Thursday 16 June 2016

Brown Bears in Finland

One of the aspects of our Finland trip that I was looking forward to most was a night in a hide on the Russian border, from which our primary hope was to see Brown Bears. Late May isn't the best time to see these beasts as it's the mating season, but the chance of sightings nevertheless remains high. We enjoyed two encounters during the night - the first of which was by far the most memorable. Quite early on (around 20:00) a nervous-looking female tentatively made her way through the bog, her hesitation becoming clear when three tiny cubs appeared around her feet. They were on show for about 10 minutes before disappearing off in to the forest towards Russia, but not before I'd taken several hundred images. Our second sighting came in the twilight at about 01:00 - a brief male that lingered only for a matter of seconds.

There was plenty to see from the hide while waiting for the bears, including at least three White-tailed Eagles and displaying waders such as Spotted Redshank and Wood Sandpiper. A handful of supremely elegant Baltic Gulls also popped in and out.

adult Baltic Gull 

Spotted Redshank in breeding finery

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