bird watching Vasterbotten tour – prices and itinerary

Bird watching Vasterbotten

An example itinerary:

Long weekend Friday to Tuesday.

Friday –

Arrive at Umea airport.

On collection it is possible to then eat a meal at the adjacent Avion shopping centre. Try the Scandinavian MAX burger restaurant or go international with Chinese, Japanese and Korean restaurants being available (at your own choice and cost).

Transfer to accommodation by 7 seat Volvo XC90 takes 1hr. The journey passes grassland, forest, rivers and lakes so the opportunity to spot birds or moose can be immediate. Settle into your new surroundings.

Saturday – Visit our forest on foot and a car trip to Vindeln River.

The focus will be on finding owls. The Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa) is the most likely one we will spot, but other Scandinavian owl species are very possible. The owls can be very aggressive and territorial towards one another and birds of prey. As such, we will need to visit a variety of locations to have a chance of finding different species of owl.

We will start with an easy morning walk through the taiga forest (coniferous forest created by boreal species of spruce, fir, larch, pine and silver birch) which we own near your lodgings. The walk will be around 1.5km and full of places to stop deep in the forest, overlooking grassland and beside the river. We walk over flat grass tracks, which we maintain.

You will be shown access routes, viewing hot spots, bird hides and feeding trees and stations.  You can then revisit them in your own time during the rest of your stay. 

You can expect to see Hazel Hen / Hazel Grouse (Tetrastes bonasia), try to spot Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) visiting their regular feeding trees and hope to observe Spotted Nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes), Siberian Jay (Perisoreus infaustus) and Grey-Headed Woodpecker plus more at our feeding station. Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor) are possible.

Grey-headed woodpecker (Picus canus canus) male by swedenfishingandbirding.net

Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) are common and Beaver (Castor fiber) possible with their felled trees and dam making efforts being ever visible. A close up experience with Moose (Alces alces) is possible.

The forest is home to Eurasian Brown Bear (Ursus arctos arctos), Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx) and Pine Marten (Martes martes). However, they have a natural fear and aversion to people so a sighting would be a rare experience. We do find footprints and scat.

You can then utilize the adjacent shop to stock up with foods/drinks. It opens at 9:30am.

During the correct time of year we may wake early to listen for and find breeding Capercaillie and/or Black Grouse.
 
A walk during the hours of darkness can often be rewarded with the sound of calling owls. Indeed, when we go out to view the northern lights we often get a hooting owl come and investigate us!
 
DSC_0662 Kristin King great grey owl northern sweden birdwatching holidays
Great grey owl (Strix nebulosa) northern sweden bird watching tour photographed by swedenfishingandbirding.net
 
In the afternoon we can take a drive around Skivsjo Lake, ascend a local wooden bird viewing tower overlooking a lake and forest, take detours through forest tracks and drive towards Vindeln Nature Reserve.
 
Encounters with Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix), Eurasian Crane (Grus grus), Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix) and Northern Raven (Corvus corax) are usually 100%.
 
The Western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), also known as the wood grouse, heather cock, or just Capercaillie. Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding.
The Western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), also known as the wood grouse, heather cock, or just Capercaillie. Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding.
 
We are usually treated to the sight of other raptors and corvids. Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), Rough-legged Buzzard (Buteo lagopus), Northern Hen harrier (Circus cyaneus) and Northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) being amongst the most noteworthy. 
 
The afternoon is a mixture of driving and walking very short distances to search for Scandinavian specialities (particularly owls, raptors, grouse and woodpeckers) culminating in our arrival at the beautiful Vindeln River where we hope to see White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla). Cross the river on an adrenaline inducing suspension bridge and observe a beautiful fast flowing salmon river from a whole new perspective. 
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Vindeln River suspension bridge.

Vindeln town offers some urban birding and a chance to use a large supermarket. Close views of Spotted Nutcracker are hoped for. Woodpeckers, Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus), Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea), Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) and many other passerine birds are very likely.

Driving to and from Vindeln will be dedicated to spotting Grouse, Capercaillie, owls and raptors. Moose and semi-wild Reindeer (owned by the indigenous Sami people) are possible. The area holds Lynx, Bear and Pine Martin but seeing one would be very lucky! Today offers terrific photo opportunities.

DSC_0688 Kristin King Ural owl birdwatching northern sweden holidays
Ural owl (Strix uralensis) bird watching northern sweden trips photographed by swedenfishingandbirding.net

We will keep a keen eye out for the very pale morph of Ural owl (Strix uralensis) that we have in the area. They mainly show along old growth forest edges on dull / overcast days.

We get sightings of Norther hawk-owl (Surnia ulula). It is one of the few owls that is neither nocturnal nor crepuscular, being active only during the day. We shall pause and view from the vehicle at one of their more frequent hunting spots.

Sunday – A car trip to Lycksele in Lapland.

Morning departure for Lycksele in Lapland (45 minutes drive away). Here we will ascend a wooden wildlife viewing tower, overlooking wet mire and forest. More often than not we see moose grazing. Bear, Pine Martin and Lynx are present but a very rare find.

Moose calf (Alces alces). Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding in our forest.
Moose calf (Alces alces). Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding in our forest.

Travel to and from Lycksele provides the opportunity to spot Owls, Raptors, Ravens, Cranes and more. Capercaillie, Hazel Hen and Black Grouse are regularly seen at close quarters. The drive is through pine, birch, spruce forests bordering the Umea River and lakes.

Lunch (main meal, hot and cold drink) provided at Lappkatan Restaurant. They offer swedish cuisine and vegetarian options in a traditional wooden Sami inspired building.

