Finland: 21/04/14 – Day 5

It’s freezing in the hide this morning, I am currently watching out the window – there is nothing apart from gulls and ravens….oh and one wagtail 🙂

We got picked up and drove back to the centre, we dropped our bags off and went over for breakfast. Whilst eating breakfast Kari (the professional photographer) spotted a wolverine in the trees near the yard! It moved around a bit and then tried to get into some feed bags near a shed, which was rather amusing watching it tug away. On the way out from breakfast it was still there so managed to get a closer look! We sat outside for awhile to see if it would come back, when we had our cameras. It didn’t come back, but I did managed to get a blurry blob of a creature taken on my phone.


Afterwards we napped, went on a walk to the lake, came back and sat by the bird area where we saw a brambling, great spotted woodpecker and a red squirrel. We then had lunch and headed out for the hide for the night!


Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)


Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)


Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla)

We waited quite awhile then the bears came! yay, the light was beautiful so I was rather chuffed! 🙂 Whilst waiting for the bears I did a bit of biding and saw white wagtail, green sandpiper and lapwing.


Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)


Yellowhammer (Emberiza citronella)


White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)

The three bears stayed till dark which in when we went to sleep.


Brown Bear (Ursus arctos)

Finland: 17/04/2014 – Day 1

Woke up feeling refreshed after all the traveling the day before, we looked out the window this morning and was fascinated by the amount of snow we could see! We could also see a frozen lake and it all looks very pretty. Stepped outside in my pj’s, I must say my first reaction was that it was a little bit nippy. Once showered, dressed, fed and watered (sugar and salt water is yucky….I was dehydrated still), we went to explore.

The snow is very deep, it comes up to my knees, wow!!. The scenery it very pretty, its lovely so much snow and so many trees!. The snow is also like ice not soft and fluffy, we explored opposite the centre down a path before trying to get down to the lake but found the snow got deeper and deeper so decided to backtrack.

After our explore, we packed our camera bags and rested until lunch (3pm…odd lunch time?). I think I may have eaten reindeer not sure what the burger meat was, tasted different but nice, with carrots, potatoes and salad.

At 4pm we set off to the hide! Started off in a jeep then swapped onto a snowmobile which was fun! I think I enjoyed that part a little too much. As soon as we got to the hide we had only just walked through the door and a bear had already come! Crazy!. The bears stayed a few hours, drifted away before coming back again. We saw 3 bears at once it was unbelievable, they are not as big as I would have thought either. We also saw a number of white tailed eagles too! They are huge!!!

Other birds seen today include: Great tit, marsh tit, bullfinch, chaffinch, crows, ravens and great spotted woodpecker.

I got trigger happy and took over 800 pictures (oops) so here is a couple 🙂

P.s – I will write next one in a couple of days time 🙂


Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)

Brown Bear (Ursus arctos)

White Tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)



Loddon Nature Reserve

A few weeks ago I visited Loddon Nature Reserve which is located in Twyford along the river Loddon hence the name I guess . This reserve is part of the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife trust(BBOT). The habitats of Loddon Nature Reserve are wetland and woodland. The reserve was quite hard to find and it took us awhile to see a nature reserve sign and had to drive up and down the road for a while to find a place to park. The species we saw on this visit was the common tern, coot, great crested grebe, grey heron, mallard, mute swan, Canada and greylag goose. Species that can be seen at the reserve according to the BBOT are: purple-loosestrife, yellow iris, blackcap, common tern, coot, cormorant, gadwall, great crested grebe, grey heron, moorhen, oystercatcher, pochard, shoveler, teal, tufted duck, whitethroat, wigeon and willow warbler.
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
The common tern is medium sized and a silvery-grey with a large black cap and short red legs and a orange beak with a black tip. They are quite noisy and breed on sandy coasts, in dunes and islands but also breed inland on gravelly banks of lakes and rivers. To catch their food they plunge-dive into the water. They are a summer visitor and are threatened by habitat loss, pollution and disturbance.
• Length – 31-35cm
• Wingspan – 88cm
• Weight – 130g
• Average Lifespan – 12 years

