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Ruff Oulu, Finland

Wetland Birds

Finland's vast wetland areas and bogs maintain a variety of interesting birds

Finland is a land of bogs, mires and wetlands. In fact, after forests, bogs are the most common habitats in Finland. Most of the bogs are found in northern Finland. Wetlands and bogs are a home to a multitude of birds that offer interesting photography.


Ruff is a delightful bird. It is best-known of its special lek behavior which makes for interesting photography. Finnature has set up wonderful hides for Ruff photography in the internationally important Liminka Bay wetlands just south of Oulu. Here, Ruffs arrive in numbers from their migration in the beginning of May. While most of the birds stop here for a rest before carrying on to breeding grounds in the arctic, some breed in Liminka Bay area. Either staying or continuing, all birds are filled with spring spirit and the lek is on!

We have set up two sites for Ruff photography in Liminka Bay. Lekking hides are located at Ruff lek site and shore hides are located at a feeding site. Here, excellent chances for beautiful backlit images with reflections on water present themselves on clear nights. Other birds possible from these hides include Wood Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit in their summer plumages. Even Marsh Sandpiper and Pallid Harrier has been photographed here! Ruff photography season lasts until early June. This season is simply great photography from great hides!

You can find more photos of Finnature’s Ruff photography hides at our Flickr galleries: Ruff leksite hides and Ruff shore hides.

Whooper Swan and Common Crane

Whooper Swans and Common Cranes are not uncommon birds in Europe. Yet, in most times they may be difficult to photograph due to their timid natures. We use our local partner’s excellent photography hide set up for both species in Kuusamo. Hides are located by a lake where tens of Whooper Swans gather in the spring to compete for food and strengthen their pair bonds before the breeding season. This often takes place only 10 to 20 meters in front of the hides! This site is traditional Whooper Swan gathering site for over 20 years and at most there has been up to 100 Swans.

Common Cranes make a stop at this same site during their spring migration as well. Here, Common Cranes can be photographed on ice. The numbers vary from single birds to some tens of birds depending on the year. Other possible birds from these hides include Goosander, Goldeneye and White-tailed Eagle.

Common Cranes can be photographed also in Oulu area during autumn migration. Here, they gather in big flocks in the vast fields around Oulu. The evening flight of Cranes to their roost is a beautiful sight against the colors of the setting sun.

See more photos of Whooper Swan and Common Crane photography opportunities at our Flickr gallery of water bird hides in Kuusamo.

Other wetland birds

Black -throated Diver and Red-throated Diver are fairly common breeders in Finland’s lakes. However, these species are often difficult to photograph and photography opportunities arise only rarely. We announce Black-throated Diver and Red-throated Diver photography opportunities via our newsletter and at our Facebook site.

Slavonian Grebe is a small and adorable water bird with flashes of color. These birds are fearless and there are excellent sites near Oulu where to photograph this species without a hide.

Oulu area is an important resting area for almost all Goose species breeding in Finland. Bean Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose, and Greylag Goose all stop to rest and feed in Oulu area on their migration in spring and autumn. Oulu is also the only known regular resting place in northern Europe for Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Goose population. In some years Finnature offers Goose photography from temporary/portable photography hides. We announce Goose photography opportunities then via our newsletter, at our Facebook site and on our Instagram account.

Ask for more about photography opportunities from Finnature office.

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