Golden Eagles of Oulu

An audience with the majestic Golden Eagle should be the highlight of this tour (Jari Peltomäki)

An audience with the majestic Golden Eagle should be the highlight of this tour (Jari Peltomäki)


Sunday 1st October - Friday 6th October 2017
(6 days)

Leader: Jari Peltomäki
Group Size Limit: 6


GOLDEN EAGLES OF OULU

Potential Photographic Highlights:

  • Two full days of Golden (and White-tailed) Eagle photography from pro-hides with autumn colours backgrounds
  • Bohemian Waxwings and Nutcracker
  • Autumn passerines from feeding station/drinking pool hides
  • Whooper Swans and large flocks of Common Cranes
  • Hen Harriers
  • Possibility of Hawk Owl, other owls and Aurora Borealis!
  • Optional pre-tour extension possible for Wolverine & Brown Bear and/or Siberian Jay & Siberian Tit.

Autumn comes early to northern Finland and by October both Golden and White-tailed Eagles are already visiting our local agent's feeding site not far from Oulu. In fact they have already started feeding the eagles in September. However, the reason your photos of them from this tour will stand out from the crowd is the beautiful autumn colours in the backgrounds.

As well as the two full days of eagle hide photography at nearby Utajärvi you will be able to spend time in both forest hides and also wetland hides at Liminka Bay, where there are many other possibilities for you to choose from. In the forests, birds will already be preparing for winter, and whilst species around will depend on what kind of year it has been for them, potential targets from the feeding station and drinking pool hides include:  Northern Goshawk, Nutcracker, Bohemian Waxwing, Crested Tit and Brambling, against lovely autumn colours backgrounds and reflections. We can also make an effort to track down some more exciting species during our time here such as Black and Hazel Grouse, Eurasian, Black and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers and if we are lucky there will be some owls around too - Great Grey Owl, Eurasian Pygmy Owl and particularly Hawk Owl are all possible here at this time of year. The area you will be visiting is not far from the Arctic Circle, as well as Rokua Geopark, the world's most northerly geo park, chosen for its landforms shaped by the last ice age, which are characteristic of this region: eskers and sand dunes, pine and lichen-clad heaths, kettle holes and small ponds filled with crystal clear water.

Away from the forests, the extensive meadows of Liminka Bay, just south of Oulu, provide another nice backdrop to your photography and are host to a throng of birds preparing to leave northern Fennoscandia for the winter. There will be large flocks of Common Cranes gathering for their long journey south to their wintering grounds. Whooper Swans will also be gathering here. We will use purpose-built wooden hides for these and other wetland species and our local agents will also be trying to attract Hen Harriers, which are plentiful in the meadows of Liminka Bay at this time of year.

As if all of this was not enough, depending on the weather and solar activity at the time of your trip, there is a fair chance to photograph the spectacular Aurora Borealis over a natural wetland landscape before returning to relax in one of our lovely traditional hotel's three saunas!

Eagle hide photography

The professional eagle hides are of sturdy insulated wooden construction with small glass observation windows and lens holes (you will not be shooting through glass here), seating and can comfortably accommodate two and three photographers respectively. They each have a toilet area at the rear of the hide for your pre-dawn to dusk hide sessions, which usually last around 12 hours. After breakfast at our hotel you will need to enter the hide before dawn and leave it at dusk, which equates roughly to 0630–1830 (6.30 am–6.30 pm) at this time of year. The hide regularly attracts Golden and White-tailed Eagles. The eagles will most likely be around 25-30 metres from the hide and the ideal effective focal length for all round photography from the eagle hides is probably 200-400 mm, although 500-600 mm is still good for portraits and single birds.

Forest bird hide photography

The feeding station hides are also of a similar sturdy wooden construction and layout. One of them has three holes for lenses and another two hides have glass windows instead. There is also a drinking pool hide for person. However, our local agents are busy building more hides and there may be more possibilities by the time of our visit. The feeding station regularly attracts Northern Goshawk at this time of year as well as nutcracker, Crested Tit and Brambling amongst many other possibilities. The ideal effective focal length for all round photography from the feeding station and drinking pool hides is probably 400-500mm.

Wetland bird hide photography

The wetland meadow hides are also of a similar sturdy wooden construction and layout to those above. There are presently three hides available with glass windows, which allow birds to come very close to them without any disturbance. Possibilities here include Common Crane, Whooper Swan and our agents are presently working hard on baiting Hen Harriers, which are plentiful in this area at this time of year. The ideal effective focal length for all round photography from the wetland hides is probably around 500mm.

