In a snow storm one of the Golden Eagles photographed during the Golden Eagles of the Swedish Winter Photography Holiday

The Golden Eagles of the Swedish Winter

Article written by illustrated with images contributed by .

Northern Sweden in winter is spectacular – the landscape is made up of miles & miles of icy roads & snowy pines. At first, it looks lifeless, but once you get amongst the trees & utilise some fantastic local hides there are some great species to be seen & photographed! For the 2018 Golden Eagles of the Swedish Winter photography holiday, We were staying near Skelleftea & had a great group; we were all looking forward to the next few days!

Once we arrived in the winter wonderland & settled into our home for the next four days, it was time to hear how the Golden Eagles had been performing. The outlook was good with visits happening every day in the lead up to our arrival!

On the first day in the hide, we had steady snow all day, excellent conditions! Not only did this allow everyone to take some wintery photos but it also allowed shooting all day as there was no direct harsh light during the middle of the day. The small birds kept us busy between visits as they flitted about in the wintery conditions.

We were very fortunate to have one of the male Golden Eagles come down in a real white out, giving some very atmospheric photo opportunities.

The main draw here is the bird life, but everyone was notably excited when a local visited us. The foxes here are lovely with a vibrant red coat & an extra thick winter coat! This fox was very shy though & when the returned it was clear who is boss!

On one occasion, there had been clear skies overnight. As a result, the temperature had dropped to -20. The hide soon warms up though with the gas heater & becomes quite cosy. This warmth melts the snow on top, & throughout our stay, the icicles slowly grew each day! The clear skies led to an incredible sunrise that morning.

Our host had warned us that on sunny days the Golden Eagles don't come to the hide until the last thing in the day as they are busy nest-building in the excellent conditions! While that's tolerable as the best light is in the afternoon, it was a long wait, & we were getting worried! The smaller birds were looking great in the light, & we were able to get some variation from the previous days in falling snow.

However, right on cue, the Golden Eagles returned for the last half an hour of beautiful light, allowing everyone to take some striking portraits in the warm glow. Soon, we were filling the memory cards with beautiful images of the Golden Eagles! It was fantastic!

Each night we enjoyed hearty meals in the warm house talking about the day's photography, but soon it was time to return home. With an afternoon flight, we were lucky to sneak in one extra session in a different hide for some more small bird action though! A nice finish to a lovely stay; the Golden Eagles were fantastic but who can forget the equally lovely supporting cast. My favourite was the slightly chunky northern bullfinches!

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