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A Report from

Lapland/ Laponie - July/juillet 2000,

Lutz Lücker

Report on a birding trip:

This report is written in English since I have so many friends who do not understand either German or French ! I translated the names of less common species into German and French

By car from Geneva. Petrol less expensive in Finland, most expensive in Norway.

Crossed Baltic Sea at Fehmarn (Puttgarden/Rödby) and Helsingör.

Maps : used mainly the Norwegian 1 :700.000 Nordkalotten map as well as the Cappelens 1 :400.000 Troms og Finnmark map (main reference for this report). For local use the 1 :250.000 Statens vegvesen VERGKAART, blad 21 (Varanger) is good. There are better maps for hikers (1 :50.000), but very small and expensive.

Daily Schedule and weather

NB: some Norwegians said it was the wettest or coldest summer they had ever seen, another said there had never been so many insects.... But thanks to some good local anti-mosquito stuff, a net (and, very rarely, gloves) the little bastards were not a major problem on the coast and the tundra. In woodland areas (Pasvik...) they did get a bit troublesome at times.

30th June : After an overnight stay in Hamburg (rain...), arrived near Avesta (SW Gävle). Weather improving in late afternoon.

1st July :  Drove along the Baltic coast (Umea, Skelleftea) and arrived in Jokkmok at the Arctic Circle (rain...)

2nd July : Gällivare, Vittangi, Mertajärvi, Lammasoaivi/Saarikoski, Kilpisjärvi. (Some sunny spells, but cloudy in general.)

3rd July : Headed N towards North Atlantic. Lyngenfjord, Kafjord, Rotsundet, Alta, Stokkedalen, Levdun pass /NE Alta (Sennalandet) (heavy showers and sunny spells)

4th July : Duoddar Sion, Skaidi, Ytre Garadak (Billefjord), Stabbursness, Lakselv, Karasjok, Utsjoki, Tana bru, Nesseby church. (cloudy with sunny spells)

5th July : Vadsö, Vadsoya, Golnes, Ekkeroy, Nesseby, stayed at Vestre Jakobselv camp site (room for 260,-- nkr) (cloudy + sunny spells)

6th July : Vadsö, Salttjern, Skallelv (dirt road 2 km SW of Skallelv, going NW), Vardö (cloudy, showers, windy)

7th July : Vardö, Svartnes, Hamningberg, Syltevikmyra, Sandfjord, back to Nesseby, Tana bru, Kongsfjordfjellet, Gednje (cloudy with showers, sunny evening)

8th July : Batsfjordfjellet, Batsfjord, Nordfjord (sunny, little wind ; too good to be true !)

9th July : Syltefjord, Gednje, Berlevag, Tana bru, Nesseby (heavy rain nearly all day !)

10th July : Varangerbotn, Gandvik/ Bugoynes area, Kirkenes, bottom of Pasvik valley (SW Vaggatem) (sunny, later cloudy, heavy rain at night)

11th July : Pasvik national park, back to Tana bru and Gednje ! (cloudy and windy, sunny from 3 p.m. ; start of good weather period))

12th July : Batsfjordfjell (Oardovarri), Nordfjord, Ytre Syltefjord, Syltefjordklubben seabird colony (Never go there with rubber boots ! Take mountain boots ! 20 kms walk on rounded rocks !) (sunny, cloudy in evening)

13th July : Nordfjord, Batsford- and Kongsfjordfjellet, Austertana, Tana bru, Ekkeroy , Holmfjellet/Krampenes  (sunny)

14th July : Holmfjellet, Skallneset, Vadsö, Ekkeroy,  Skallneset (sunny and warm, mosquitoes down at the beach at 11 p.m. !)

