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Capercaillie ‘lek’ in the forest

A lovers dance among the pines

No description available Photo: Staffan Widstrand
No description available Photo: Staffan Widstrand

It’s twilight and the melodic singing of Thrushes punctuates the silence above the twisted trunks of the surrounding pine forest. In the pale summer evening light you silently settle into the pre-prepared hideout patiently waiting for the male Capercaillies’ to begin their amazing courtship and mating dance. Get some sleep before the drama starts as there is no risk you will oversleep and miss this ancient display of male cockishness and female flirting.

There is something primeval about the mating behavior of Capercaillie. It’s reminiscent of 19th century costume drama, pompous, dead serious and rather silly at the same time. As daylight emerges over the forest the cock seemingly glides around on railroad tracks like a small locomotive, puffing testosterone and showing off his feathers.

Then suddenly a squadron of cooing hens fly overhead to check out the neighborhood. The cock goes wild and starts flying up and down like a yoyo, almost somersaulting in ecstasy, flapping his wings noisily to attract attention. The hens are impressed and join the party leading to a visual spectacular where any kind of flirting seems to be allowed to attract the dancing male.

Your close encounter with Capercaillie actually starts the previous day as we must settle into the hide well in advance of the Capercaillies’ arrival. You walk on a small track over easy terrain winding through a marshland forest of small twisted pine trees. The hide is a strategically placed tent. The evening’s serenity and silence is a relaxing prelude to the frenetic early morning performance.

There are strict rules so that you don’t disturb the Capercaillie love story. So long as you abide by the rules you’ll return home amazed and amused by the hidden world of these wonderful, secretive creatures of the forest.

Information and price
Name of tour Capercaillie ‘lek’ in the forest
Tour operator Nordic Safari
Season 2017-04-15 - 2017-04-30
Note season No fixed departures.
Please contact the tour operator!
Length of tour 2 days
Participants 1 - 6 people
Normal adult price SEK 2 550
Included in price Transport and hike to the mating site. Introductory talk, night in hide for two people with sleeping bags, sleeping mats and torch, dinner and brunch/lunch. Transfer back to Surahammar.
Accommodation In a two-person tent-hide.
Prior knowledge None.
How to get here Nearest train station: Surahammar near Västerås. Pick up can be arranged.

Contact Nordic Safari
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