BLACK GROUSE AND CAPERCAILLIE
IN WINTER CONDITIONS
When: 8th - 12th of April
Where: You will be staying in Deset, a small town surrounded by beautiful wilderness, about 25 km North from the city Rena in Hedmark county.
Length: 5 days
Number of participants: 2-4
Price: 13.000,- NOK (+/- 1.500,- Euro) per person
Accommodation: Small apartment with twin bedroom, bathroom, small kitchen and Wifi. Bed sheets will be provided.
Transport: You will be picked up and dropped off at Hamar train station. Transport for during your stay is included in the price. Groups of 4 or more persons will be picked up at the airport.
Food: Food and drinks for during the day will be provided for you, including a fresh cooked dinner every evening.
Tips for photographing grouse during display.
Usage of hides.
The tours as described below.
Flight: It is the easiest to fly to Oslo Gardermoen.
Train: From Oslo Gardermoen there is a direct train connection to Hamar.
Pick up at Gardermoen: It is possible to be picked up at Oslo Gardermoen airport, for the extra price of 150,- euro.
Alcohol: Alcohol is quite expensive in Norway. If you want to drink alcohol, I advise you to buy it at the airport before coming to Norway.
Travel insurance: All participants are responsible for their own travel insurance.
How does the tour look like:
Day 1: Morning / noon, arrival at Oslo Gardermoen. From the airport you will take a direct train to Hamar. Here you will be picked up by your guide. From Hamar it is about an one hour drive to the accommodation. Here you will get some tips for photographing on the display areas, while enjoying a warm meal. At 18:00 we leave to the capercaillie hides.
Day 2: The capercaillie start to display at about 3:30, but the light won't be strong enough to photograph until about 4:45. You will have the chance to photograph the birds until about 10:00. When the birds finish the display, you will be picked up and brought back to the accommodation where you will have a nice breakfast and a warm cup of coffee or tea. Since you just had a very short night, you probably will need to sleep some hours in the accommodation in order to be able to photograph the coming days too. We will go through the pictures you took and see if there is room for improvement. An early warm meal will be served, so that at 18:00 we can leave to the capercaillie hides.
Day 3: The same program as day 2. But this night you will spend in the accommodation and you will have your dinner at a normal time. If you are awake in the afternoon, you can use one of the photo hides with bird feeders to photograph small singing birds and woodpeckers.
Day 4: Since photographing black grouse and capercaillie is quite intense and exhausting, this day we will take it more easy. But you will have plenty of other subjects to photograph. We will get up early and make a tour with the car through the core of the local wolf pack. If we are really lucky, we can get a glimpse of this extremely shy animal. During the drive we have a big chance of encountering and photographing moose on and along the forest roads. Also female black grouse and capercaillie are often on the gravel roads at this time of the day. We will drive high up into a mountain area. Here we will search for willow grouse, which are still completely white. We will photograph from the car. Next to the grouse, we will have a chance to spot wild reindeer, red deer, roe deer, moose, crane, mountain hare, black grouse and capercaillie. Also the lynx has been seen and photographed in this area over the past few years. On our way back to our accommodation, we make a stop in another area where we will have the chance to photograph the dipper and moose. On this day we also have a good chance of finding the northern hawk owl, boreal owl and pygmy owl.
Day 5: The black grouse start their display somewhere between 4:30 and 5:30. Just before 5:00 the light will be sufficient to start photographing. The birds will display in front of the tents until somewhere between 8:00 and 10:00. When the birds finish the display, you will be picked up and brought back to the accommodation where you will have a nice breakfast and a warm cup of coffee or tea. We will go through the pictures and discus if you want to have the photo hides in a different position in order to photograph the birds from a different distance or with backlight. You will need to sleep some hours at the accommodation to be able to photograph also on the last day of the tour. In the evening or early next morning, you will be brought back to the photo tents.
Day 6: The same program as day 5. If you are awake in the afternoon, you can use one of the photo hides with bird feeders to photograph small singing birds and woodpeckers, or you can choose for a moose safari with the car. For the last morning on the leks, you will have the choice to either go once more to the capercaillie or black grouse lek.
Day 7: You will have your last early morning photo session with the grouse species you picked. Sadly this is the last day of the tour and it is time to pack your bags for the journey back home. You will be brought to Hamar, where you will take a direct train to Oslo Gardermoen airport.
Photographing black grouse:
You can choose to be brought to your photo tent in the late evening or early morning (03:30). If you are in the tent from the late evening, you will sleep in the tent until you get woken up by the black grouse arriving on the display area (somewhere between 4:30 and 5:30). The birds will stay in front of the photo tents until somewhere between 8:00 and 10:00. We work with tents, so that we can change the position of the tents between the different days. In this way you can have different distances, positions or angle of light. In order to get to the hides, we have to walk 1.1km on flat terrain.
Since the capercaillie arrive at the display area the evening before the display, you have to be in the photo hide around 19:00. The hides are camouflage photo tents (2.5 meter long) which offer plenty of space to sleep in and photograph from. Each photographer has got his / her own tent. The male capercaillie arrive at sunset and wait in the trees until the twilight starts (around 4:00). Then they come down from the trees and start with their mysterious display. You have to be extremely quiet, since the birds are focused on sound and easily scared off. The birds will stay on the display area until somewhere between 8:00 and 10:00. In order to get to the hides, we have to walk 800 meter uphill over a forest road and 400 meters through the forest.
Camera equipment needed:
Usage of objectives of 300mm or more is advised, tripod is needed, enough memory cards and batteries! Batteries can be recharged in the accommodation.
Important things to bring:
Warm clothing: The temperature will probably not rize above 0 degree Celsius. We will have contact before the tour starts to give an indication how the weather will be like. Thick woolen socks, gloves, warm cap, scarf, thick sweater, thermo underwear and a winter jacket are essential!
Winter sleeping bag: At night the temperature will drop to between -15 and -10. So a winter sleeping bag with a comfort zone between -15 and -10 is an absolute must! It is possible to rent high quality winter sleeping bags at location. These have a comfort zone of -15. The rent is 10,- euro per night. Please let me know prior the tour if you want to rent a sleeping bag.
Shoes: Bring waterproof mountain boots or solid snow shoes. We will be walking through snow, so it is important to keep you feed warm and dry.
Camera bag: To get to the black grouse hides, we have to walk 1.1 km, which can take about half an hour due to the snow. It is important that you bring a bag which will fit your camera equipment.
Patience and love for nature photography. For photographing caparcaillie, you need some patience. The birds are displaying in the forest, which means that often trees, branches or shrub are between you and the birds. You have to be patient and wait for the right moment. And you really need to love nature photography, because the conditions will be quite harsh and exhausting. But I prommise, it will be payed off!