15th July : The big mistake : I should not have left the area ! Tana estuary, Vestertana, Ifjordfjellet, Borselvfjellet, Lakselv, Stabbursnes, Sennalandet, Alta, then S to Masi. (sunny but very windy)

16th July : Lappoluobbal, ancient monuments walk near Kenttan, W Karasjok, Karigasniemi, Kevo national park car park area (road no. 4/92) , roadside pond in Kaktsavarri area,  Inari, Ivalo,Kaunispää, Saariselkä (excellent and cheap spa hotel ! 350 fmk/ night, incl. breakfast, sauna, pool...) (first sunny, rain from 10 a.m., sometimes heavy)

17th July : Vuotso and dirt road leading SE,  Petkula bog (on E75, NOT in Petkula), Sodankylä, Kemijärvi, Käylä, Valtavaara/Kontainen area (heavy showers and sunny spells)

18th July : Kontainen and Valtavaara hills, Kuusamo area, Meskusvaara, area W Kantokyla, Oulu, Haparanda, Lulea, Skelleftea (rain all day from 8 a.m., sometimes heavy)

19th July : Umea, Sundsvall, Gävle, Orebro (cloudy, persistent rain, all rivers swollen....)

20th July : Hornbogasjön and down south back to Hamburg (rain again, sunny in Denmark only...)

