Experience the toughest birds in the woods with likeminded photo enthusiasts in an "all inclusive" package.
This trip includes four days of photography, two days of capercaillie and two days of black grouse. The photo sessions is in the morning. You must stay in the photo hide to be ready when the display starts well before sunrise. The guide takes you to the hides and will pick you up again the next morning. During the daytime you have relax time as well as access to what you need; internet, bed and shower. The guide will arrange for the main meals. If the weather is nice it is possible to do an excursion during the day to look for different birds, for example hazel grouse, siberian jay, white backed woodpecker etc. On such an excursion there are also opportunities to see the king of the forest - the moose - as well as red deer and roe deers.
Biology and behavior
This trip will offer unique photo experiences on both black grouse and capercaillie. Both of these birds are typical of the northern boreal forests and have throughout the ages been linked to many myths and stories among the locals. In modern times they have become well known as a favorite photo objects.
In spring the male birds show up in all their splendor in their playground in the forest, a place where more males gather every year. The goal of the male birds is to attract the females and to mate with them. They do this by showing themselves in all their splendor, strong and beautiful. The show consists of an outstanding display of territorial behavior, which includes a lot of noise, display of feather drafts, and if we are lucky, we will also see fighting and mating.
In Oppdal in the last few years there has been an average of around 5-8 birds per game for both black grouse and capercaillie. The capercaillie is a big and mysterious bird of up to five kilograms who has the display in the old forests, while the black grouse is smaller and more lively, about one and a half kilograms and plays in open bog areas. The birds are lekking in the morning - they usually start before dawn. In the end of april - early may that means that the birds usually start at 02.00 - 03.00 in the morning. At that time the light is not good for taking pictures but we recommend to view the birds anyway to study behavior as well as to enjoy the experience, until the sun comes up. The last days in april and first days in may are referred to as "hen week". Then the hormone level is at its peak and the hen comes to her chosen male to be mated. The sun rises around 6 o'clock and the show usually goes on until 07:00 - 09:00 am. It is important to keep in mind that you have to be quiet - if the birds suspect danger they will disappear.
Practial info about photography and the photo hide
The photo hides consist of tent solutions and are considered very primitive. We want minimal destruction and disturbance on the sites we use, thus we remove the hides when out of season. This also means that there is no heating in the hides nor does anything prevent sound from coming out of the hides.
For the capercaillie mating it is important to get there early in the evening and stay in the photo hide, as the capercaillie is likely to come at dusk and sit outside the hide all night. If the capercaillie senses sounds or movements from the photo hide, it may move away and the chances of getting good pictures are reduced. That means it's important to be quiet. There is generally one capercaillie near the hide. The other capercaillies can sometimes be seen in the forest a little further away. The hide is set up at the place where the capercaillie attracting most hens is. It is about 1km to walk to the photo hide for capercaillie in flat terrain.
The black grouse is sitting in the trees on the side of the bog in the darkness, a good distance from the hide before arriving at the "show arena". Therefore we do not have to be extremely quiet before they come closer. They also make more noise which allows for a little more sound from the hide as their show increases in noise. This photo hide is mobile so we can move it to vary the phototaking if desired. The black grouse is fun photographing as they have fast movements and often fight with the competitor about the favor of the females.
In the nights there are usually minus degrees which calls for warm clothes and preferably clothes not making any noise. We have to walk about 500 meters across a swampy area to get to the photo hide.
The distance to the nearest birds is generally from 3 to 50 meters as they move, but the normal distance is around 15-20 meters. It is advisable to use a tripod and it is often desirable to get as close to the ground as possible by for example putting the camera down on a backpack.
When not in the photo hide
The guide will pick you up at nine o'clock in the morning when the show has finished. If the weather is okay we will have breakfast outside - if not we will go back to the base camp to have breakfast there. During the day you have relax time and can do whatever you want. The base camp is the home of the guide. You have your own bed if you want to take a nap as well as access to a fridge with food, towels and a shower, internet etc. The guide prepares breakfast when you return from the hide and dinner before heading out to the photo shed in the evening. You can also make a packed meal (sandwiches) to bring along for the night in the hide.
Outside the house there is a feeding spot for birds where you can take pictures if desired. The area around the base is a nice hiking area surrounded by forest, a river and agricultural areas - with possibilities to take a trip with the camera to photograph landscapes. If wanted we can also take an excursion to look for other wildlife, for example hazel grouse, siberian jay or deer.
It's easy to picture days filled with experiences but most likely you will after coming back from the hide - have breakfast, take a shower, edit some photos from the morning session before you get sleepy and fall asleep on the bed before having dinner and heading out to the hide again.
Oslo - Oppdal
The package includes a train ticket from Oslo Airport Gardermoen which is a 4.5 hour ride to Oppdal. You must make sure to get on the right train so you arrive in Oppdal at the right time. If you want to arrive otherwise, just contact us for assistance. We pick you up at the train station and bring you to our base camp, a 20 minutes drive from the train station in Oppdal.
All transportation in Oppdal is included in the package. On the last day you will be taken back to the train station and will be given a train ticket back to Oslo Airport Gardermoen.
Included in the package
- Guide during your stay
- Train ticket Oslo Airport Gardermoen - Oppdal and back
- Transportation in Oppdal
- Bed and linen
- Food and non alcoholic beverages
- Sleeping bag and mattress in the hides
- Photo hide
Not included in the package
- Airplane tickets
- Personal equipment
- Allergy friendly food, special diets
Fly to Oslo Airport Gardermoen. Take the train for four and a half hours north to Oppdal where you will be picked up and taken to base camp. Details about the program will be discussed while having dinner and we will make packed sandwiches. Making the camera equipment ready before heading out to the photo hide. It must be quiet in the hide before 21:00
Day 2 - 4:
Photo in the morning. The guide will pick you up at 09:00 am and you will be taken for breakfast. The weather determines whether it is served outside or inside. During the day you have relax time with various volunteer offers for those who want. Charging camera batteries and editing images is recommended. Dinner is served in the afternoon followed by making packed sandwiches and departure to the photo hide.
Last morning with photo in the photo hide. Breakfast, showering and packing of equipment before departure by train to Oslo Airport Gardermoen.