary Taïga & Toundra.
Helsinki for the extension Southern Finland.
Departure : Ivalo.
Lodging : Hotels and lodges of "comfort" category. Hot water and electricity are available 24 hours a day.
Pace : Moderate.
Potential number of species : 200 - 300.
Photography : Moderate opportunities.
Included : all transportation, lodging in double rooms with private bathroom , all meals except dinners in Oulu, day tour with Finnature, multilingual tour leader, drinkable water.
Not included : International flight, internal flights, travel insurance, visas, airport taxes, entrance fees for some sites, alcoholic beverages, tips, dinners in Oulu, "single" occupation (for the price, please refer to the Detailed Informations page).
Two main ecosystems are represented in the northern regions of Norway and Finland: the immense and rolling taiga forests are replaced by the treeless tundra as one progresses to the north to reach the windy and rocky shores of the Glacial Arctic Ocean and the Barents Sea. The sheer beauty of these northern lands is striking. Torrentuous rivers scar the high forested plateaus of Lapland country, while innumerable lakes strew the endless expanses of dark forest. The austerity of the northern coasts under the low clouds rolling over the ocean can suddenly morph into a fabulously crisp display of colours as soon as the sun break through for a brief moment. In these lowly populated vastnesses, a number of species of Siberian affinity reach the western and southern extremity of their range.
Our itinerary has been especially tailored to give you the best of these northern ambiances as well as the almost totality of avian specialties that can be found in these regions. Despite the harsh climate, the short summer season is marked by a explosion of life and a real race against the clock to breed in time before the cold season returns.
As a pre-extension to the main itinerary, we propose you to discover poorly known forested areas of Carelia, in south-eastern Finland, close to the Russian border which are very good for nocturnal species.
Extension - Southern Finland
Days 1-2. From Helsinki, we will head to Hauho in the Lake District. We will explore many sites of magnificent boreal forest around Hauho to look for species such as Ural Owl, Eurasian Pygmy-Owl or the mythical Great Grey Owl. We will also have a first encounter with other more common species inhabiting the Taiga.
Days 3-4. We will then stop in a newly discovered site near the Russian border where very localized species have been found, such as Booted and Lanceolated Warbler.
At the end of the extension, so as to avoid an unnecessary waiting time for the main itinerary to take place, day 4 of the Southern Finland trip actually corresponds to the day 1 of the main trip Taïga & Toundra.
Main Itinerary - Taïga & Toundra
Days 1-2. The main itinerary will start in Oulu, located on the shores of the gulf of Bothnia, where we will have another shot at seeing some of the owls already mentioned. We will also linger around the Liminka Bay, one of the best wetlands in the country.
Days 3-4-5. From there we will continue our progression to the north, reaching for the famous Lapland region, near the Russian border in the town of Kuusamo. It is around here that amidst some beautiful untouched taiga outcrops we will look for a number of fabulous species such as Western Capercaillie, Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker, Red-flanked Bluetail, Siberian Jay, Siberian Tit, Pine Grosbeak, Parrot Crossbill...
Days 6-7-8. our progression will lead us to the north, passing by the town of Ivalo. The mostly coniferous taiga will progressively leave way to shrubby moors with dwarf willows and birches, and before long we will cross the Arctic Circle to keep up in direction of the tundra of the famous Varanger peninsula. It is not exceptional to spot a Northern Hawk Owl perched on a tree and looking for a prey along the way.
Days 9-10-11-12-13-14-15. Shortly after entering Norway, we will reach the Varangerfjord, at the southern end of the mighty Varanger Peninsula, probably one of the finest and most famous birdwatching site in the Western Palearctic. We will explore the peninsula for a few days, experiencing the midnight sun over the sheltered bays and bogs that abound along the otherwise rocky and austere coast of this remote end of the world. The array of species that can be found during the breeding season is impressive and the birding is nothing short of spectacular. We will intently look for such charismatic species as Yellow-billed Loon, King and Steller’s Eider, White-tailed Eagle, Gyr Falcon, Long-tailed Jaeger, Thick-billed Murre, Hoary Redpoll… And depending on the abundance of lemming the immaculate Snowy Owl can be hoped for.