Bringing The Sights and Sounds of Nature to Your Screen
Searching for Wildlife in Subarctic Finland
Watching Large Carnivores and Boreal Birds During Two Holidays in Subarctic Finland
Paul and Helen flew into Helsinki in June of 2018 and 2019 to search for wildlife in the subarctic regions of Finland. For the majority of their time they were based at Wild Brown Bear on the Russian border where three large carnivores can be found. Trips were made to Oulu in the west to hunt for the five sought after northern owl species and a foray further north was made to the Kuusamo area where rarities such as the Red-flanked Bluetail can be found.
I was diagnosed with a rare cancer in May of 2018, the day before I left Gatwick Airport for Helsinki with Helen and my friend Dan Keightley. The trip was formulated between the three of us at the Rutland Water Birdfair the year before when Wild Brown Bear were offering discounted trips to stay with them in an old Finnish border station near Kuhmo, where they have 25 hides set around several hidden lakes on the edge of the Russian border.
This initial holiday was planned for 10 days with the main objective of finding and filming Brown Bears in the wild. Anything else was a bonus, although we were hoping to see Wolverines as well as bears.
Unfortunately on the first day of the holiday as we were heading north I became quite ill and spent three days in an excellent hospital at Savonlinna in the heart of the Saimaa lakes which unfortunately I didn't get to see.
I spent most of my time trying to persuade the doctors I was well enough to leave the hospital once I began to feel better and they eventually let me leave around midday on the third day of the trip.
Having been released we rushed to Wild Brown Bear arriving just as the guides were taking people to the hides.
After a quick safety session we joined the eager participants and headed off to the hides.
We spent our first night in freezing conditions with ice cold winds blowing directly into our faces. We were expecting the bears to appear at the far end of a large lake, however I first noticed movement in the woods to the right of our hide whilst Helen was sleeping and as I woke her with a hoarse whisper a huge male Brown Bear wandered out of the woods and across the near shore of the lake only 20 feet in front of the hide.
A second bear, this time a golden coloured female, appeared later in the dark of the night and walked along the shore of the lake before returning to the woods.
If this was all we were to see I would have thought the money and time had been worth it. However, there was much more to come including a trip over to Oulu where we saw five species of northern owls plus Black Woodpecker at the nest.
Due to my ill health affecting the initial trip we decided on a return visit at the end of June 2019 where Jeanette Fergusen joined us. We began in a similar manner but had an additional stop around Patvinsuo National Park where our guide Esa Muikka showed us a Flying Squirrel, two bears eating flowers in a meadow, my first Moose and several million mosquitos.
After visiting Wild Brown Bear for a week with a night in the Russian border zone with Arctic Media hoping to see a Wolf, we headed further north to the Kuusamo area where we stayed in a wooden lodge close to the famous Kontainen Hill. I managed to find many of the local rare birds such as singing Little Bunting and Red-flanked Bluetails out in the open. I think my favourite find was a Hawk Owl sitting in the top of a conifer at the back of Kontainen Hill.
On the return Journey we visited the beautiful forest lodge of Era Eero where we spent a night in a hide waiting for the elusive Wolverine before heading to our last stop at Parikkala close to Siikalahti Lakes. Here we took a look at some of the butterflies and dragonflies to be found.
I managed to capture much of what we saw on film and some of this can be seen in the video below.
This production was filmed in broadcast quality digital format using a Canon XL-H1 High Definition video camera. The footage has been captured onto DVD and shows approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes of high quality uncompressed digital video with complete menu accessed using your DVD players remote. Please take a look at the trailer above. The disc includes a full narrative not shown on the trailer.
This twin DVD film set "Searching for Wildlife in Subarctic Finland" is available for purchase from only £17.00 including postage and packing.
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