Systematic List

This list is not complete. I left out e.g. Robins (Rotkehlchen) and Blackbirds (Amsel) (which I know are very rare in the Varanger area....)
Red-throated Diver (Sterntaucher) Gavia stellata
Common on large and small lakes in the north, E of Alta, Ekkeroy ...
Black-throated Diver (Prachttaucher) Gavia arctica - Plongeon arctique - Prachttaucher
several pairs :from N Gävle on roadside lake in the baltic area, up to Jokkmok + the Gednje - Batsfjord area.
White-billed Diver (Gelbschnabeltaucher) Gavia adamsii - Gelbschnabeleistaucher - Plongeon à bec blanc
one 2nd year bird at Golnes, W Vadsö, from 5th July for several days
Red-necked Grebe (Rothalstaucher) Podiceps grisegena
one somewhere in northern Finland...
Slavonian Grebe (Ohrentaucher) Podiceps auritus - Esclavon -Ohrentaucher
one on Mertajärvi/ SW Karesuando
Gannet (Baßtölpel) Sula bassana - Basstölpel - Fou
Some at Hamningberg, Berlevag, and hundreds in colony at Syltefjordklubben.
Cormorant (Kormoran) Phalacrocorax carbo
recorded at Varangefjord, Batsfjord, Berlevag. Colony at Hornbogasjoen.
Shag (Krähenscharbe) Phalacrocorax aristotelis
Only recorded at Varangerfjord
Whooper Swan (Singschwan) Cygnus cygnus - Singschwan - Cygne chanteur
1 seen at Batsfjord harbour, others heard in a bog area W Vittangi, 2 at Levdun pass/Sennalandet
Bean Goose (Saatgans) Anser fabalis - Oie des moissons - Saatgans
10 flying over Ekkeroy
Canada goose (Kanadagans) -Branta canadensis - Bernache du Canada - Kanadagans
Common at Horbogasjoen and in the north of central Baltic Sweden
Greylag Goose (Graugans) Anser anser
common at Hornbogasjoen
Shelduck (Brandgans) Tadorna tadorna
40 at Nesseby.
Wigeon (Pfeifente) Anas penelope
Up to 8 at various sites
Teal (Krickente) Anas crecca
1-6 at several sites
Pintail (Spießente) Anas acuta
1-4 at 7 sites
Garganey (Knäkente) Anas querquedula
Singles in the south
Shoveler (Löffelente) Anas clypeata
various sites, all south of the Arctic Circle.
Pochard (Tafelente) Aythya ferina
singles in the south
Tufted Duck (Reiherente) Aythya fuligula
1-10 at widespread localities
King Eider (Prachteiderente) Somateria spectabilis - Prachteider - Eider (Eiderente) à tête grise
Up to 6 1st summer males and (presumed immature) females, in the Varangerfjord/Syltefjord area (Ekkeroy, Nesseby church, Nordfjord...) One adult male in eclipse plumage at Leirpollenfjord, NE Tana bru.
Eider (Eiderente) Somateria mollissima
Common on the coast.
Steller's Eider (Scheckente) Polysticta stelleri Scheckente -
Only recorded in the Berlevag/Syltefjord/Varangerfjord area, up to 70 (Nesseby, Skallelv, Krampenes,Salttjern, Ekkeroy...)
Long-tailed Duck (Eisente) Clangula hyemalis - Eisente - Harelde
Up to 14 between Batsfjord and Nordfjord, Kongsfjordfjellet pass, Golnes...
Velvet Scoter (Samtente) Melanitta fusca Samtente - Macreuse brune
Most in the Varangerfjord area (Nesseby),peak of 90 at Stabbursnes reserve on 4th
Goldeneye (Schellente) Bucephala clangula
Fairly common and widespread..
Smew (Zwergsäger) Mergus albellus - Piette - Zwergsäger
1 m. at Ytre Garadak and 4-5 SE Kuusamo (Lake Toranki) were the only records.
Red-breasted Merganser (Mittelsäger) Mergus serrator
all records were north of the Arctic Circle, e.g. in the Varangerfjord area
Goosander (Gänsesäger) Mergus merganser
Main concentrations were in the Varangerfjord area and Tana valley
White-tailed Eagle (Seeadler) Haliaeetus albicilla - Seeadler - Pygargue
" Commonest " raptor in the north! Min. 15 ( ! ) soaring together at Syltefjordklubben, others at Ytre Syltefjord, Nordfjord, Krampenes, 10 - 12 in 50' at Stabbursness at low tide !
Golden Eagle (Steinadler) - Aquila chrysaetos - Steinadler - Aigle royal
one, W road Tana - Kirkenes, W Bugoynes (Hauksjoen)
Marsh Harrier (Rohrweihe) Circus aeruginosus
common at Hornbogasjoen
Goshawk (Habicht) Accipiter gentilis
crossing the road N Avesta
Sparrowhawk (Sperber) Accipiter nisus
some in the south, one at Meskusvaara
Buzzard (Mäusebussard) Buteo buteo
not recorded north of the Arctic Circle.
Rough-legged Buzzard (Rauhfußbussard) Buteo lagopus - Rauhfussbussard - Buse pattue
Singles at Tana bru, Batsfjordfjellet and SE Saarikoski (on Lammasoaivi)
Osprey (Fischadler) Pandion haliaetus -Fischadler - Balbuzard
one at Hornbogasjoen
Kestrel (Turmfalke) Falco tinunculus
all south of the Arctic Circle.
