Project Description

Capture the exciting courtship display of the Black Grouse, with plumes of powder snow in the air as the mightiest Black Grouse males pit their strength against each other!

Black Grouse lek is a fantastic experience. The photo hides are placed around the lekking site so that when the males arrive at sunrise, the hides allow you to witness this magnificent show close, without disturbing the birds.

Groups of about 10 to 20 males assemble at the site every morning from the end of March, and 5 to 10 females from the end of April, continuing together to the end of May. There are more young birds participating in autumn, and the number of males may then exceed 20 individuals.

A backdrop with a dust of snow, a nice backlight, or autumn colors

Birds can be photographed in the snow at the lek from the end of March until late April, early May. In March and April, snow is an important element in the pictures as the males show off their display moves. In April and May, the hides are positioned to face a dark background, creating opportunities for spectacular backlights.

In autumn, from mid-September to early October, the birds are photographed against a backdrop of trees in autumn colours. In the frosty mornings of October, the lek is almost as active as in the spring.

About the hides

There is 8 hides in total (1-2 people in each). Four of them are sitting-level (for a total of 7 people) and four are sleeping-level (total of 6 people). The hides are all slightly different, and positioned strategically on the site. If you have special needs requirements for the hide, please let us know when booking.

Total capacity: 13 people.

Equipment:

  • One lens hole per person. If a seat in the hide is vacant, its lens hole is available for use
  • Bring your own tripod head/video head to fix your camera onto a wooden shelf or a heavy, moveable metal plate in the hide. Note: Tripods cannot be used
  • You can also use a bean bag
  • There are no toilets in the hides. We provide a portable travel urinal
  • Each hide has a gel heater

Photography season: Spring season is 20 March to 31 May, and autumn season 15 September to 30 October
Photography session: 3 to 5 hours
Location:  A 35-min-drive (40 km) from the centre of Kuusamo, with a 100-metre-walk to the hide

Price for independent photography session: 140 € / photographer / day
Price (briefing included): 190 € / photographer / day

Extra services:

  • Guiding services 400 € / day
  • Briefing for first-time visitors 50 € / photographer, 100 € / group

CANCELLATION POLICY DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

If the customer is prevented from using the service they have booked due to the prevailing travel restrictions, they are entitled to a cancellation, in which case we will cancel the booking and refund the money excluding the 50€ handling and money transfer costs. Alternatively, the reservation can be transferred to another time at no cost. The reservation can also be changed to an open reservation, in which case the payment will be used for a new reservation up to one year from the original date of the reservation.

Good to know (FAQ)

Do I need a briefing?

Briefing is mandatory for all photographers with no previous experience on photographing Black Grouse from a photography hide. The briefing, carried out by a professional guide, includes valuable photography tips: how to work in the hide, how to use the heater, how to interpret the behavior of the birds, how to check the backgrounds, etc. This information will significantly improve first-time results.

Do I have the hide for myself?

Our hides are for 1 or 2 people, so there may be another photographer in the hide. If you want a private hide, or a photography session for your group only, it’s available at an additional cost.

What is the difference between a sittinglevel and a sleepinglevel hide?

Our sleepinglevel hides are designed to give an angle of view as close as possible to the level of the birds, during snowy and snow-free seasons alike. The working position in the sleepinglevel hide can sometimes become strenuous or tiring. Observing the birds is also more challenging than at sitting level, but when successful, the images are more spectacular due to the more advantageous photographing angle. Sittinglevel hides can be almost groundlevel during the snowy season when the birds lekking on the snow are higher than the hide that sits in the snow, especially in early spring when snow can be almost a metre deep. The working position in the sittinglevel hide is more comfortable. If you specifically want a sleeping-level or a sittinglevel hide, let us know in advance, we will try our best to accommodate your wishes.

What time of the year can you photograph?

The Black Grouse lek photography is divided into an autumn season (15 September to 31 October) and a spring season (20 March to 31 May). Start of the lekking varies a little from year to year. During the spring season, birds can be photographed in the snow until late April, early May, depending on the year. Towards the end of April the first females will join the lek to observe the displaying males, and in the second week of May there is a so-called Female Week; this is when the dominant Black Grouse male mates with the females. Black Grouses will come to the lek site also in autumn, when it’s possible to shoot against the fall-coloured trees in the background until late September, early October.

How long does one photography session last?

One session lasts 3 to 5 hours depending on the season. Arrival at the hide is always one hour before sunrise. During the session, do not come out of the hide, as movement outside the hides will frighten the birds away. In spring, the photography session is usually over around 8 am, and after the birds have left it’s time to leave the hides. The autumn lek may last longer, especially on frosty mornings in late October.

What kind of clothing do I need for the photography hide?

In the spring, nights can be cold, so we recommend warm winter clothes such as wool socks, gloves, a hat and thermal layers, with winter boots and jacket. Likewise, in October, you should prepare for the cold mornings with warm clothes. It is possible to heat the hides with gel heaters. If you do not have your own, we have warm boots and winter overalls that you can rent.

What is the distance to the birds, and what kind of lens and equipment do I need to take with me?

The hides are 20 to 30 metres from the centre of the lek. However, the birds can move over a fairly wide area, and at their closest, be running between the hides.

We recommend 100-400mm / 150-600mm zoom lenses or 300-600mm telephoto lenses + extenders (optional). For pictures of birds in the landscape, it’s possible to use shorter lenses, for example 70-200mm.

CALENDARIO DE RESERVAS – HACER RESERVA

Disponible
Reservado
No disponible
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Precio: 140 € / persona / dia
Servicios adicionales:
* El briefing, realizado por un guía profesional, incluye valiosos consejos fotográficos: cómo trabajar en el hide, cómo usar el calentador, cómo interpretar el comportamiento de las aves, cómo distribuir la comida, cómo verificar los fondos, etc. Esta información mejorará significativamente los resultados de la primera vez.

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CONSULTAS Y RESERVAS
EN ESPAÑOL:

Mikko Oivukka
mikko@kuusamonaturephotography.fi

Vea más fotos tomadas de los hides en nuestra Flickr -gallery

¡CONSULTA TODAS NUESTRAS POSIBILIDADES FOTOGRÁFICAS AQUÍ!