Birdsafarisweden
 

Birdsafarisweden, Foto: Hans Falklind
Photo: Hans Falklind


Birdsafarisweden, Foto: Magnus Martinsson
Photo: Magnus Martinsson


Birdsafarisweden, Foto: Hans Falklind
Photo: Hans Falklind


Birdsafarisweden, Foto: Magnus Martinsson
Photo: Magnus Martinsson


Birdsafarisweden, Foto: Hans Falklind
Photo: Hans Falklind





Leking Capercaillies




Capercaillies at lek

Around 6 pm we silently approach the leking area and put ourselves in the portable tent hide placed just where the Capercaillie males usually perform. As you zip up the tent and get yourself comfortable it’s time to settle down and just lie down and listen to the sounds of the forest around you. Robins, Thrushes and Dunnocks sing. It doesn’t take long til you start hearing loud wingbeats from the trees above you as the first Capercaillies arrive to the nightroost just above the leking site. Now it is important to be still and quiet so the approaching males will get confidence for the site and come down to display in the morning. Maybe you’ll fall asleep to the vibrating song of a Boreal Owl, and wake up the same by the flute of a Pygmy Owl. Then it’s time to sit up and get your gear ready, trying to locate the Capercaillie males who have started to sing from the trees around you. They will soon descend to the ground and move around with their tails fanned as they utter their equally harsh sounds and surprisingly fine tunes.

BE AWARE!
Leking wild Capercaillies are one of the biggest, photographic challenges of the north. These birds are far more shy and wary than for instance the Black Grouse, they are also less predictable when it comes to the choice of leking site. Together with its infamous sensitivity to wind and disturbance, it’s cause to tune down your expectation. You don’t always get successful the first time you try. However we work hard to give you the best possible circumstances and possibilities to achieve your goal. We have tested several seasons before we started to market this activity. If you travel far to get here make sure you book more than one day to increase the chance of getting the pictures you want. And remember - your own behaviour is crucial to the result.

To get a good result we think it’s important to understand the behaviour of this bird, keep reading:

The Capercaillie lek – a different strategy
The Capercaillie lek does NOT consist of ONE leking arena like in the case of Black Grouse. Instead every cock has their own little leking spot where they start up the season, trying to attract a female. As the females arrive to the leking area, they often choose the same cock (the biggest and most handsome) and that is where all the other males want to be to get a bit of the action. This is where the most intense leking and fighting and subsequently also mating activity will take place. This is why the precise location of the lek is a bit unpredictable and why we have to work with portable hides that we can move during the season if necessary.



The time of the season varies a lot from year to year. It varies with temperature and how far the spring has come. The season normally stretches from early April to early may. The best time usually being 15-30 April, some years later, some years earlier. Even after the mating season the males might stay around and perform another week or two as long as they have high hormone levels. The females usually go straight to lay eggs when they have mated a couple of times.

It’s important how YOU behave!

Arrive early to the hide, preferably around 18.00. We guide you to the spot. Between 19 and 20.00 the males start to arrive to the trees above you, this is where they will spend the night so it is very important that you stay quiet and still as you can during the whole night. After dark it can be ok to go out to take a leak, but just outside, no walking around. The first thing around dawn they will start to sing and eventually descend to the ground if they feel safe. Make sure you have your camera in position and use a tripod to move it as little as possible. When you have to move the camera, do it slowly, quietly and try to do the crucial moves when the cock makes the loudest calls, at those few seconds he´s momentarily deaf.

When? How? For whom?

We operate with portable tent hides on three leking areas in the pine forest of Västmanland. From the Black river Valley in the east.

Capercaillie photography is a real challenge and really mostly for the devoted enthusiast photographer or bird watcher. But it is also one of the Nordic natures most legendary events and a magical experience when at its best.
Be prepared that it’s more demanding than the Black Grouse lek but surely an exciting adventure for all nature lovers.






booking form / interest
· Season: 1 April - 5 May

· Included:
Guiding to the hide, breakfast, snacks/ light evening meal including tea/coffee, sandwiches, fruit, buns.

· In the hides we provide you inflatable mats, a warm sleeping bag with inner cotton liners all for your comfort. (Also mandatory for hygienal reasons).

· To bring:
Camera on tripod, binoculars, torch/flashlight/headlight, waterbottle, warm clothes, waterproof boots, torch/ head lamp, something to read.

Price:
2 650 kr/person and session


Birdsafarisweden, Foto: Hans Falklind
Photo: Hans Falklind


Birdsafarisweden, Foto: Magnus Martinsson
Photo: Magnus Martinsson


Birdsafarisweden, Foto: Magnus Martinsson
Photo: Magnus Martinsson