Itinerary

Day 1 The tour will start this afternoon at Oulu Airport, from where we will make our way southeast to Utajärvi, around an hours drive away, our base for the next two nights. We will have an evening photographic excursion on arrival.

Days 2-3 All day photo sessions in the Utajärvi pro-hides for Golden and White-tailed Eagles. Common Ravens also abound at the eagle hides. On the evening of day 3 we will transfer back to Oulu for a three nights stay.

Day 4-5 We will spend the next two days in the forests and wetlands of the Oulu region where there are numerous possibilities and targets will depend on what is around at the time of our visit. Possibilities include wetland hides at Liminka Bay for Common Cranes, Whooper Swans and Hen Harriers and forest hides for Northern Goshawk, Nutcracker, Crested Tit and Brambling. In the wider forest area opportunistic photography could produce Black and Hazel Grouse, Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker, Black and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, Bohemian Waxwing and, if we are lucky, Hawk Owl and maybe even Great Grey and Eurasian Pygmy Owls.

Day 6 After a final morning of photography the tour will end at Oulu Airport in the afternoon.

EXTEND YOUR TOUR OR CUSTOM DEPARTURES AT OTHER TIMES

We can happily extend this photo tour or arrange a trip for you focusing on the eagle hides as well as the birds on offer in the Oulu region at other times of the year, and you will always be looked after by our competent agents in Finland. Possible pre-tour extensions to this tour include Wolverine, Brown Bear and Wolf photography at Kuhmo and Siberian Jay and Siberian Tit at Kuusamo. Please contact us if you would like us to put together a customized itinerary for you. We can also offer custom tours in Finland for Capercaillie and Black Grouse lek photography in spring as well as Wolverine, Brown Bear and Wolf photography, please contact us for details.

Accommodation & Road Transport: All accommodation is in en-suite rooms in a delightfully located traditional riverside guest house. Food is tasty, traditional and home-cooked and there will be a chance to try some local home-brewed beer too. Road transport is by car or minibus throughout and roads and forest tracks are generally good.

Walking: The walking effort is easy throughout.

Climate: The climate in northern Finland is variable, and rain is possible, but generally the weather is heavily influenced by Siberia and at this time of year night time lows can dip below freezing but the day time highs are usually pleasantly warm.

Photographic Equipment: We recommend a 300-500mm telephoto lens, with either a 1.4X extender or ‘crop’ body at the lower end of this range for the best results. The ideal lens in our agent's opinion is a 200-400mm zoom. The use of a tripod will be ESSENTIAL.

Prices are provisional

Important Information for Pound Payers: Kindly note that the prices shown here are based on post-EU-referendum exchange rate reality, unlike many tour operators who are still showing prices based on hugely higher and very outdated pre-referendum exchange rates. Consequently you can rest assurred that we will not have to adjust these prices upwards at invoicing, unless the Pound falls significantly further, and if there is a significant recovery by the Pound you will receive the benefit by way of a price reduction.

Tour Price: £1980, €2340, $2600 Oulu/Oulu.

Price includes all transportation, all accommodations, all meals, bottled water, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local guides and for accommodations/restaurants, local guide services.

Base prices for this tour are determined in Euros, the currency in which we pay for most tour services. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = €1.180 and €1 = $1.110. For those not paying us in Euros, prices will be adjusted (either downwards or upwards) at the time of invoicing should there be a significant change in the exchange rate. See booking information.

Single Room Supplement: £215, €254, $282.

Deposit: £300, €350, $400.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with the tour from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to travel in advance of the tour (and spend a night in an hotel so you will feel fresh when the tour starts), or return later than the end of the tour, or make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.

We can dream of an opportunity like this one - a Hawk Owl against a lovely background of autumn silver birch trees (Antii Vierimaa)

We can dream of an opportunity like this one - a Hawk Owl against a lovely background of autumn silver birch trees (Antii Vierimaa)

Depending on weather and solar activity at the time of your visit, there is a chance of being able to photograph the wonderful Aurora Borealis at this time of year like this image from our 2015 tour (Jari Peltomäki)

Depending on weather and solar activity at the time of your visit, there is a chance of being able to photograph the wonderful Aurora Borealis at this time of year like this image from our 2015 tour (Jari Peltomäki)

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