Brown Bears Spring Awakening with Wild Arena 2020

Outline Itinerary

Day
1. Depart UK. Arrive Finland & transfer to lodge.
2. Optional walk in forest. Late lunch. To professional hides for overnight bear photography
3. Return to lodge for breakfast. At leisure (bird photography), return to hides to overnight.
4. As Day 3 with time to catch up on sleep, returning to the hides in the late afternoon.
5. Return to the lodge for breakfast. Transfer and depart Finland. Arrive UK.

Cost

£1,920 per person

Departure Dates

24 - 28 April 2020 - Just a few places remaining

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The Eastern border of Finland with Russia is home to the magnificent European Brown Bear. This normally shy and reclusive mammal, comparable in size to the Grizzly, roams through these beautiful forests in the search for food. It is to this quiet corner of Finland that our tour will take you in search of these magnificent mammals. 2020 will be Wild Arena’s 16th year at this amazing site and we regard it as one of Europe’s true wildlife highlights.

Our ‘Brown Bear Spring Awakening’ trip is special not only because we are exclusively using the smaller professional grade hides but also because we are visiting very early in the season to maximize our chance of seeing the Bears in snow! This is an awesome and exciting time to visit just as the first Bears are emerging hungry from hibernation. The already wild landscape can be enhanced by the early season weather making for some dramatic opportunities.

We will spend 3 nights at a regular feeding site, which the bears have been visiting for nearly 30 years. Our unique ‘professional grade’ trip is traveling out early in the season to maximize our chances of capturing the Bears in unusual conditions with bare trees and a high probability of snow on the ground. The lodge we are visiting has a number of small ‘pro’ grade’ hides in both open and forested locations and we intend to place each photographer in a different hide on the 3 nights of photography (2 nights in the small hides and 1 night in the main hide). The pro’ hides are designed for 2 photographers but for space, comfort and privacy we will only have 1 photographer at a time in each hide, on each night. The 1 night in the larger hide is useful as you will be accompanied by your guides, giving lots of opportunity to talk about the Bears and photography techniques.

Each purpose-built hide is complete with comfortable seats, bunk bed, a simple toilet facility, heater and draw-string camera viewing holes which will allow us to photograph the bears when they are close but in safety. The small hides are checked and moved each winter to ensure that the landscape they overlook is at its most beautiful and pristine and April should be perfect for invoking a true sensation of harsh wilderness in our images.

The bears are likely to visit each of the hides during the evening, overnight and early in the morning for the food that will be carefully placed by our local guides. There is even the rare but tantalizing possibility of spotting Wolverine or Wolves that might also be drawn close by the food at this lean time of year, truly an amazing sight!

To maximize our chances of getting the best pictures we will stay overnight in the hides so drinks and snacks will be provided by our hosts for everyone. After leaving the hide in the morning we’ll have a hearty breakfast back at the Forest Lodge and then spend the days at leisure before we re-entering the hides again for a further 2 nights of fantastic photographic possibilities.

During the days there will be plenty of chance to get some rest and also to photograph in the ancient northern forest surrounding the lodge. Possible subjects include the wildlife that visits the Lodge feeders such as Bullfinch, Siberian Jay and Northern Red Squirrel. The Lodge has extremely comfortable rooms with hot showers and superb home cooking so everyone should be well looked after during their stay.

The trip will be escorted by our highly experienced UK photographic guide, who will work in conjunction with the local rangers to get the best opportunities from the trip.

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