Thursday, July 16, 2009

Finland - a night in a hide

Let me tell you about my first night in the wildlife-watching hide in Finland. It was located near Kuhmo in Karelia close to the Russian border. My friends and I were in the hide at 5.30pm. It was comfortable and there were narrow windows to peep through and discreet holes for cameras to poke through. Kari, our local guide, placed some smelly salmon in front of the hide and told us to settle down for a night of waiting and watching. Very soon gangs of Ravens and a few Black-headed Gulls came in to feast. Then at 6.50pm the 1st Brown Bear suddenly appeared from the right. A young male that approached fairly confidently. Then a 2nd arrived and the 1st moved off. After 20 minutes he too returned to the forest. Then at 9.30pm both came back. And this is how it went, Bears coming and going, taking salmon in front of us. Then, at 10 minutes past midnight, a Wolverine, yes, a Wolverine, cautiously approached, again from the right. This magnificent animal was not as calm as the Bears, indeed it was positively nervous, very wary, and took the salmon that had been placed furthest away. And on it went, all night, Bears, lulls in activity, mugs of coffee, and then this Wolverine. But the Wolverine never came when the Bears were around. A bit scruffy, one ear ripped (in a fight with a Bear ? or a Wolf ? or with another Wolverine ? Who knows ?) Whatever, this Wolverine was superb, the best mammal I have ever seen...

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