northern Sweden guided birdwatching – forest lake grassland owls woodpeckers capercaillie birding holidays

Northern Sweden Owls, Woodpeckers, Capercaillie, Black Grouse and more bird watching guided tours

We specialize in finding and observing the birds of Northern Sweden.

We manage our 16 Ha of forest and grassland as habitat for owls, woodpeckers, capercaillie and others. This aids you in experiencing these wild birds in the local surrounds of your stay with us. There is no need to travel far.

The guardian of our forest is the Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa). Often referred to as the phantom of the north, nesting and hunting sites are on our doorstep.

We locate the owls at sites known to be productive to us via walking or car. We then observe at distance before venturing closer and enjoying the spectacle out in the open air with nothing between us and the owl. If found, the owls are regularly tolerant of our presence and tend to stick around for a long time. A truly wild experience affording a lifelong memory. 

We follow the ethical guidance standards for bird watching as set out by Bird Life Sweden. At all times we respect the wildlife and avoid disturbance.

We provide you with an emailed digital bird list on completion of your booking (when the deposit has been paid). The bird list contains bird names in English and Latin.

There is a good chance that the Great Grey Owls will be nesting close by. They have done so in 2017 and 2018. 

great grey owl Strix nebulosa birdwatching northern sweden tour
Strix nebulosa

The Ural Owl (Strix uralensis) can be viewed nearby, with the most productive places being a short drive away. We afford these owls a view from a distance as they can readily become vocal and give warning swoops when raising nearby young. We search forest edges and known hunting grounds. 

DSC_0682 Kristin King Ural owl Strix uralensis birdwatching northern sweden holidays
Strix uralensis

The Northern Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula) is seen hunting at specific locations within a short drive from us. Knowledge of where they hunt using man made light is very advantageous to us.  

Surnia ulula Northern Hawk Owl Northern Sweden DSC_0697 Kristin King
Surnia ulula

The trips can be tailored to all abilities and desires. Choose 100% driving and viewing to as much walking as you desire; across Sweden’s vast forests and open areas. Both approaches can yield terrific rewards.

Walking across recently cut forest and old growth forest will require a degree of dexterity and physical fitness. You will be walking over uneven terrain. Ground conditions may be frozen, muddy or snow covered. Usually, they are dry. Numerous forest roads and paths exist, making for an easier walk across flat ground (usually hardcore, woodchip, cut or vehicle trampled grass).

Numerous non owl bird boxes (designed for different and specific species) are all in place and visible from the windows of your accommodation.

For obvious reasons we keep the exact locations of known owl breeding sites a secret. The birds are at risk from egg collectors, chick thieves and hateful hunters. We live on site, which affords a credible protection for our cherished wildlife.

We do not allow any hunting on our land. This is for your safety and minimises the disturbance to our wonderful birds.

After a couple of days of wet weather it is possible to see Great Grey, Ural and Hawk owl all out hunting in quick succession, within a couple of kilometers of each other. Simply amazing. Conversely, with such a huge area of forest to range over it may take time and effort searching to find them.

The smaller Tengmalm’s or Boreal owl (Aegolius funereus) and the Eurasian Pygmy owl (Glaucidium passerinum) are more of a challenge to find. Encountering a vocal bird is possible, but they are most likely spotted when perched at the top of pine trees. We do have boxes for them to breed in.

We sometimes encounter European eagle owl (Bubo bubo), Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) and northern Long-eared Owl (Asio otus).

We often see Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) on our property.

Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) hunting over our grassland. Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding. Bird watching Northern Sweden.
Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) hunting over our grassland. Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding. Bird watching Northern Sweden.
Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) hunting over our grassland. Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding. Bird watching Northern Sweden.
Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) hunting over our grassland. Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding. Bird watching Northern Sweden.
Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) hunting over our grassland. Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding. Bird watching Northern Sweden.
Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) hunting over our grassland. Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding. Bird watching Northern Sweden.
Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) hunting over our grassland. Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding. Bird watching Northern Sweden.
Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) hunting over our grassland. Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding. Bird watching Northern Sweden trip.
Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus). Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding. Bird watching Vasterbotten, Northern Sweden.
Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus). Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding. Bird watching Vasterbotten, Northern Sweden.
The short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) hunting over our grassland. Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding. Bird watching Northern Sweden.
The short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) hunting over our grassland. Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding. Bird watching Northern Sweden.
Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) being mobbed by a Eurasian magpie (Pica pica) on our property. Photo by sweden fishing and birding.
Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) being mobbed by a Eurasian magpie (Pica pica) on our property. Photo by sweden fishing and birding.

1hr 45mins drive away in Lovanger we had a Snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) in 2018 spend a prolonged period of time. It was much enjoyed by the locals and we can always hope!

Other notable birds of prey we may encounter include White-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus), Western marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus), Northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), Merlin (Falco columbarius), Eurasian hobby (Falco subbuteo) and Rough legged buzzard (Buteo lagopus). The Hen Harrier hunt across the grassland around your accommodation (usually the female) and over the road the male is seen in grassland adjacent to our pine and spruce forest. We have a reliable Rough legged buzzard site that we visit by car.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) hunt and nest in close proximity to where you stay. They have been seen daily during July 2019 from the caravan; hunting and taking fish from the shallow bay visible from the caravan window.

Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) have frequented our village. I have seen them while fishing on the lake. Being on our boat in the middle of the lake affords a large peripheral view. Otherwise, we know of another site which offers a chance of seeing them.

Crane (Grus grus), Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus), Black-throated diver (Gavia arctica), Common goldeneye (Bucephala clangula), Eurasian curlew (Numenius arquata) and Red-breasted merganser (Mergus serrator) are seen daily; as they breed near the lake and are regularly visible from your caravan.

Eurasian crane (Grus grus) feed, display, breed, call and roost directly outside where you stay with us. Photo taken in our back garden by swedenfishingandbirding@gmail.com.
Eurasian crane (Grus grus) feed, display, breed, call and roost directly outside where you stay with us. Photo taken in our back garden by swedenfishingandbirding@gmail.com.

Roosting European golden plover (Pluvialis apricaria) and Northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) are prone to attack from the raptors; which makes for a spectacle.

Hazel grouse or hen (Tetrastes bonasia), Black grouse or Blackcock (Tetrao tetrix) and Western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) are frequently seen as they gather roadside or at the top of trees to warm up.

A male Black grouse or Blackgame or Blackcock (Tetrao tetrix) displaying on a road near us. We watch them lekking in May. Photo by sweden fishing and birding.
A male Black grouse or Blackgame or Blackcock (Tetrao tetrix) displaying on a road near us. We watch them lekking in May. Photo by sweden fishing and birding.

Grey-headed woodpecker (Picus canus) and Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major), along with jays regularly visit our bird feeding stations.

Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) nest in our forest and are mainly spotted foraging in ancient trees. Their endeavours are easy to spot. We find that they quickly spot walkers and flee alarm calling. As such, we have a bird hide near their chosen feeding trees which affords a view of their undisturbed behaviour.

Breeding Redwing (Turdus iliacus) and Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) are present in large numbers. Flocks put on a spectacle in March; feeding voraciously on the grassland exposed by the retreating ice.

We have a small bird feeding site viewable from your caravan, another one near the sauna and a large feeding table deep in the forest reachable within a 10 minute walk. These attract Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula), Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus), Nuthatch (Sitta europaea), Willow Tit (Poecile montanus), Spotted Nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes), Grey-headed woodpecker (Picus canus) and Great-spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) plus Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix) and huge Northern Raven (Corvus corax) to name a few. We feed with seeds, berries, fruit, mealworms, bones and fatty foodstuffs.

Eurasian siskin (Spinus spinus) on our bird feeder by swedenfishingandbirding@gmail.com
Eurasian siskin (Spinus spinus) on our bird feeder by swedenfishingandbirding@gmail.com
Pair of Hooded crow (Corvus cornix) by sweden fishing and birding, Vasterbotten, Northern Sweden.
Pair of Hooded crow (Corvus cornix) by sweden fishing and birding, Vasterbotten, Northern Sweden.

Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis), Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla), Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus), Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra), Pine Grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator), Lapland Bunting or Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus) and Arctic Long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus) with its distinctive pure white head make for a terrific burst of colour in our forest and around our house.

Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) by swedenfishingandbirding
Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) in our garden by swedenfishingandbirding

We also have access to a location where these species regularly feed in large numbers. This top secret location offers a unique experience and excellent avian photography opportunities. It is one of the few places where you may encounter Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes).

Female Western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), also known as the wood grouse, heather cock, or just capercaillie. Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding.

The Willow Tit, Brambling, Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting and Bohemian Waxwing come and go around our house, but to see the others you need access to the unique site we know about. It is very difficult to see these species if you were to just visit Sweden and try to do it yourself without help. This secret site gets visited by very pale morphs of Arctic Redpoll too!

Battling Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) by swedenfishingandbirding.
Battling Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) in our garden by swedenfishingandbirding.

Many people in our village have bird boxes and bird feeding stations. A simple walk perusing them can be very rewarding.

The Siberian Jay (Perisoreus infaustus) appears sporadically at a nearby picnic location. When they do arrive they are amazingly tame and amiable to free food. We currently have access to a further site nearby. That area of forest is currently being felled and is giving regular sightings of foraging Siberian Jay amidst the newly cut trees.

Venturing to urban areas can provide close up encounters with Spotted Nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes). They go worming on residential lawns.

Spotted nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes). Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding.
Spotted nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes). Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding.

Red Squirrel, Roe Deer, Badgers, Red Foxes, White Hares and Norwegian Lemming exist close to your accommodation.

Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) by swedenfishingandbirding.net
Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) on our bird feeder by swedenfishingandbirding.net

We have healthy populations of Moose and Beaver (their felled trees can be seen at the river bordering our land).

Around 400 000 moose are present in Sweden. Each year around 100 000 are shot. Our village and the surrounds has a prolific population. A siting is most likely from a vehicle window. Males, females, breeding pairs in September, young (often twins) and even groups in late autumn/winter are present.

