Photo: Staffan Widstrand
This is your chance to watch and photograph Capercaillies while in their lek, the reknown courtship ceremony. The mating season lasts only during a few weeks by the end of April and beginning of May. Found in the Swedish woodlands Capercaillies are the biggest species of grouse in the world.
- Good chances to see Capercaillies while in their courtship ceremony (at least 5 cocks during 2012)
- Spend the night in a tent hide in the forest
- Good opportunities for photography
- Learn more about Capercaillies from our experienced guide
- Cosy guesthouse and wild meals
Sometimes called Wood Grouse or Western Capercaillie, this is the largest member of the grouse family, reaching over 100 cm in wing span and 5 kg in weight.
The preparations starts in the early evening as you must enter the hide well in advance of the Capercaillies’ arrival. Your tent hide is strategically located by a lek site in an open mature evergreen forest. The spot is chosen by a skilled guide in advance to increase your chances to be in the right position for photography.
The evening is quiet… As you sit and wait in the hide you hear nothing but natures’ own sounds. Birds singing, woodpeckers, squirrels munching pine cones., perhaps even some Wolves are howling in the distance. You will have plenty of time to eat your packed sandwiches and hot drinks. The first cocks and hens arrive during the late evening and they continue to arrive during the night’s dark hours, the sound of their wings flapping. It is time to get some rest.
You wake up in the early morning as it is time for the Capercaillies’ mating display. The males perform an extraordinary dance, fanning their tails and holding their wings down, the males strut about and produce amazing gurgling, wheezing and popping noises. This is your ultimate chance to get some nice photos of one one nature’s true wonders.
Day 1 Arrival in the Bergslagen forest, night in hide
Meet up with your guide at the guesthouse in the afternoon. We sit down for some information about the tour as well as an introduction to Capercaillies and Sweden’s wildlife. In the afternoon your guide will take you for a short walk out into an old forest where a tent hide is awaiting. Our guides have spend the previous nights out in the hide to make sure that your hide is located in just the right position for the Capercaillies mating display and for the best possible photo opportunities. You spend the evening hours in the hide with hot drinks, sandwiches and snacks. Look out for birds but also Red Squirrel and Pine Marten. Although you need to be in the hide in the evening, it is the morning hours that are of importance, so sleep well, you need to be awake early.
Day 2 Bergslagen forest, Capercaillie mating display
You will probably hear them before you see them. Now you have the chance to see and photograph one of natures most fascinating ceremonies, Capercaillies performing their mating display! As the morning turns into day the Capercaillies eventually leave the site and it is time for you to pack up and leave for civilisation.
If you stay multiple days
If you stay more than one night you have access to a room at a nearby cosy guesthouse. Treat yourself with a well deserved rest in a soft bed and a hot shower or spend the day exploring the surroundings. You are right in a Wolf territory, and there is plenty of Moose, Beaver, Red Fox, Badgers, Black Grouse and Woodpeckers around, even Lynx. Just ask your guide where to go, and make sure you find your way back. You may also choose to use a nearby Beaver hide which should be excellent for Beaver photography at this time of year, at least if the lakes are free from ice. Your guide can also show you where to see Black Grouse in their lek, another must see mating display.
Rates (valid until 31 October, 2013)
2450 SEK per person, per night
Included: Introduction guiding, transfer to hide return, night in tent hide, sleeping bag equipment, lunch at arrival, packed evening meal and breakfast with hot drinks. When you book more than one night we also include access to a room and lunch at a guesthouse.
Not included: Travel to and from the tour.
Guided activities: This tour includes no guided excursions, just an introduction and guiding to the hides.
Tour dates: See our tour calendar for all available dates. Tours can also be arranged on request at other dates during April – May.
When is best: The last two weeks of April and the first week of May are usually good for the Capercaillie’s mating display.
Lodging: This tour includes nights in a simple tent hide with sleeping bag equipment. If you book more than one night you will have access to lodging at one of our partner guesthouses. Please note that some of the guesthouses have private bathroom and some have shared bathroom. We will choose the most suitable guesthouse according to the current wildlife situation.
Times: This tour starts at 14 hours day 1 and finishes before noon on the last day. Please arrive day 1 between 13-14. Please make sure that you are at the meeting location in time. Give us a call if you are late.
Location: This tour starts and finishes at one of our partner guesthouses. Directions to the guesthouse will be given prior to the tour. See map below.
Suitability: Recommended minimum age is 15 years. Participants should be able to walk in the forest without difficulties. Walking level is easy. We may walk up to one hour in uneven terrain off trails. Walks include many stops along the way.
Group size: Maximum 4 participants, 1-2 participants per hide.
Group travel: This tour is not suitable for groups.