tiistai 1. toukokuuta 2012

Wildlife in Finalnd

On the ground
Finland’s unspoilt forests are still home to Brown bears, wolves, a healthy population of lynx and other predators - as well as elk, beavers, Red squirrel, reindeer and many more animals that have vanished from other parts of Europe. Woodland wildlife may be hard to spot, however, since most animals and birds are wary of humans.

National parks and nature reserves are naturally good places to see wildlife. Bogs and undeveloped lakeshores are particularly rich in flora and fauna. The national parks of Linnansaari and Kolovesi are home to the endangered Saimaa ringed seal.
In the Air

Finland is one of the northernmost countries in the world and the easternmost one in the European Union. So it will come as no surprise that the bird population should feature a number of northern and eastern species rarely encountered elsewhere in Europe. 

Keen birders flock to Finland to see Black and Great spotted woodpecker, Pygmy and Great Grey owls, White tailed and Golden eagles, Merlin, Pink footed geese, Willow and Siberian tits, Black grouse, Capercaillie, cranes and many other species that are rare elsewhere. Finnish birdwatchers are particularly active in April and May when Finland’s national bird, the Whooper swan, and many other winged migrants return north. Good places to watch migrating birds include Siikalahti in Eastern Finland, the Eastern Gulf of Finland National Park, and Laajalahti Nature Reserve just west of Helsinki.

Most of the geographical area covered by Finland lies in the northern coniferous zone, so forests make up nearly 70 percent of its total surface area. In addition, the majority of the most interesting birds – owls, woodpeckers and grouse – live in the old forests.

Approximately one tenth of Finland's surface area is swamp and bog. Bird species there include Arctic waders in their summer plumage in the breeding season. You could see Taiga bean geese, Common cranes and Whooper swans all nesting here.

Lakes and rivers make up another 10 percent of Finland's surface area: in fact there are almost 200,000 lakes in the country. Typical bird species seen on lakes include the Black-throated diver, Red-necked grebe and Little gull. The shallow brackish water bays on the Finnish coast feature a wide variety of waterfowl and waders.

For the hardy and adventurous, who are happy to head up onto the tundra, you may be lucky enough to encounter species such as the Dotterel, Ptarmigan and Gyrfalcon.
Where to go Bear watching in Finland

Head for Kajaani in the northern part of Finland, and from there make your way to the Martinselkonen Wilderness Lodge, one of Europe’s finest locations for observing brown bears from a specially built hide. You’ll find plenty of other distractions as well; the lodge owners have established several walking trails, while for birdwatchers there is a hide nearby. 

The bear hide itself occupies an amazing location in a forest-clearing, making it perfect for bear-watching. It’s also perfect for taking photographs. Some thought has been given to comfort as you spend a night in the hide. The chairs are very comfortable, and there’s an area set aside for sleeping and a private bathroom. It’s usually to spend two nights in the hide before returning to the lodge.

Brown bears are not the only species you have a chance of seeing. Reindeer may wander past, as well as wolves and birds. There are as many as ten different species of owl to be seen in the area. Summer’s endless light evenings ensure there’s plenty of time to observe the goings-on below you.

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