2014.05 In heaven with the bears!

19th August 2014

In May 2014 I have brought my father to the wild Finland! I absolutely wanted to show him the brown bears of Finland and why not a few wolves, wolverines and arctic birds. I had heard some very good things about a place called Martinselkonen. Man, it did not disappoint at all!

This place consists of a big « luxury » hide and a few small hides. The big hide is a window to the life of the bears in the forest. This is very interesting and the place of a many bear activities. I have been to a few other places in Finland but as far as the bear are concerned, Martinselkonen is really special. It is some kind of bear galore! I never imagined we would see roughly 20 bears per night in this place: big males, young solitary males, females with 1 year old cubs or even lonely cubs.

The other 2 places hides are in a nice open area and prone to many passages of bears (going back and forth to the area close to the big hide). They provide very nice scenes too! We were particularly lucky to see some snow in this place (even a few snowfalls) as it goes particularly well with the bears.

We have seen all types of interaction: cubs mock fighting, young adult males fearing bigger guys, females with cubs teaching them to climb at the first danger, male and female flirting (mating season would be in just a few days/weeks).

Finally, we also went to Boreal Wildlife center and also had a great time there even though the bears a little shy here. We especially liked to see them running in the very deep and wet moorland!

Here are my 25 preferred pictures for those days:

Where luck was definitely with us is when a lonely wolf appeared in our vision. Seeing a wolf is much more difficult than seeing a bear (and this wherever you go)!

Spring is also a good time to do some birding! We spent a fantastic night waiting for the male capercaillie, but hell, how cold it was (-10°C)! We got quite a show with an early bird (starting at 3AM) starting a long display with very impressive attitudes and little squeakings. This bird is both beautiful and odd looking I must say!

We missed the star of all birds (the great grey owl) but we managed to see the Oural owl which is also a large owl!

Yes, Finland made it again and is still full of potential!

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