Moose or Eurasian elk (Alces alces) by swedenfishingandbirding.
Moose or Eurasian elk (Alces alces) in our forest by swedenfishingandbirding.

Pine Marten, Otter, Lynx and Bear are present but very shy. If you do see one enjoy the rare experience.

Around 3500 Brown Bears are spread across central and northern Sweden. Our county of Vasterbotten has an annual allowance to shoot around 28 of them. They have managed to meet that quota within a fortnight of the hunting season starting in recent years.

Wolves are not accredited as being present in our area. But individuals have walked from Russia and Finland into Sweden. The stronghold of the wolf population is in central Sweden.

Reindeer (owned by the indigenous Sami people) are seen daily during November and December and less frequently at other times.

 

Our 2019 bird watching premium tours run from:

Saturday 27th April until Friday 24th May (4 week period)

and 

Saturday 28th September until Monday 14th October (2 week period)

(You can book birding trips with us outside of these dates. Single day trips or longer stays).

During the premium tour times I am out spotting birds for most of the days. This means I have a better grasp of what is where and when.

From the 24th May to 4th October I will also be out on guided fishing trips. That means I am spending less time in and around the forest, so locating birds for you may require more time and effort. On the plus side I will be out on the water, so I will have a better grasp of what birds are present and where they are on or around the lake!

In the peak of summer with 20 hours of daylight owl spotting is more hit and miss. Dawn and dusk are at unsociable times!

The reasoning for our premium tour dates is;

  1. They afford excellent owl watching potential.
  2. Both sexes of Capercaillie, Black Grouse and Hazel Grouse/Hen are simple to find and observe as they spend time roadside and alongside forest tracks.
  3. Spotted Nutcracker, Siberian Jay and Grey-headed woodpecker visit our bird feeding sites.
  4. The Black Woodpecker frequents certain trees in our forest to feed.
  5. Our spring opening times afford the opportunity to see breeding Cranes, Divers and Merganser at close quarters lakeside. We can also check our owl, woodpecker and small bird nest boxes.
  6. The huge numbers and diversity of foraging birds when the snow and ice retreats during April is a fantastic spectacle. 
  7. The forests are free from mosquitoes!
  8. The birch trees that often grow along the roadside are leafless, which gives the birder a much better view to spot their quarry.
  9. Autumn berry bushes attract birds.
  10. The caravan is stored in the barn during the freezing heavy snow months of December, January, February and March.
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) by swedenfishingandbirding, Northern Sweden.
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) in our garden by swedenfishingandbirding, Northern Sweden.
Redwing (Turdus iliacus) by swedenfishingandbirding, Northern Sweden.
Redwing (Turdus iliacus) in our garden by swedenfishingandbirding, Northern Sweden.
Red-breasted merganser (Mergus serrator) on our lake. Photo by sweden fishing and birding. Bird watching Northern Sweden.
Red-breasted merganser (Mergus serrator) on our lake. Photo by sweden fishing and birding. Bird watching Northern Sweden.

IT IS POSSIBLE TO TAKE BIRD WATCHING TOURS WITH US OUTSIDE OF THE DATES ABOVE; SO A SUMMER JUNE, JULY, AUGUST OR SEPTEMBER TRIP IS POSSIBLE. CONTACT US FOR FURTHER ADVICE AND WITH ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE.

THIS OFFERS THE OPPORTUNITY TO VIEW JUVENILE BIRDS AND FAMILY GROUPS.

DURING THE SUMMER WE CAN USE OUR BOAT FOR BIRD WATCHING ON THE LAKE AND VISITING THE ISLANDS.

Cock o' the north by swedenfishingandbirding, Northern Sweden.
Cock o’ the north in our garden by swedenfishingandbirding, Northern Sweden.

Young Moose (Alces alces) standing in our forest. Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding.
Playing peek a boo with Great grey owl by sweden fishing and birding, Vasterbotten, Northern Sweden.
Playing peek a boo with Great grey owl by sweden fishing and birding, Vasterbotten, Northern Sweden.

Where you stay with sweden fishing and birding.
Where you stay with sweden fishing and birding.
Spotted nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes). Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding.
Spotted nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes). Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding.

We are situated near to the Vindelalven-Juhtatdahka UNESCO  Biosphere Reserve in northern Sweden.

The Biosphere Reserve is within a 15 minute drive from us at sweden fishing and birding and makes for a must see day trip.

Take a look at their internet site for more information – https://vindelalvenjuhtatdahka.se 

How many bird species can you expect to see?

Ability, effort, weather, number in your group, luck, will you visit the coast? A myriad of reasons will affect the answer. BUT as a rough guide a short Friday to Tuesday stay could be 80 / 100 species, while a week long stay could be around 140 / 160 species. This includes seen and heard species. Everything is hoped for, but nothing is promised. Wildlife is mercurial. One thing is for certain – when you encounter a Great-grey owl you won’t want to leave.

All of the photos used on this website were taken by Kristin in the vicinity of your accommodation. They remain the property of sweden birding and fishing and their reproduction is not permitted. 

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