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Sweden in Winter

Tour Code: SWE03

A 4-day short break to experience the peace, tranquillity, and snow-laden beauty of rural Sweden in winter, as we focus on enjoying and photgraphing its obliging winter bird specialities.

4 days from £1495(inc flights) Land Only Price: £1325 SRS: £120


Winter bird watching in northern Scandinavia is very special. Though there are a limited number of species present, such beautiful species as Waxwing and Bullfinch look even more exquisite in the magical winter light of the far north and against a backdrop of snow, and keen photographers will be in their element. We’ll be based in the lowlands of Svartadalen in central Sweden and make daily excursions to look for finches, tits, Nutcracker and woodpeckers (including Grey-headed) in the forest and at bird feeding stations. We should be able to get very close to some of our target species on this trip; this, combined with a stunning quality of light, hearty local food, log fires and hospitable hosts, make this a very memorable holiday.

  • Hawk Owl & Pygmy Owl often resident in winter where we are based
  • Goshawk & Rough-legged Buzzard, plus Golden & White-tailed Eagles
  • Waxwing, Hawfinch, Crossbill, Pine Grosbeak & Dipper
  • Visit a feeding station for Siberian Jay at Ockelbo
  • Hazelhen, Black Grouse & Capercaillie possible
  • Chance of Elk, Roe Deer, Red Deer & Red Fox, plus Brown & Mountain Hares
  • Superb opportunities for photography
  • Enjoy picture postcard pretty, snow-laden landscapes
  • Led by expert naturalist & photographer guide

Food

All included in the price.

Accommodation

Comfortable guesthouse. All rooms have private facilities.

Hawk Owl (Glyn Sellors)

Hawk Owl (Glyn Sellors)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Stockholm; transfer Svartådalen

Day 2/3 Winter birding around Svartådalen

Day 4 Drive Stockholm; fly London

This is a holiday that offers quality rather than quantity. A quality of light (during daylight hours!) and some quality birds and photographic opportunities. Indeed, winter birdwatching in northern Scandinavia is very special. A time when, although a limited number of species is present, such beautiful birds as Waxwings, Crossbills and Bullfinches tend to look even more exquisite in the magical winter light, and when almost every medium-sized bird adorning a treetop is likely to be something special — a forest grouse, a Nutcracker, a Goshawk or even a Hawk Owl.

We will be based in the snow-laden lowlands of Svartådalen (the Black River Valley) in central Sweden. Svartådalen offers a pleasing patchwork of deciduous and coniferous forests, farmland, and lakes and wetlands, frozen and snow-covered in winter. We explore this quiet and generally underexploited landscape via small, winding roads, looking out for such winter visitors as Great Grey Shrikes and Rough-legged Buzzards. Resident Goshawks, and both Golden and White-tailed Eagles also frequent the area, whilst both Hawk Owls and Pygmy Owls are regularly seen throughout the winter as they sit in the treetops waiting for their favourite prey —voles — to show on the ground beneath them. Hawk Owls, in particular, once they have found a reliable source of food, will often stay in the same area for months during the winter, before moving north to their breeding grounds in March.

On cold, clear days, the air is dry and icy and the light simply stunning as it turns to picture postcards the pretty, bright, redpainted wooden farmhouses and the glistening white, snow-covered surroundings. On our excursions we will not lack for plentiful snacks and hot drinks, preferably enjoyed beside an openair fire; but the bitter cold burns energy, and after a full day’s birding it is wonderful to retreat into a warm cottage and to sit before a welcoming log fire for a cup of afternoon tea and consideration of the day’s sightings. Indeed, both of the comfortable countryside hotels we use during this short break offer hearty local food and a good atmosphere.

Each day, during our winter birding outings, we will not just scan from the roadsides in our vehicle, but will take walks into the forest and spend time at bird feeding stations, positioned in a variety of habitats, each attracting a different range of species. At one such feeding station at a garden feeder in the southern part of Svartådalen we should see Hawfinches and magnificent Bullfinches amongst a host of other finches, tits and thrushes. Further north, in a forest clearing, Nutcrackers and Greyheaded Woodpeckers are the main attractions, together with a variety of forest tits and other passerines. Many of these birds have become very tame over the years, and Crested, Willow and Coal Tits will sometimes feed from your hand or sit on your camera lens whilst curious Nutcrackers gather hazelnuts just metres away.

On one day we will drive north for a couple of hours to a feeding station at Ockelbo.  Here, surrounded by the extensive taiga forests which wrap around the planet at this high latitude, we will look for curious Siberian Jays which regularly visit the feeding station in February. Grey-headed Woodpecker, Crested Tit and Willow Tit are also likely, whilst en route we will stop at the River Dalälven where Dippers (of the Black-bellied race) are found and where Pygmy Owls can sometimes be seen by the roadside. We should also be vigilant throughout the tour for flocks of softly trilling Waxwings which are often seen feasting on berries in Swedish gardens during the cold winter months.

On our final morning we will walk in the forest in search of Hazelhen, Black Grouse and perhaps, even, Capercaillie. We will also look out for Goshawks, and both Golden and White-tailed Eagles, whilst occasionally Three-toed or Black Woodpeckers are encountered here.  Mammals, too, will not be overlooked during this holiday, for we have a good chance of encountering such common species as Elk, Roe Deer, Red Deer, Red Fox, both Brown and Mountain Hare, Red Squirrel, Stoat, Weasel and Mink, and a slim chance of one of the more elusive residents — a Lynx, Wolf, Beaver, Otter or Wild Boar! We will also have fun deciphering their tracks.

