The old forests of the park with their decaying and fallen trees provide invaluable shelter, food and nesting places for winter birds. In addition to the usual tits (Parus), you can see the goldcrests (Regulus regulus) hanging around with the tits, the crossbills (Loxia) looking for seeds, the sparrows (Passer domesticus), the common redpolls (Acanthis flammea), and many others – depending on the weather and severity of the winter. In addition to the most common woodpecker in the park, the great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major), the three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus) and the black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) can be heard drumming in the park and the less common white-backed woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos) can also sometimes be seen. There are also many grouse species in the park, so snow burrows made by birds are not an uncommon sight.
One distinctive, although extremely rare, inhabitant of Koli National Park is the northern crested newt (Triturus cristatus). It overwinters in hibernation somewhere near its breeding pond, so it cannot be seen in winter. It is not until in April that the northern crested newts wake up and go to breed in the small ponds surrounded by forest, where no fish live.
Interested in large carnivores? For those interested in the life of large carnivores, there is a lot of interesting information to explore, for example information on the behaviour of the species, snow tracks, history, and much more at www.largecarnivores.fi/. In Kuhmo visitors can find more information about carnivores in the Kuhmo Visitor Centre Petola.
Text / Emilia Kolehmainen
Photos / Stoat: Marko Haapalehto, tracks of wolverine: Tuuli Turunen, wolverine: Aku Ahlholm