Merlin (Merlin) Falco columbarius Emerillon
roadside birds N Avesta, Masi (S Alta) and SE Kaktsavarri area.
Peregrine (Wanderfalke) - Falco peregrinus) Pèlerin - Wanderfalke
One pair defending nest against White tailed Eagles, S Stabbursness
Gyr Falcon (Gerfalke) Falco rustcolis - Gerfaut - Gerfalk
I did not find this year's eyrie in the Tana valley. 4 chicks had been reared, but no birds seen (on 5 occasions). Another eyrie in the Bugoynes area empty as well. One more reason to come back.
Willow Grouse (Moorschneehuhn) Lagopus lagopus - Moorschneehuhn - Lagopède des saules
Calls N Tana bru, 2 families : one in Pasvik valley SW Vaggatem, one SW Kevo national park, ON the car park on rd. 4/92!
Capercaillie (Auerhuhn) Tetrao urogallus - Auerhuhn - Gd.Tétras
Two females : Pasvik, trail SE car park ; Kontainen hill (on steep slope).
Black Grouse (Birkhuhn) Tetrao tetrix - Birkhuhn - Tétras lyre
One female with chicks E Kuusamo (Meskusvaara rd.)
Hazel Grouse (Haselhuhn) Bonasa bonasia - Haselhuhn - Gélinotte
one female with chicks W Kantokylä
Crane (Kranich) Grus grus Kranich - Grue
1 - 2 birds seen or heard : W Kantokylä, NE Kontainen hill, N Avesta/S Bodas, betw. Umea + Skelleftea and 50 km S Umea
Oystercatcher (Austernfischer) Haematopus ostralegus
Up to 30 in the Varangerfjord area and elsewhere on the coast.
Ringed Plover (Sandregenpfeifer) Charadrius hiaticula
Dotterel (Mornellregenpfeifer) Charadrius morinellus - Mornell - Guignard
Only one group of 6-9 birds , mostly females and one nest on Oardovarre/Batsfjordfjell. Took me 8 days to find them WITHOUT being guided!
Golden Plover (Goldregenpfeifer) Pluvialis apricaria
Lapwing (Kiebitz) Vanellus vanellus
at widespread localities south of the Arctic Circle.
Temminck's Stint (Temminckstrandläufer) Calidris temminckii
3 localities : Vadsoya, Syltefj.-Batsfjord road and E of Skaidi
Dunlin (Alpenstrandläufer) Calidris alpina
Up to 10 in the Varangerfjord area. Breeding W Skallelv
Purple sandpiper (Meerstrandläufer) Calidris maritima - Meerstrandläufer - Bécasseau violet
One, breeding on Oardovarre/Gednje
Ruff (Kampfläufer) Philomachus pugnax
Not very common, north of the Arctic Circle, in the Varangerfjord area (Vadsoya, Ekkeroya...)
Woodcock (Waldschnepfe) Scolopax rusticola
1-2 seen at widespread localities, though none north of the Arctic Circle.
Bar-tailed Godwit (Pfuhlschnepfe) Limosa lapponica - Pfuhlschnepfe - Barge rousse
Only recorded in the north, with a max of 300 at Nesseby. Breeds W Skallelv on high plateau S of dirt road.
Whimbrel (Regenbrachvogel) Numenius phaeopus - Regenbrachvogel - Corlieu
Small numbers seen at widespread localities.
Curlew (Großer Brachvogel) Numenius arquata
Widespread and fairly common.
Spotted Redshank (Dunkler Wasserläufer) Tringa erythropus - Chev.arlequin - Dunkler Wasserläufer
Singles , e.g. SE Kaktsavarri, S Masi (50 km S Alta) and other wooded bog areas
Redshank (Rotschenkel) Tringa totanus
Up to 20 in the Varangerfjord area
Greenshank (Grünschenkel) Tringa nebularia
One in Pasvik valley, N Vaggatem
Green Sandpiper (Waldwasserläufer) Tringa ochropus
1-3 at widespread localities, usually by woodland pools.
Wood Sandpiper (Bruchwasserläufer) Tringa glareola
Up to 10 at many localities.
Common Sandpiper (Flußuferläufer) Actitis hypoleucos
1-2 at widespread localities.
Turnstone (Steinwälzer) Arenaria interpres - Steinwälzer - Tournepierre
Up to 6 in the Varangerfjord area were my only records. Breeds W Skallelv and at Skallneset
Red-necked Phalarope (Odinshühnchen) Phalaropus lobatus - Odinshühnchen
Recorded only in the Varangerfjord area, where max of 36 on a pool at Vadsoya
Arctic Skua (Schmarotzerraubmöwe) Stercorarius parasiticus
Common in the Batsfjord/Varangerfjord area. (Skallelv, Krampenes plateaus...)
Long-tailed Skua (Falkenraubmöwe) Stercorarius longicaudus - Falkenraubmöwe - Labbe à longue queue
Due to the low numbers of lemmings, it was a poor year for this species in Scandinavia. Still, this species was fairly common : up to 5 flying together over the sea or on high ground from Lyngenfjord to Vardö area. Best place : Kongsfjord- and Batsfjordfjellet.
Little Gull (Zwergmöwe) Larus minutus
Only recorded SW Gällivare and near Haparanda
Black-headed Gull (Lachmöwe) Larus ridibundus
Recorded almost daily.
Common Gull (Sturmmöwe) Larus canus
Widespread and fairly common.
