Bird watching Vasterbotten
An example itinerary:
Long weekend Friday to Tuesday.
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 the UNESCO Vindeln River Biosphere Reserve.
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 do a late evening / night drive to maximise our chances of owl encounters.
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 is 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) or Grey-Headed Woodpecker plus more at our feeding station. Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor) are possible but elusive.
Close interactions with Red-breasted flycatcher among the wood piles is a highlight.
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 and adrenaline inducing!
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.
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.
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.
Vindeln Nature Reserve has a specific bird watching educational forest trail. Feeding stations, a live webcam feed, bird boxes and numerous information boards and interactive bird call stations are present.
You wind the apparatus on the bottom right of the above photo to hear various recordings of singing birds.
We will take a late evening Owl targeted drive, park up and wait tour in the two hours before darkness.
This is a LOT to do in one day and offers the chance to see locations that you will want to revisit should you be staying extra days with us. Some can be see on foot from where you stay, others will require a hire car or we me be able to conduct additional visits in future days for a charge. These can be agreed, booked and paid for while you are staying with us. So, if you like what you see we can take you back!
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 very rare find.
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.
If you want that Swedish souvenir (whether it be a moose bottle opener, swedish candy or reindeer antler handled cheese slicer) then Lycksele offers the chance to buy it. The town holds a terrific zoo showcasing indigenous species in their natural surroundings, an outdoor swimming pool complex and is a major stopping point for the camper van and caravan brigade passing between Norway and Sweden. It has a reputation for being a tourist destination.
A late evening owl watch close to home is viable in the two hours before darkness depending upon how long we stay in Lycksele.
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!
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 (BUT we do supply a bird list containing 180 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.
LET US HELP YOU SPOT THEM
BEFORE THEY SPOT 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 groups of up to 3 people. 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”. A fourth guest costs an additional £50.
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.
You may wish to book a trip on our boat to visit the islands in the lake and view birds out on the lake. Ducks, geese, gulls, terns, waders and raptors are ever present. Trip costs, departure times and duration can be agreed during your stay with us. This affords the best opportunity to encounter Beaver (sometimes on land but usually swimming in the lake).
NEW! We have a secret winter 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. 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.
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.
Bird watching Vasterbotten links to bird watching places of interest:
Umea River Delta – ducks, geese, waders
Grossjon Nature Reserve
Gammplatsen – 500 year old pine tree nature reserve
Destinations in the county of Vasterbotten
Bjornlandet National Park – Bears