Conservation status:
In the UK they are classified as an Amber list species (under the Birds of Conservation Concern Review)

Coot (Fulica atra)

Coots are a wading bird and are often seen in park lakes, ponds, reservoirs, gravel pits and rivers they are a widespread species. Coots are black with a bright white bill. They spend most of their time in the water and dive to catch for food. They breed in the spring and lay around 6-9 eggs. Even though they are common their wetland homes are at risk from development, drainage and pollution.



  • Length – 36-40cm
  • Wingspan – 75cm
  • Weight – 800g
  • Average Lifespan – 5 years

Conservation status: Common

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

Great Crested Grebes are waterbirds, which feed on small fish and aquatic invertebrates, they dive to feed and also to escape. Because their feet are places so far bar on their bodies they are clumsy on land. The great crested grebe as white cheeks, dark cap, orange ruff and a white neck and dark body. They can be found on lakes and reservoirs. The grebe’s elegant feathers made them nearly hunted to extinction in the UK.



  • Length – 45-51cm
  • Weight – up to 1.1kg

Conservation status: Common

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

The grey heron is one of Britain’s most familiar birds and is often seen standing very still in shallow waters waiting patiently hunting fish. Their diet mainly consists of fish but they also eat small birds & mammals and amphibians. Grey herons have long legs, long yellow beak with grey, black and white feathering with a black eye stripe. They are seen around any kind of water such as garden ponds, lakes and rivers.



  • Length – 60cm
  • Wingspan – 92cm
  • Weight – 450g
  • Average Lifespan – 5 years

Conservation status: Common

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

Common at the local pond or park are often quite tame due to being fed by the public regularly. Males have green head, yellow bill and a maroon-brown chest and grey on the body. Females are mainly brown with a orange bill and quite speckled in comparison. They breed all over the UK in summer and winter.



  • Length – 55-62cm
  • Wingspan – 90cm
  • Weight – 970-1200g
  • Average lifespan – 3 years

Conservation status:

Under the birds of conservation concern review Mallards are classified as an Amber list species in the UK, this is because non-breeding populations are declining. This displays that the survival of some common waterbirds are under threat because of the loss and degradation of wetland habitats.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

A large, white waterbird. The mute swan has a long, curved neck with orange bill with black at the base. They feed on plants and normally mate for life, often seen on ponds and lakes all over the country.



  • Length – 1.5m
  • Wingspan – 2.2m
  • Weight – 9-11.5kg
  • Average lifespan – 10 years.

Conservation Status: Common

Canada goose (Branta canadensis)

Common across most of the country expect North Scotland. The Canada goose is not native to this country and was introduced 300 years ago from North America. They spread across the UK becoming pests in some areas after the 2nd world war. They are a large goose with black head and neck and white cheek patches.



  • Length – 55-100cm
  • Wingspan – 1.6m
  • Weight – 4.6kg
  • Average lifespan – 6 years

Conservation status: Introduced species.

Greylag goose (Anser anser)

The greylag is the ancestor of most domestic geese, they are the largest and bulkiest wild geese native to the UK. They have short  orange bills, are pale grey with pink legs and like to graze where cattle or sheep are grazing. They are easily seen in lowland areas of the UK all year. Wild ones are found mostly north of the Solway.



  • Length – 76-89cm
  • Wingspan -1.6m
  • Weight – 3-4kg
  • Average lifespan -8 years

Conservation status:

Under the birds of conservation concern review they are classified as an Amber list species in the UK.

