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Sweden's Upland Birds

Tour Code: SWE07

An 8-day holiday to Västmanland and southern Lapland in search of lowland forest and wetland birds, plus the charismatic avifauna of the magnificent upland and wilderness regions of Sweden.

8 days from £2295(inc flights) Land Only Price: £2045 SRS: £195

Beginning in the lowlands of central Sweden, we travel north to Lapland, a wild, untamed landscape and home of the nomadic Saami people. As we travel, we will explore taiga forest, lakes, wetlands, mountain and tundra habitats in search of a comprehensive range of Swedish birds that includes owls, seven woodpecker species, grouse such as Hazel and Willow Grouse, and mountain specialities of Lapland, as well as summer visitors capitalising on the seasonal abundance of insect life. The fresh air, wonderful quality of light and spectacular scenery are among the additional pleasures of birding at these latitudes – Slavonian Grebes in full summer plumage, Bluethroats singing day and night, or the whisper of Great Grey Owl wings through the forest … this is an unforgettable place!

  • Great Grey, Pygmy, Tengmalm’s, Hawk & Ural Owls all possible
  • Beautiful upland scenery of Fulufjallet National Park
  • Dotterel, plus Lapland Bunting & Long-tailed Skua on the high plateaux
  • Explore the vast Taiga Forests in search of grouse and woodpeckers
  • Raptors include Gyr Falcon, Goshawk, Honey Buzzard & White-tailed Eagle
  • Breeding Black-throated Enjoy watching lekking Great Snipe
  • Led by expert naturalist & photographer guide, Daniel Green



All included in the price.


Comfortable hotels and guesthouses, all rooms with private facilities.

Lapland Bunting

Lapland Bunting

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Västerås (Stockholm); transfer Svartådalen

Day 2 Svartådalen and Dalarna; overnight Tallberg

Day 3/5 Fulufjället National Park, then Flatruet plateau; overnight Tännäs, Funäsdalen

Day 6 Taiga forest, Nipfjället and Norway; overnight Alvdalen

Day 7 Svartådalen

Day 8 Transfer Västerås (Stockholm) and fly London

Lapland must surely be the most evocative, exciting and intriguing region of Scandinavia. Home to the nomadic, reindeer-herding Saami people, it is synonymous with inhospitable wilderness — a wild, untamed yet spectacular upland landscape, accessible only in high summer, outside winter’s long and icy grip. It is the high summer, too, when the region’s avian visitors move in to breed, capitalising on a phenomenal abundance of insect-life during a short season. It is these charismatic birds, and the magnificent scenery, that epitomise this holiday and, in combination with the taiga and wetland birds that we also hope to see, our itinerary offers a comprehensive range of Swedish bird specialities that includes owls, woodpeckers, grouse and the mountain specialities of Lapland.

We begin, and end, in the lowlands of central Sweden: in Svartådalen and Berslagen. Here, attractive farmland is surrounded by lush oak forests, and lakes and wetlands lie amongst meadows and pasturelands, grazed by cattle and sheep in time-honoured fashion. Colourful, summer-plumaged Slavonian Grebes, Common Cranes, White-tailed Eagles, Ospreys and Black Terns characterise the wetlands; whilst Honey Buzzards and Goshawks, seven species of woodpecker (including Three-toed, Grey-headed and Black) and such passerines as Redbacked Shrike, Icterine Warbler, Thrush Nightingale, Common Rosefinch and Ortolan Bunting breed commonly. Here also lives the Great Grey Owl, that enigmatic taiga species more often associated with the landscape, dominated by coniferous forest, into which we will shortly be heading. This most sought-after and spectacular of birds can seem remarkably oblivious to human presence, and we will pray for a calm night and memorable views! We will also look for Pygmy Owl, plus both Tengmalm’s and Ural Owls whose owlets we will hope to see ringed when we visit their nesting sites.

Next we drive north towards the southern part of Lapland and the Scandinavian mountain range known as ‘the Scands’, passing through the farmland valleys of Dalarna and up towards scenic Lake Siljan. This is a culturally rich region of Sweden, endowed with traditional architecture, craft industries and folklore.  The landscape now begins to change dramatically and our first stop amongst the mountains will be in Fulufjället National Park. Here, a walk that takes us to a dramatic gorge with a high waterfall may produce our first Rough-legged Buzzards, Siberian Jays and Siberian Tits, whilst Greenshanks breed beside the park’s visitors’ centre. On Nipfjället, the first of the truly barren mountains, we will look for Whimbrel, Ptarmigan and Snow Bunting, whilst Golden Eagles are always likely above the rocky slopes. Lower down, we will drive through valleys where Redthroated and Black-throated Divers, Velvet and Common Scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, Wood Sandpipers and Common Cranes all breed on the small lakes and pools by the roadside. Here we are also likely to encounter our first Reindeer, though a great many more will be seen in the mountains.

