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Finland - On the Trail of the Wolverine

Tour Code: FIN03

A 4-day short break to Finland's vast taiga forests, including two nights in a specially constructed Wolverine-watching hide.

4 days from £1295(inc flights) Land Only Price: £995 SRS: £45


No tour summary is currently available. Please read the detailed description or download the tour itinerary.

Food

Two main meals per day, plus snacks in the Wolverine hide.

Accommodation

One night in a tourist hotel in Lieska with private facilities, then two nights in a comfortable, but simple, Wolverine-watching log hide. The hide features comfortable seats, shared toilet facilities, and bunk beds in a separate room. Please refer to our detailed 'tour itinerary' for additional information.

Wolverine (Eero Kortelainen)

Wolverine (Eero Kortelainen)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Joensuu and transfer Lieska.

Day 2/3 Wolverine-watching and woodland walks fromour forest lodge.

Day 4 Transfer to Joensuu and fly London.

Within the vast tracts of boreal forest that encircle our planet’s higher latitudes roams one of the northern hemisphere’s most formidable, but rarely seen, predators. The Wolverine (Gulo gulo) is the largest land-dwelling member of the Mustelidae, the family of mammals that includes Stoat, Badger and Pine Marten; only the aquatic Giant River Otter of South America is larger! These powerful and solitary animals are the nomads of the Arctic and travel great distances in their insatiable quest for food. This nomadic lifestyle makes Wolverines very difficult to see and there are few places in the world where the ‘Glutton’ of the animal kingdom can be observed (Gulo being Latin for ‘Glutton’). One such place is hidden amongst Finland’s forests and lakes close to the small town of Lieska. Here a hide has been specially constructed amongst the trees overlooking a favoured feeding area for the local Wolverines, and a couple of nights in this hide offers one of the best opportunities anywhere in Europe for a privileged view of this secretive creature.

Our tour begins with a flight to Helsinki, the attractive Finnish capital, from where we hop north to the small airport of Joensuu. On arrival, we will be driven through an endless landscape of forests, wetlands and lakes to the town of Lieska, located about 30 kilometres from the Russian border. A night in a comfortable hotel then awaits us and the opportunity for a good night’s sleep in preparation for the two nocturnal vigils ahead!

The next morning we will drive for 40 minutes to our lodge, a typically ‘rustic’ Scandinavian forest retreat with a large dining and lounge area, a couple of dormitory-style bedrooms, outside toilets and several saunas which our friendly host, Eero, will fire up on request. The lodge is situated deep within Finland’s taiga forests and will be our base for the next two days. On arrival we will head out on a woodland walk in search of some of the wildlife that lives here such as Red Squirrel, Crested Tit, Brambling and Parrot Crossbill. Following a home-cooked lunch we must prepare for the night ahead before departing at about 4pm for the 30-minute drive to the Wolverine hide. It is then a short and easy walk to the hide itself which is set on top of a low hillock overlooking a lightly wooded valley. The hide is essentially a large log cabin with two rooms and a compost toilet. At the front is a row of comfortable padded seats with views out across the valley through glass windows. Each viewing position is equipped with a metal screw plate on which a tripod head can be fixed and headphones connected to a sensitive outside microphone through which you can enjoy the sounds of the birds and other wildlife nearby. At the rear of the hide is a second room with beds for those wishing to have a night-time nap. Since this will be our home until 8am the following morning, patience is an essential component of this holiday! Snacks and a hot drink will be served soon after arrival and then it will be time to relax, watch, listen and wait. Fortunately, Finnish summers are blessed with long hours of daylight so it is likely to be light enough to watch for our quarry most of the night.

Wolverines are forever on the move and cover great distances each day. They are elusive and secretive animals that need to be ‘persuaded’ to stop for a while. With that in mind, our host baits the immediate surroundings of the hide with carefully concealed pieces of meat. The local Wolverines are now aware of this regular food supply and so — although they do not visit the hide every night — they are seen on a regular basis throughout the summer months. From time to time, Brown Bears wander past too, and, for the very fortunate, there is even a slim chance of Wolf!

During the hours when our main quarry is not on show, we can enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this beautiful area, watch for passing birds, and listen to the croak of a nearby Raven or perhaps the piping song of a Pygmy Owl. This tour includes two nights in the hide to maximise the chance of a Wolverine encounter. In between our nocturnal vigils there will be the opportunity to relax and to sleep back at the main lodge or to explore the forests further in search of birds and other wildlife.

We hope that our time ‘on the trail of the Wolverine’ will be successful, before we have to make the journey back to Joensuu Airport for our return flight home.

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DeparturesAvailableCost

Thu 5th July 2018 - Sun 8th July 2018

6

£1295

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: £995 More info

Room sharing options: Male sharing is available More info

Visiting: Finland

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Paul Stanbury
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