Haltwhistle Expedition

On Sunday 24th March 2013 myself and Hattie Taylor set out to Haltwhistle in Northumberland, for a ‘Mini Expedition’. Taking the train from Carlisle to Haltwhistle at 2pm, that was when the thrill of finding something kicked in. During the half hour journey I gazed out the window, at the passing countryside, changing from grassy fields to snowy fields. I remember thinking “whoa, its strange how it just changes from green to white”, looking at how thick it was in places I began to speculate what the weather was like in Haltwhistle as according to the weather it was supposed to be a light snow, this being the reason for not camping as with a summer sleeping back, camping out in the snow, which was suppose to change to heavy snow overnight, didn’t thrill me as a first pleasurable camping experience. Passing on the journey I spotted numerous streams running through woods, trickling mini waterfalls which made me incredibly jealous of being on the train, just a passerby. I also found it quite a amusing at the time as the wind whistled through the windows of the train, as we was stopping at ‘Haltwhistle’.

On arrival at the destination, we left the comfort of the train and put our hat and gloves on as it was noticeably windy and nippy. We also had a quick discussion at which direction we was heading to “find a mountain” as Hattie said, this was when I piped up that whilst browsing Google maps I came across a Lake Wood with a lake in the middle of the wood which sounded interesting. We agreed that finding this wood would be an adventure and set off over the train bridge where we was met by a river, we crossed the bridge and that’s when I saw two horses in the field and insisted on saying Hello, after being dragged away we continued along a road seeing a furthermore 8 horses and ponies and me being me well, got a little bit excited. It was probably best I didn’t say hello to these as I would have been there all day and this expedition was certainly not aimed at finding horses.


After crossing a main road, we came across a field and a little wood which we explored and came across loads of rabbits and their burrows. Heading back onto the side road (Plenmeller Rd) with a walking stick I’d picked up just to feel more hiker-ish. We continued walking on this road for about half an hour, stopping every now and then to admire the view, we came across a public footpath sign to Broomhouse common 1/1/4 away. After a quick check on Google maps to check which direction Lake Wood was in, we decided to take the footpath after contemplating about going through as two Highland Cows were stood by the gate, I must say at first I was a bit nervous of the horns, wouldn’t fancy being on the wrong side of them and getting charged at. After Hattie had shoed to cows away we ventured in the gate thinking, if they were dangerous they wouldn’t be on a public footpath. The cows in actual fact were not fussed about our presence but merely looked at us as we walked past sticking close to the wall.

Continuing along the muddy footpath, we soon came to a field, which led onto another containing a wood. We entered the wood, which had a light covering of snow showing, rabbit and deer prints clearly. We headed in a straight line towards the middle of the wood, and we soon came across a gap in through the trees in which we both gasped and realised it was water, it was the lake of Lake Wood. My hard pounding, adrenaline rushing through me, we’d found it what we set out to achieve. To get down closer to the lake, it required a descend down a fairly steep slope, after disposing of my first walking stick due to it not helping matters and just being a pain, I picked up another to help with the walk down. It was fairly easily to walk down, despite it looking steep, it was just avoiding the rabbit holes and checking the snow wasn’t covering any.

I really had to stop and take it all in, it truly was a stunning view. We sat close to the water to take it all in, it was so tranquil, the only noise was the sound of a Pheasant.  Soon realising I needed to pee, I attempted my first wild pee, which I can honestly say failed I couldn’t make myself do it and it something I need to work on.


After taking in the view, we decided to head back up the slope, and walk round and investigative the hut on the other side.  On reaching the other side we found out it was a locked boathouse, with two boats left outside. I think we both wanted to go in the boats and go out for a paddle, but decided against as neither of us had rowed before, and we was in the middle of nowhere and hadn’t seen another human being since the train.


We decided to head back through the opposite wood and came across, some rabbits and the Pheasant which had been making a hell of a lot of noise. After trekking through this wood, which linked back to the cow field, we made it back to the road. We then continued to walk this road, nattering on about how beautiful the lake and wood was. We arrived back at the station and after a short wait, sat on the floor of a very busy train and arrived back in Carlisle at 7pm.