The Funäsdalen region, the southern outpost of Lapland’s special avifauna, will be the highpoint of our tour. We will spend three days here amongst its fresh air, beautiful scenery and northern birdlife, based in a mountainside hotel around which Bluethroats sing during both day and night. Climbing above the birch forest to the open tundra, we will enjoy a day’s walk on Flatruet. This is a high mountain plateau with an interesting high alpine flora and fauna, where confiding Willow Grouse, Ptarmigan, Dotterels, Red-necked Phalaropes, Temminck’s Stints, Long-tailed Skuas and both Snow and Lapland Buntings, all resplendent in full breeding attire, are amongst the many breeding species. Above, Golden Eagles, Roughlegged Buzzards, Hen Harriers and Merlins command the skies ... and, where the mountains rise dramatically to form steep cliffs, we will look out for majestic Gyr Falcons which sometimes breed in the area, as do both Short-eared and Hawk Owls during good Lemming years. At the foot of the mountains we will explore the taiga forest — home to Hazel Grouse, Hawk Owls, Three-toed Woodpeckers, Siberian Jays and Parrot Crossbills — and we may cross the border into Norway to enhance our chances of a Gyr Falcon.  Finally, at night (although darkness never descends on these latitudes at this season!), we will enjoy one of Scandinavia’s finest shows ... at the lek of the Great Snipe. Here, on an alpine meadow at the foot of a great mountain, they perform their peculiar song and dance display, seemingly unaware of our human presence.

After a wonderful time in this magical alpine environment, we must reluctantly return south, perhaps stopping to look for Eagle Owl and Blyth’s Reed Warbler en route. Back in Svartådalen (the Black River Valley) for our final night, we have a chance to catch up with any of the owls, woodpeckers or wetland birds that we may have missed on our initial visit, and an option to enjoy some night-time birding in search of such species as Corncrake, Spotted Crake and Marsh Warbler!

Great Grey Owl (Gordon Small)Ortolan Bunting (Gordon Small)Siberian Jay (Gordon Small)Ruff (Gordon Small)Lapland Bunting (Glyn Sellors)Black River Valley at Midnight (Kerrie Porteous)Hawk Owl (Gordon Small)TallbergCommon Rosefinch (Gordon Small)Bluethroat (Gordon Small)Great Grey Owl (Gordon Small)Ural Owl (Gordon Small)Ural Owl chick (Gordon Small)Nuthatch (Gordon Small)Three-toed Woodpecker (David Fearn)View from the Green HotelGreen HotelRed-necked Phalarope (Gordon Small)Slavonian Grebe (Gordon Small)Moose (Kerrie Porteous)Fulufjallets National ParkFjallsjo (Daniel Green)ReindeerBlack-throated Diver (Glyn Sellors)Common Crane (Glyn Sellors)Capercaillie female (Glyn Sellors)Dotterel (David Fearn)Brambling (Gordon Small)Ortolan Bunting (Glyn Sellors)Cuckoo (Gordon Small)Slavonian Grebe (Gordon Small)Slavonian Grebe (Gordon Small)Enjoying a moment with the Red-necked PhalaropeView from the roadGroup on FlatruetWillow Ptarmigan (Gordon Small)Pygmy Owl (Gordon Small)Siberian Jay (Glyn Sellors)Marsh Fritillary (Daniel Green)Long-tailed Skua (Glyn Sellors)Great Grey Owl (Glyn Sellors)Visiting the Great Snipe LekGreat Snipe (Glyn Sellors)Returning from the Great Snipe LekRuff (Gordon Small)Dewy Ringlet (Daniel Green)Red-necked Phalarope (Glyn Sellors)Four Spot Chaser (Glyn Sellors)Long-tailed Duck (Glyn Sellors)White-tailed Sea Eagle (Glyn Sellors)Ural Owl (David Fearn)Nipfjallet (Daniel Green)Cottage by lake (Daniel Green)Group birdwatching (Daniel Green)Reindeer (Daniel Green)Fjallback river (Daniel Green)Black Woodpecker (Gordon Small)Siberian Jay (Gordon Small)Great Snipe (Gordon Small)Red-necked Phalarope (Gordon Small)Searching for DotterelLapland Bunting (Gordon Small)
Our guide Mike’s, enthusiasm, kindness and sense of humour made it a special trip, not to speak of his expertise in finding the birds.
West Midlands
Daniel and Mike are first class guides, they worked really well together. The best Naturetrek trip I've been on.
Mrs L.
The quality of the picnic lunches was outstanding - the best I've experienced. If you ever have a Naturetrek Picnic competition, Daniel would win it.
Alan and Paul were good humoured, hard working and dedicated to the comfort and well being of all of us clients. They were both extremely well informed and drove well and safely on difficult roads. The picnics were wonderful.
The knowledge, enthusiasm and local contacts of the tour leader, Daniel Green, really made this holiday special. We were able to see all the major species at close quarters and yet get a feel for their habitat and breeding behaviour. An outstanding holiday and experience.
There seemed to be nothing (the leaders) didn't know about and they made the week extremely enjoyable
Wonderful holiday that would be difficult to fault in any way. Daniel and Rob were excellent leaders who were able to cater for a variety of bird watching experience. They worked so hard to make sure the trip was so enjoyable and successful.
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Wed 22nd May 2019 - Wed 29th May 2019



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Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £2045 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Sweden

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Kerrie Porteous
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01962 733051

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Our guide Mike’s, enthusiasm, kindness and sense of humour made it a special trip, not to speak of his expertise in finding the birds.
K.L., Fife