Capercaillie lek

Capercaillie lek photography

Capercaillie lek photography. Photo: Staffan Widstrand

This is your chance to watch and photograph Capercaillies while in their lek, the well known courtship ceremony. The Capercaillie’s mating season lasts only during a few weeks by the end of April. 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
  • 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

If you plan to visit Sweden in Spring and you are into bird watching and photography then this is the trip for you. 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.

Itinerary for Capercaillie lek

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. Listen for any thrushes singing and owls calling in the dark forest. 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 return to civilisation.

If you stay multiple days

If you stay more than one night you have access to a room at a nearby 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. Our guides can also take you to photograph Moose, Beavers and Great Grey Owls.

Rates (valid until 31 May, 2014)

  • Adult 2450 SEK per night

Included: Introduction guiding, transfer to hide return, night in tent hide, sleeping bag equipment, 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.

Lodging: This tour includes lodging in a tent hide with sleeping bag equipment. If you book more than one night you will have access to lodging at a guesthouse near Skinnskatteberg. We will choose the most suitable guesthouse according to the current wildlife situation.

Guided activities: An introduction and a short guiding to the hides.

Tour dates: The season is only between 19-29 April. See our tour calendar for scheduled dates.

When is best: The short period 19-29 April usually offer the best opportunities for Capercaillie’s mating display.

Times: This tour starts at 16 hours day 1 and finishes at 11 hours on the last day. 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 near Skinnskatteberg. Directions to the guesthouse will be given prior to the tour.

Suitability: Recommended minimum age is 15 years. Participants should be able to walk in the forest without difficulties. There is only a short walk in the forest. Walking level is easy.

Group size: Maximum 4 participants, 2 participants may stay in the same hide if you wish.

Group travel: This tour is not suitable for groups.