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Capercaillie. Photo by Gina NicholFINLAND!
Owls, Grouse, & more
May 29 - June 4, 2025

Combine this tour with

June 4 - 10, 2025   Info>

Contact [email protected] to reserve your space!

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TRIP REPORTS:   2017>     2018>     2024>

Wild and unspoiled, Finland is home to some of Europe’s most sought after birds. In the easternmost region of Europe, Finland sits at the western edge of the vast Siberian boreal forest and offers a variety of northern forest birds rarely found in other parts of Europe. Owl, grouse, woodpeckers and waders abound here along with a selection of eastern passerines offering birding rewards like nowhere else in Europe.

Great Gray Owl by Gina Nichol.

Our tour is designed for the best chances to see Europe’s famed owls: Great Gray Owl, Ural Owl, Tawny Owl, Tengmalm’s (Boreal) Owl and Pygmy Owl. Our local guides monitor these species throughout the winter and early spring and have the best knowledge on where to find these magnificent birds. In addition to owls, we’ll search out Hazel Grouse, Willow Grouse and Capercaillie in the forests around Kuusamo as well as Three-toed Woodpecker, Siberian Jay, Siberian Tit, Pine Grosbeak, Red-flanked Bluetail, Arctic Warbler, and Little and Rustic Buntings to name a few.

For more adventure, this tour joins our Norway tour to explore north of the Arctic Circle in Lapland and the great wilderness of the Varanger peninsula. Here, spectacular mountain peaks, steep fjords and glaciers offer opportunities to see White-tailed Eagle, Rock Ptarmigan, Dotterel, Red-necked Phalarope and thousands of ducks and seabirds. The towering sea cliffs of Hornoya, the “bird island” are home to breeding Thick-billed Murre, Shag, Atlantic Puffin, and Black-legged Kittiwake creating an awesome spectacle. The rocky coast and Barent’s Sea offer Yellow-billed Loon, King and Steller’s Eider, Long-tailed Jaeger and more.

Join us for an arctic birding adventure that features stunning landscapes and fantastic photo opps for birders!

Day 1
Our tour starts in the city of Oulu in northern Finland. Oulu is serviced by Finnair and Norwegian air via connecting flights from Helsinki, Finland. There are plenty of flight options as Oulu is Finland's second busiest airport. The city is located on the shores of the Bay of Bothnia in the Oulunjoki River delta. Oulu is the largest city in Northern Finland and the capital of northern Scandinavia. A thriving city, Oulu is the gateway to the nature of the region. Today is purely an arrival day but if we have enough time, we will make an excursion to see some local species. Three nights Oulu.


Days 2-3
The Oulu Region is best known for its breeding owls, which include Eagle, Ural, Great Gray, Tengmalm’s, Short-eared and Pygmy Owl, and in most years Hawk and Long-eared Owl. A good vole year will offer our best chances for seeing these birds and our local guides know where to find them.

The huge Great Gray Owl is one of the most sought after of this family and we’ll hope to experience those piercing yellow eyes looking at us from the branches of a dead tree. At the other end of the scale is Europe’s smallest owl, Eurasian Pygmy Owl, which can often be whistled out of the tree canopy. With Ural, Tengmalm’s, Eagle, Long and Short-eared and stunning Hawk Owls possible, our time here is sure to be unforgettable. We shall spend these two days in the forest and have an excellent chance of seeing the birds at close range. As we search, we’ll hope to encounter the other forest species here including Black Grouse, Capercaillie, Black Woodpecker, and Three-toed Woodpecker.

Hawk Owl by Gina Nichol.

Common Cranes by Steve Bird.While in Oulu, we will also visit Finland's most important wetland, the Bay of Liminka, a globally important waterfowl habitat. Here we will scan for Curlew, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Ruff, Little Ringed Plover, Caspian Tern, Black-tailed Godwit, Shoveler and Garganey. Bitterns can be heard booming and Red-backed Shrike breeds here. Numerous migratory birds come here to rest and Terek Sandpiper and Citrine Wagtail are rare breeding birds in the area. In the Bay of Liminka there are seven observation towers providing ideal vantage points. There are also vast areas of peat lands that serve as important nesting sites for Common Crane, Taiga Bean Goose, Wood and Broad-billed Sandpipers and Jack Snipe.

Day 4
Willow Ptarmigan. Photo by Steve Bird.Today, we will drive eastward to the small city of Kuusamo near the Russian border. Our journey will take us through the beautiful northern landscape of forests, bog lands, lakes and rivers. We’ll make some birding and scenery stops along the way arriving in late afternoon. Kuusamo is known for its natural beauty. The city lies on an elevated plateau where 90% of the land area is forested with pine and spruce as well as some deciduous trees. Fells and forests stretch as far as the eye can see with lakes, rivers and rapids adding a sparkling component to the spectacular countryside. Forestry, reindeer husbandry, winter sports, and tourism are the main activities here and we will explore the area in its spring finery. Three nights Kuusamo.

Days 5-6
Siberian Jay by Gina NicholFor the next two days, we can expect to encounter a real feast for the eye in the expansive taiga forests. Eastern specialties are on tap here including Red-flanked Bluetail, Rustic Bunting, Red, Parrot, Two-barred (White-winged) Crossbill, Siberian Jay, Black and Three-toed Woodpecker, Black Grouse, Willow Grouse, Hazel Grouse, Capercaillie, Red-necked Grebe and Little Gull, all of which breed here. This is the only European nesting area for a number of eastern specialties such as Gray-headed Chickadee (Siberian Tit), Greenish and Arctic Warbler, Red-flanked Bluetail, Little and Rustic Buntings which will be given high priority. The terrain is mostly easy to walk but will involve one or two uphill climbs particularly for Red-flanked Bluetail.


