A 5.30 start was again scheduled – we didn’t go. Good move – bacon was back on the breakfast menu this morning and was still quite hot early on. Temperatures on the vans were -14 this morning and the only bird anyone saw was the red grouse, again. No Snowy Owls then (which was the one bird we had really both been hoping to see).

Cases packed, it was back into the vans for the 4 hour drive back to Oulou. No coffee breaks/toilet stops – just driving. We had to leave earlier than planned as one of the group had an early departure time – good job he mentioned it as I don’t think either of the tour guides had a clue and he would probably have missed his flight if he hadn’t pointed it out .

Rather than spend the afternoon in Oulu airport, we had a last attempt at trying to find something beautiful to look at. We spent a long time driving around frozen fields seeing very little except geese, which there are rather a lot of back home. A Hawk Owl was spotted at the top of a very tall conifer just at the edge of a busy motorway. We stood well back as lorries hurtled along very close to our group – it didn’t feel particularly safe. There was talk of a raptor sighting across the field. It was supposed to be behind two swans – although I couldn’t even make out the swans with my binoculars, so I had very little chance of seeing it. I aimed my camera in the same direction as everyone was looking and managed to get a photo of … a dung heap. There was no lunch. There was no coffee/tea. There were no toilet stops. This was surely about as low as it could go.

We caught a 5.30 flight back to Oulu and another to Helsinki (which was delayed), then back to Heathrow and a long 2 hour drive home.

Glad I packed:  A sense of humour.

Wish I had packed: Hand warmers and FOOD.

Highlights:  Northern Hawk Owl; nude bather

Lowlights:  I’ve run out of space

Lessons learned:  Don’t book another birding holiday; Think very hard before booking another trip with Naturetrek.

Thought for the Day:  Finland is ranked the fifth happiest country in the world, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report. I can’t help but think I must have been missing something, but I’m in no real rush to go back and discover what.

Leave a Reply