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Flora & fauna in Scandinavia

Travel through Scandinavia to find out what plants and animals do to make the most of long, dark winters and 1000-watt summers. Coastline, forest, tundra, fjord and mountain harbor fabulous birds and mammals, sturdy trees and delicate flowers, fish and amphibians that will show you how it’s done.

In Denmark watch deer, foxes, hares and frogs and innumerable feathered friends, especially at the numerous bird sanctuaries. One of the most fascinating avian events is the Black Sun. This is what you call it when up to a million starlings gather in spring and autumn to do some stunt flying en masse before nodding off for the night. Seals both spotted and grey and porpoises habitually frolic in Danish waters in search of sustenance – or maybe just because it’s fun. They’re quite impressive, the males weighing up to 300 kilos!

Puffins! Those adorable black and white birds did not originate on the cover of a paperback book, they are for real and the largest population in the world of these fellows is in Iceland. On the hoof are Icelandic ponies and herds of reindeer roaming the hills, as well as Arctic foxes, on paw that is; take a whale and dolphin-watching cruise for thrilling sightings on the water.

The plants and animals that thrive in the wildly fluctuating seasons of Finland have it figured out: many go dormant and more than half the birds repair to warmer climes during the deepest cold. Special birds to watch for are the white snowy owl, found only way up north in Europe, and the capercaillie, a memorable bird indeed. This one displays like an earth-toned peacock during its elaborate courtship ritual. 

Sweden has gone to the wolves and is just delighted about it. The place to spot wolves in Sweden is in Uttersberg, where there’s a fair chance, with an expert guide on hand, of spotting wolves in their natural surroundings. Spot other wildlife, such as elk and deer, as well as fox, hare, owls and other birdlife. And believe us when we tell you that they're probably watching you. It's their territory after all. A full moon and the chilling howl of a wolf - does it get any better?

Wildlife safaris aren’t restricted to the African continent; Norway offers the equally thrilling northern version, where you can get close to king crabs, reindeer, the rare musk ox, elks and varied bird species in their natural habitats. Arise early and treat your ears to the beautiful dawn chorus or take to the water and watch for whales spouting.

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