Spencer Scott Archive

Birding at 71N in Arctic Norway with Dominic Couzens

10th - 18th June 2011

Join Dominic Couzens on a special Arctic birding trip to the remote and extreme northeastern Finnmark peninsula of Norway on the Barents Sea and adjoining Russia. This remote wilderness offers a unique and sublime birding experience with the chance of seeing such specialities as Siberian Jay, Gyrfalcon, Brunnich’s Guillemot and Steller’s Eider, as well as breeding waders and wildfowl.

Summary Itinerary

10 June

Meet Dominic Couzens at London Heathrow. 1305 hours depart London Heathrow.  1620 hours arrive Oslo.  1825 hours depart Oslo. 2030 hours arrive Kirkenes (400 km inside the Arctic Circle.  Transfer to the hotel in Kirkenes.  Kirkenes is a tiny frontier town just 15km from the Russian border and with a population under 5000. Supper in the hotel.

11-12 June Breakfast and dinner in the hotel.  Two full days birding in the Pasvik River Valley. Wolves and brown bears roam freely amongst the remote lakes, tundra bogs and virgin taiga forests , although they are difficult to see. Relatively rare birds found here include Siberian jay, pine grosbeak, Siberian tit, great grey owl and smew. Packed lunch.
13 June After breakfast and some more birding in Kirkenes take the 1245-1600 hours ferry crossing the 71ºN line to Vardo, Norway’s easternmost town.  The small population of 2000 is mainly made up of Russian and Sri Lankan immigrants. They’ll be plenty of chances for birding from the ferry and there may be some whales. Transfer to the hotel in Vardo. Lunch not included. Dinner in the hotel.
14 June All meals in the hotel. Birding in the Vardo area. Hornoya & Reinoy islands for large colonies of breeding Razorbills, Common Guillemot, Brunnich’s Guillemot, Atlantic Puffin, Black Guillemot, White-tailed Eagle, Red-throated Pipit and Lapland and Snow Buntings. Remote Hamningberg (40km NW of Vardo) is one of the best locations in the summer for finding Stellers and King Eiders and both Glaucous and Iceland Gulls. Other species to look for include Red-throated and Black-throated Divers, Long-tailed and Arctic Skuas, Arctic Terns, White-tailed Eagle, Temmincck’s Stint and Arctic Redpoll.
15 June After breakfast drive the 75 km to Vadso across the lonely pancake-flat road that threads it way between the shoreline, hardy grasses and tough low shrubs. Birding en-route in the small harbour at Kiberg and at Skallelv, where Eiders and Goosanders are likely, together with seabirds. Picnic lunch. Transfer to the hotel in Vadso. Vadso is the main town on the Varanger Peninsula, with the largest population 5,500. Dinner in the hotel.
16-17 June All meals in the hotel. Birding in the Vadso area, including Vadso harbour. Vadsoya island and Ekkeroy. Among the possible species are Gyrfalcon, Steller’s Eider, Red-throated Pipit, Red-necked Phalarope, Ruff, White-billed and Black-throated Diver, Purple Sandpiper, Golden Plover, Dotterel, thousands of Kittiwakes, Lapland and Snow Bunting.
18 June

1427 hours depart Vadso. 1540 hours arrive Tromso. 
1710 hours depart Tromso. 1900 hours arrive Oslo.
2015 hours depart Oslo. 2135 hours arrive London Heathrow.     



Number of participants : 8 – 11 persons
Price per person in a twin:
Single Room Supplement: £200.00

Price includes:

Scheduled flights on SAS airlines
2 nights Rica Arctic Hotel, Kirkenes
1 night Bioforsk Svanhovd /National Park Centre, Pasvik Valley. 
2 nights Vardo Hotel, Vardo
3 nights Rica Hotel, Vadso
All meals except two lunches
Local transport including ferry
Boat trips
Norwegian birding guide
UK bird host     

You might be interested to visit the Birds Words website

Birding at 71N in Arctic Norway with Dominic Couzens

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