This is the western-most extreme of this boreal Siberian forest type and it holds many rare plants and birds. During our stay we should find breeding Red-necked Grebe, Arctic Loon, wildfowl including Smew and White-winged (Velvet) Scoter. Shorebirds such as European Golden Plover, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank are here as are Fieldfare, Willow and Crested Tits, and White-throated Dipper. In the bogs, we have more chances to find Jack Snipe and Broad-billed Sandpiper.


Fly home from Kuussamo Airport or  continue to Lapland & Varanger>

Whooper Swan by Gina Nichol.


Photos, top to bottom: Capercaillie,Great Gray Owl, Oulu landscape, Great Gray Owl, Northern Hawk Owl with chick by Gina Nichol; Common Cranes, Willow Grouse by Steve Bird; Siberian Jay and Whooper Swan by Gina Nichol; Below: Black Woodpecker by Steve Bird.


Black Woodpecker by Steve Bird.FINLAND!
Owls, Grouse, Woodpeckers & more!
May 29 - June 10, 2025     
Registration Form>    
Contact [email protected] to reserve your space!

TOUR PRICE:  $3595 per person based on double occupancy.  Price based on exchange rates at the time the tour was posted (**see note below).
Note: This tour starts in Oulu (Airport code: OUL) and ends in Kuusamo (Airport Code: KAO).  Single supplement: $475 per person, subject to availability. Note: A discount is available for those booking on both this tour and our Norway tour>  Combined tour price is $6990 based on double occupancy, $895 single supplement.

Deposit: $1000.00 per person per tour. Note: Tour deposits can be paid by credit card via PayPal.  Use this link to make your credit card payment.  Please advise [email protected] when you have made payment. 

Group size: Minimum for tour to go ahead 6 and maximum 12.

Included in cost: Accommodation in double / twin en suite rooms with full board, group transportation on arrival, detailed pre-trip materials and checklists, services of local guide and tour leaders throughout the trip.

Not included: International flight, luggage charges, passport/visa fees, insurance, drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature.  Also, any and all costs arising from pandemic or Covid-19 related issues are not included in the tour cost and are the sole responsibility of the traveler. These include, among others, the costs of Covid treatment, hospitalization, medical fees, transport, meals and accommodation in case of illness or quarantine, and the costs of any Covid tests needed before, during and after the tour.

Tour Code: This is a standard birding tour with all day birding. No particular strenuous walks are planned but there are some uphill treks.  Birding is mostly from open roads, wide tracks and even boats. To see a good amount of specialties you need to be prepared for full days. We will generally start early and either have an early breakfast or return for breakfast. Lunches will be either picnic or at the lodges depending on our schedule.


RESERVATIONS: To reserve your place on this tour:

1) Contact Gina Nichol at [email protected] to confirm availability and hold your place.

2) Review the Terms and Conditions of Booking (pdf download)>

3) Complete the Registration & Release Form (pdf)> and mail it with your deposit of US$1000.00 per person to Sunrise Birding, LLC within two weeks to secure your place. 

>Download & print the Registration Form (pdf download).
Instructions are on the form.

Reservations are held with a paid deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.

Check or bank transfer are preferred but credit card payments are possible (surcharges of up to 5% are added depending on amount to cover credit card company fees).  Final payment is due January 10, 2025.


**Please note: Tour prices are based on quoted costs from ground operators (in their local currency), estimated fuel costs, and the rate of exchange the time of itinerary publication. The erratic nature to global financial markets makes it difficult to predict changes in costs and foreign currency exchange rates over the long term. Since tours are priced well in advance of the actual operation of the tour, tour costs, fuel costs and exchange rates can change, sometimes drastically. Depending on the extent of such changes, it may be necessary to implement a surcharge on this tour. If a surcharge is necessary, every effort will be made to minimize the amount.

Cancellations and Refunds:
Please review our Terms and Conditions of Booking (pdf download)> prior to registering for this tour. All cancellations must be made in writing. Please ensure that you take out adequate insurance to cover this and any other eventuality as early as possible. You may have the opportunity to transfer your booking to another tour or another person, provided you are unavoidably prevented from coming on the tour. In this case, you will bear any extra costs that such changes may incur.

There are no refunds once the trip is confirmed to go ahead and no refunds will be made for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features. Sunrise Birding, LLC cannot accept liability for airline cancellations or delays or penalties incurred by the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for this tour.


Sunrise Birding LLC strongly recommends that you consider purchasing a travel protection plan to protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected in case of delay, injury or illness prior to or during a tour. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Loss and Delay, Emergency Medical Transportation, Pre-existing Conditions, and more. Get started here>



  • Insurance policy requirements vary and the timing of your purchase can affect coverage. Some insurance providers require that for coverage of pre-existing conditions, a policy must be purchased within 7-14 days of booking. Others, like CSA, offer policies that cover pre-existing conditions as long as the policy is purchased prior to making your final payment for the tour.

  • Trip insurance policy premiums may be non-refundable, but they may be able to be amended or transferred. Check with your insurer. It is important to be sure that the tour is sufficiently subscribed to operate before you purchase trip insurance.

  • Pay attention to coverages provided by your policy. Be aware of the requirements of country or destination can change, so check often. Some policies are now offering Covid related coverages so check with your insurer.

  • US medical insurance plans (including Medicare) often do not provide coverage outside the US. The US State Department strongly advises Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Consult with your insurer prior to your trip to ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider directly or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Be sure to get and keep all documentation of any expenses incurred.
Questions? Contact Gina Nichol at 
Phone: 203.453.6724