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Capercaillie – Sami inspired restaurant Lycksele

 Monday – 

A day at leisure. Birdwatch around the local lake, forests and village. Revisit the areas you were shown on Saturday, in your own time and at your own pace on foot.

Waterways that enter the lake produce White-throated dipper (Cinclus cinclus) while Eurasian Crane (Grus grus), Black-Throated Diver (Gavia arctica), Red- Breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator), Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) and Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus) are ever present.

During the late afternoon/early evening there may be the opportunity to take a car tour to look for owls and moose within a short drive.  

Tuesday – Departure day. Transport provided to Umea airport. One last chance to spot during the drive!

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Female Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix) photographed by swedenfishingandbirding.net

Bird watching Vasterbotten Overview:

My tours are designed to be affordable and show you the spectacular, the rare and the most wanted. My intention is not to create a list of over 100 species. You can do the latter yourself. My purpose is to narrow down the vast forest search area, have faith that what we want is there and will appear and most importantly to make sure you have a safe and memorable experience.

If your aim is to spend time with an exotic owl in the wild, watch a rare woodpecker tapping away and marvel at the size and pomp of a strutting Capercaillie then this is the tour for you.

The cost is:

Single guest – £600. Total cost £600 or 660 Euros or 6 900 SEK.

Two guests – £350 each. Total cost £700 or 770 Euros or 8 050 SEK.

Three guests – £300 each.  Total cost £900 or 990 Euros or 10 350 SEK.

Four guests – £250 each. Total cost £1000 or 1 100 Euros or 11 500 SEK. Keep in mind that one bed is a double and two will sleep in it! 

The package includes;

Pick up and drop off at Umea airport. Collection and drop off times to be agreed at time of booking.

Four nights accommodation in the caravan.

One restaurant lunch meal in Lycksele (main meal, hot drink and soft drink included).

Guided tours as described.

Extending your trip to being a full week stay (Friday to Friday):

SPECIAL OFFER – We only charge an additional £150 for you to stay with us for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night with a return drop off at Umea airport on Friday. The cost of £150 is for your whole group. So a group of 3 pays just £50 each for an extra 3 nights in Sweden! During this time you are left to “go it alone”.

Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) by swedenfishingandbirding.
Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) by swedenfishingandbirding.

If you wish to stay for a full week then we DO offer an extra day tour on the Tuesday. We head coastwards to Vannas (40mins drive away) where we observe from a wooden viewing tower. This affords an excellent chance to encounter the species covered earlier in different surroundings, plus waders, geese, gulls and ducks. This tour couples nicely with the chance to visit the city of Umea. Prices are dependent on your specific requirements and number of guests. This can be agreed during your stay. Wednesday and Thursday are then spent at your leisure. Return via Umea airport is on Friday. 

NEW! We have a secret location just over an hours drive away offering huge bird species diversity and photography potential. This place is top secret and requires a drive of just over an hour to reach. We shall be adding our photos from this location to our blog in February. This is where we see the colourful scandinavian bird species and some amazing raptor activity (including Golden Eagle).

WE AIM TO PLEASE. IF YOU HAVE ANY SPECIFIC QUERIES OR DESIRES OF PLACES TO VISIT OR THINGS TO SEE THEN FEEL FREE TO EMAIL ME THE DETAILS. I SHALL ENDEAVOUR TO ADVISE AND ASSIST YOU WITH YOUR CHOSEN ITINERARY.

Hawk owl Surnia ulula birdwatching northern sweden holidays
Northern Hawk owl (Surnia ulula) northern sweden birdwatching holidays photographed by swedenfishingandbirding.net

WE ALSO OFFER SINGLE OR MULTIPLE DAYS GUIDED BIRD AND WILDLIFE WATCHING TRIPS (WITH OR WITHOUT ACCOMMODATION).

PLEASE EMAIL US WITH YOUR REQUEST FOR SINGLE DAY BIRD AND WILDLIFE WATCHING TRIPS; STATING THE DATE YOU WOULD LIKE TO GO, WHICH SPECIES YOU ARE KEEN TO SEE AND HOW MANY ARE IN YOUR GROUP.

PICK UP MAY BE AVAILABLE IF YOU ARE STAYING IN GRANO, VINDELN OR THE SURROUNDING AREA. PRICES WILL BE SUPPLIED ON REQUEST.

Curlew (Numenius arquata) by swedenfishingandbirding
We have breeding Curlew (Numenius arquata) visible from where you stay. Photo by swedenfishingandbirding.
Male Black grouse or blackgame or blackcock (Tetrao tetrix) in our forest. Photo by sweden fishing and birding.
Male Black grouse or blackgame or blackcock (Tetrao tetrix) in our forest. Photo by sweden fishing and birding.
The short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) hunting over our grassland. Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding.
The short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) hunting over our grassland. Photo taken by sweden fishing and birding.

Bird watching Vasterbotten links to bird watching places of interest:

Umea River Delta – ducks, geese, waders

https://www.lansstyrelsen.se/vasterbotten/besok-och-upptack/naturreservat/umealvens-delta.html

 

Grossjon Nature Reserve

https://www.visitumea.se/en/book/to-do/a481605/gr%C3%B6ssj%C3%B6n-nature-reserve/showdetails

 

Gammplatsen – 500 year old pine tree nature reserve

https://naturkartan.se/vasterbotten/gammplatsen

 

Destinations in the county of Vasterbotten

http://www2.visitvasterbotten.se/en/about-vasterbotten/destinations/

 

Bjornlandet National Park – Bears

https://www.sverigesnationalparker.se/park/bjornlandets-nationalpark/

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

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