Capercaillies in Norway

Nature photographers don’t know where to go first around May, this is the time everything is singing, blooming, growing, on it’s best or loudest. I have been postponing some longtime wishes to go up north at this time of year.
There were always other things I wanted or had to see, like displaying ruffs in Poland, singing corncrakes in Scotland, or just ‘normal’ stuff closer at home, like playing fox-cubs, singing bluethroats,…name it, choices are plentiful in May!

So  this year I finally chose to go up north to the boreal forest. I gathered some collegues to join me, and we organized a 10 days trip together with our local friends Ole Martin from Norway-Nature and Erlend Resell.

We first spend some days at Ole’s place in the fjords, and moved inlands afterwards to Erlend, at the Swedish border. Completely different kind of season, but that’s what we needed to still have time to photograph the bird
we all wanted to see most: the huge Capercaillie. Because it’s still quite cold up here in the mountains, they allready start displaying when there’s still lots of snow, so it gives quite special conditions and unique pictures of display on snow.

Ole’s white tailed eagles gave a magnificent show again, and I know it will take me a long time to edit all those shots (thousands of great gull shots too…).

But truly one of my most exciting adventures ever must be the nights at the Capercaillie-leks. You need to be in the hide in the late afternoon, before the males arrive in the evening and sleep in the treetops above the lek.
You need to wait (some call it sleeping) before they start displaying in the treetops, really an awkard sound. After a while they come down on the ground on the actual lekking site, and continue displaying in front of the till the morning.
What an experience to be so close with these huge birds!

Thanks a lot Ole and Erlend, and my friends who wanted to join me on this amazing trip!