Waxwings (Daniel Green)Waxwing (Daniel Green)Nutcracker (Simon Green)Hawk Owl (Daniel Green)Ural Owl Daniel Green)Golden Eagle (Zsombor Karolyi)Hawk Owl (Daniel Green)Hawk Owl (Daniel Green)Waxwing (Daniel Green)Pine Grosbeak (Stefan Oscarsson)Winter sunset (Daniel Green)European Elk (Moose) (Rob Daw)Otters (Rob Daw)Otters (Rob Daw)Nutcracker (Niclas Lignell)White-backed Woodpecker (Rob Daw)Willow Tit (Michael Bergman)Hawfinch (Torbjorn Arvidsson)Traditional Swedish houses (Daniel Green)Eurasian Pygmy Owl (Torbjorn Arvidsson)Bohemian Waxwings (Hans Bisther)Scanning (Daniel Green)Lunch (Daniel Green)Watching a perched Pygmy Owl (Daniel Green)Nuthatch (Torbjorn Arvidsson)Ride on a swedish Kick (Daniel Green)Siberian Jays (Hans Bisther)Nutcracker (Michael Bergman)Hawk Owl in moonlight (Daniel Green)Hazel Grouse (Micheal Bergman)Hawk Owl (Glyn Sellors)Grilling the hot dogs (Daniel Green)Forsby frost (Daniel Green)Dubbelvy (Daniel Green)Bullfinch (Daniel Green)Crested Tit (Goran Ljunggren)Blanad (Daniel Green)Crested Tit (Rob Daw)Naturetrek Group (Rob Daw)Naturetrek group (Rob Daw)Birding (Rob Daw)Nutcracker (Rob Daw)Pygmy Owl (Rob Daw)Svartadalen sunset (Rob Daw)Three-toed Woodpecker (Rob Daw)
R.B.
Surrey
It is Daniel's local knowledge and expertise as a leader which lifts this trip above the ordinary. He (and his colleagues) maintain their specially chosen, fairly remote feeding areas diligently, and this is what provides unique opportunities for close up encounters with some very rare and charismatic birds, like Nutcracker and Siberian Jay. I loved having the chance to photograph birds like Crested Tit, Willow Tit, Nuthatch, etc., and it was great to 'stalk' fantastic birds like Pygmy Owl, Three-toed Woodpecker and White-backed Woodpecker. We also had several 'surprise bonuses' like finding a sitting Elk, catching glimpses of Black Grouse and Capercaillie, and, best of all, watching a mother Otter and her pup repeatedly diving into the icy waters of a fast-flowing river – wow!!
Mr & mrs
Surrey
The trip was well organised, with plenty of variety and fun!
W.G.
West Midlands
An excellent trip. Daniel was a great leader. Although this was a short trip, we packed a lot in from dawn to dusk. Saw some great birds.
Mr. R. P.
West Sussex
I had a wonderful time despite several excursions into very deep snow and having to be pulled up by other members of the group. This was the third time I have been on a NatureTrek holiday and each time I come away totally gobsmacked by the knowledge and ability of the tour leaders, the quality of the accommodation and meals as well as the camaraderie between the group members.
M.P.
Berkshire
Delicious Moose stir fry on (a) log fire in (the) woods! Fresh Lynx footprints in snow a particular highlight. Most enjoyable stay, thank you.
J.M.
Wiltshire
Daniel is a fantastic leader, he really knows the area and birds. The logistics, meals etc were very well organised.
E. & E.L.
Leicestershire
Daniel was a fund of information and very accessible, his cooking at the barbeques was excellent also. There were so many advantages of having Daniel as a local expert.
R.R.
Dorset
The holiday was very well planned. Daniel Green was an excellent leader and worked exceedingly hard and efficiently to allow us to see the birds, enjoy the beauty of the area as well as cooking the most delicious lunch/picnics in beautiful places. He is an extremely able leader, and so was Michael who showed us a Three-toed Woodpecker.
C.H.
Norfolk
A big thank you to Daniel who was lovely, a good cook as well as being an excellent guide and source of information! And he really looked after me…Thank you again for making it possible for me to return to Sweden, my favourite country. The nature is so wonderful there and its not too far to travel.
D.B.
Dorset
Our tour leader was excellent. He worked very hard and his local knowledge was superb. I was really impressed with the food. Thank you. I will definitely return to Sweden - it was a brilliant holiday!
J.H.
Cornwall
We enjoyed the novelty of Daniels picnics and would recommend this trip unreservedly.
P.C.
Surrey
A first class leader. A great success, not only for me, but the whole party.
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Thu 8th February 2018 - Sun 11th February 2018

3

£1495

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £1325 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Sweden

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Kerrie Porteous
Operations Manager

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01962 733051

Tour Focus

BirdsPhotographyShortbreak

Tour Leaders

Tour Reviews

It is Daniel's local knowledge and expertise as a leader which lifts this trip above the ordinary. He (and his colleagues) maintain their specially chosen, fairly remote feeding areas diligently, and this is what provides unique opportunities for close up encounters with some very rare and charismatic birds, like Nutcracker and Siberian Jay. I loved having the chance to photograph birds like Crested Tit, Willow Tit, Nuthatch, etc., and it was great to 'stalk' fantastic birds like Pygmy Owl, Three-toed Woodpecker and White-backed Woodpecker. We also had several 'surprise bonuses' like finding a sitting Elk, catching glimpses of Black Grouse and Capercaillie, and, best of all, watching a mother Otter and her pup repeatedly diving into the icy waters of a fast-flowing river – wow!!
R.B., Surrey