Finland: 19/04/14 – Day 3

Woke up stiff, hip aching, and rather cold. It was not a comfy sleep it was like 3 peas in a pod…Looked out the hide windows, bitter cold but one bear was outside it looked as if he had not moved all night as he was in the same place as the previous night.

Got packed and dressed and after a bit more snapping it was time to leave the hide. It was very icy outside, there was bear prints and poo outside our hide (last night we heard a tapping/scratching on the hide door….a visitor perhaps?). Apparently a bear sniffed the sleigh and walked over the sleigh! Maybe he wanted a ride.

Once back in accommodation, we freshened up and packed as today we move to our next location, the Boreal Wildlife Centre in Viiksimo.

We left at 11am, the journey was good and scenic, I love looking out windows on journeys! Again loads and loads of tress and quite a few lakes! Though they do call it ‘The land of many lakes’. Once we arrived we relaxed in the room until lunch at 3pm which was chicken rides and salad and a berry dessert which was delicious!. After we looked around across the road, by the bird feeder and down by the lake which was completely frozen over for a big lake!  We then napped and woke up at 11am to get some night shots. The sky was slightly purple and green!


For the first part of the trip we stayed at Martinselkosen in Pirttivaara, Suomussalmi and would defiantly recommend paying them a visit if you are ever going to Finland or looking for somewhere to go bear watching! Even though we went near the end of April when bears where just coming out of hibernation we saw plenty! The accommodation was lovely and the people very friendly and helpful!. You can visit their website here:


Exploring Carlisle

Seeing as I am in a different house this year at university I have started to explore parts I didn’t last year because of the convenience of them being closer and I am not so worried about becoming lost as much as I was. I took out a canon 7D from the AV at university to play with for a week to get a feel for other models rather than using my 500D. So over the weekend I visited the cemetery as after speaking to a local couple a few weeks ago they told me where to find the red squirrels and what else was around wildlife wise in the area. The only graveyard/cemetery I have ever been to are the really small ones next to churches and wow was I stuck when I stepped through the gates. It was beautiful and very well kept and what was nice as well they had conservation areas for wildlife within the cemetery too! After a bit of wandering around a man asked me what wildlife I was looking for and he pointed me in the direction of the red squirrels and a few minutes later he came running to find me to say he’s just seen one and to show me where :). I came across the feeding area just around the corner and saw more reds along with plenty of birds. I explored more and chatted with more people who told me about the wildlife they have seen in the cemetery.

Just before I left going over a bridge I watched a red squirrel scurry about, drink from the stream and then leap over to the other side to forage for food.

As odd as this sounds, but I think I’ll be spending more time in the cemetery!



Expedition Hurn Forest

Wednesday 3rd April 2013 saw the beginning of a second expedition. Arriving at Hurn Forest, Hurn in Dorset at 9am with a friend of mine, Emily Field Gillard, it was our aim to find the New Forest ponies. After being reassured that the wood was a part of the New Forest I was led to believe that there were New Forests ponies residing within this wood. Sadly, by the end of this expedition after having my hopes lifted, we were not successful in finding the ponies. The expedition was forced to turn into a wildlife spotting one.IMG_4509

The first morning we began by exploring the left side of the wood. We set off believing we would be successful, we had high spirits as the sun was shining, and the wood was very picturesque. Emily, not being a wildlife person, wore what were in my eyes not sensible shoes for walking in in a wood, as well as in the undergrowth. Me being me, decided to walk across a clearing which was a bit boggy in places. Along the way, we spotted piles of horse manure and hoof prints along the way, which in the end I put down to domesticated horses being ridden through the forest. Not realising this at the time we followed the tracks and in the distance I saw a horse not wearing a rug. My hopes lifted we had found them, after walking closer the hopes that had risen had been washed away, the horse was in a field, with a freeze mark along with fellow horses with rugs on. We continued our journey round this half of the wood, spotting a squirrel, badger tracks, great tits along with one too many pigeons! After about 2 and a half hours we was back where we started, we had walked around most of this side. After a quick rest and a sip of water we carried on, this time taking a different path.


After sticking to the main path for a while we took a path off the track, looking for wildlife as we went, hearing various birds, but not being able to see them. As I looked up ahead, through the trees I saw a bay pony stood next to an iron-grey pony. Adrenaline rushed through me, the word yes ran through my head in a long stream we had found them at last, my heart was pounding I was excited. I whipped round and told Emily to take off her strawberry hat and keep quiet (as when she gets excited her voice turns to a high pitched squeal). Clutching my camera I snapped a shot through the trees just in case we spooked them on approach.  As we got closer I was once again disappointed, the adrenaline disappeared and my heart stopped pounding, what we hadn’t see through the trees was the electric fence, the horses were in a field and appeared to be domesticated once again. Trying to hide my disappointment we carried on, taking a path with led through the trees, following a fence, which we were intrigued by. A sign on it read ‘Ministry of defence under terms of official secrets act, this is a prohibited place and entry is not allowed’. We followed the path, trying to peak through the trees to see what was on the other side from time to time.


We soon came to a very long path, which reminded me of the long walk in Windsor. ‘Oh boy’ I thought to myself, ‘this may take a while’. Whilst on this long path there was a gap where we could clearly see on the other side of the fence, it looked like an open area of dried grassland, with what looked like purple shrubs. ‘Maybe it’s an area of scientific interest’ I said to Emily, ‘Oh’ was the reply. On this path we didn’t have the trees for shade, we were in the warm spring sun. I was wearing all black and soon warmed up. As we drew closer to the trees again I spotted some big birds flying around. As we got closer we found out they were buzzards. About another mile up the path there was a bench, we sat down and had lunch spotting a bright yellow butterfly, which fluttered past. Before setting off again I took off my waterproofs as I decided they were not needed and it was too warm to wear them.

Soon spotting another fairly big bird fly onto the tip of a tree, I snapped a few pictures to see what it was, a few dogs then loped their way over to us, jumping up. The owner soon appeared and asked if we had seen anything. I replied about the bird and she said it might be a kestrel or sparrow hawk. After a quick chat we continued our journey, thanking the woman who told us a bit more about the birds.IMG_4564

We came to a road, which we crossed and had a quick look in the wood on the other side before turning back, and making our way back through the wood, along the fence line which we were first intrigued by. This way back was a lot muddier than the main path. There wasn’t much wildlife on the way back, but the view was relaxing so it was a good trek back, along with looking through the fence, we came to the conclusion it was probably something to do with the army. Walking around the edge, definitely seemed to take longer than the main path, and it was hillier. At this point I could feel the blisters forming but not letting that dampen my mood, I kept up a brisk pace, stopping occasionally to take pictures. After getting a little lost once closer to the start, we made it back in one piece, exhausted, hot and craving sugar.


Despite not finding what I set out to find, it’s about the journey not whether it was successful or not. All in all, I enjoyed walking around a wood all day.