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Heringsmöwe) Larus fuscus
1 in the Varangerfjord area was my only sighting.
Herring Gull (Silbermöwe) Larus argentatus
Small numbers seen in widespread localities, with largest numbers in the Varangerfjord area.
Glaucous Gull (Eismöwe) Larus hyperboreus - Eismöwe - Goéld.Bourgmestre
A single first summer bird or L.argentatus hybrid near Hamningberg was my only sighting.
Great Black-backed Gull (Mantelmöwe) Larus marinus
Most recorded in the Varangerfjord area
Kittiwake (Dreizehenmöwe) Rissa tridactyla
Large numbers in the Varangerfjord area. Big colonies on Ekkeroy and Syltefjordklubben
Common Tern (Flußseeschwalbe) Sterna hirundo
Small numbers at widespread localities south of the Arctic Circle. One in Vadsö !
Arctic Tern (Küstenseeschwalbe) Sterna paradisaea
Only recorded north of the Arctic Circle, where common. Largest numbers recorded in the Varangerfjord area.
Guillemot (Trottellumme) Uria aalge
Common in the Varangerfjord area.
Brunnich's Guillemot (Dickschnabellumme) Uria lomvia - Dickschnabellumme -
2 in the harbour of Vardo was my only sighting. Colonies on Hornoya/Vardö and Syltefjordklubben.
Razorbill (Tordalk) Alca torda
Common in the Varangerfjord area.
Black Guillemot (Gryllteiste) Cepphus grylle
Varangerfjord area, with most birds seen at Vardo and Store Ekkeroya.
Puffin (Papageitaucher) Fratercula arctica
Common at Vardo.
Wood Pigeon (Ringeltaube) Columba palumbus
Common and widespread south of the Arctic Circle.
Cuckoo (Kuckuck) Cuculus canorus
1-4 were seen at widespread localities, though not recorded in the extreme north.
Pygmy Owl (Sperlingskauz) Glaucidium passerinum
Passerines on Valtavaara reacted readily when confronted with tape recordings, but no owls seen.
Snowy Owl (Schnee-Eule) Nyctea scandiaca -Schneeeule - Harfang
One male WNW Skallneset near quarry and mixed colony of terns, gulls and skuas. Another bird, a female, was seen W Krampenes on plateau in the same period.
Three-toed Woodpecker (Dreizehenspecht) Picoides tridactylus
3 sightings : 2 at Pasvik (both trails), 1 on cultural trail 15 km W Karasjok near Kenttan.
Skylark (Feldlerche) Alauda arvensis
Small numbers at scattered sites
Horned Lark (Ohrenlerche) - E.alpestris flava - Ohrenlerche - Alouette hausse-col
2 pairs : Kongsfjorfjellet and Holmfjellet plateau W Krampenes (with juv.)
Swallow (Rauchschwalbe) Hirundo rustica
Recorded almost daily.
House Martin (Mehlschwalbe) Delichon urbica
Recorded on most days.
Swift (Mauersegler) -Apus apus Mauersegler
2, S Petkula/Arctic Circle !
Tree Pipit (Baumpieper) Anthus trivialis
Small numbers were noted in most woodland areas.
Meadow Pipit (Wiesenpieper) Anthus pratensis
Small numbers recorded in widespread localities, most in theVarangerfjord area.
Red-throated Pipit (Rotkehlpieper) Anthus cervinus
Only recorded in the Varangerfjord area, best places : Ekkeroya + Vadsoya
Yellow Wagtail (Schafstelze) Motocilla flava
1-6 in widespread localities.
White Wagtail (Bachstelze) Motocilla alba
1-6 recorded in many localites,
Waxwing (Seidenschwanz) Bombycilla garrulus
fairly common in wet and dry woodland : up to 6 from Jokkmok to Pasvik and Valtavaara.
Wren (Zaunkönig) Troglodytes troglodytes
in woodlands (central Sweden)
Bluethroat (Blaukehlchen) Luscinia svecica Blaukehlchen - Gorgebleue
fairly common in birch shrubs from Jokkmok to Ytre Syltefjord (on the beach and an old house!)
Redstart (Gartenrotschwanz) Phoenicurus phoenicurus
1-3 were recorded in a number of woodlands by the Arctic circle
Whinchat (Braunkehlchen) Saxicola rubetra
1-3 at scattered sites , rather in the south
Wheatear (Steinschmätzer) Oenanthe oenanthe
1-4 at scattered sites with a peak count of 12 in the Varangerfjord area.
Fieldfare (Wacholderdrossel) Turdus pilaris
The commonest turdus sp with almost daily sightings.
Song Thrush (Singdrossel) Turdus philomelos
1-3 at woodland sites in the south
Redwing (Rotdrossel) Turdus iliacus
Slightly less common than Fieldfare (Wacholderdrossel), though almost as widespread. Birch and willow shrubs.
Sedge Warbler (Schilfrohrsänger) Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Common at most wetland sites in Sweden.
Garden Warbler (Gartengrasmücke) Sylvia borin
1-8 recorded at scattered sites in the south.
Wood Warbler (Waldlaubsänger) Phylloscopus sibilatrix
Somewhere in the south...
Willow Warbler (Fitis) Phylloscopus trochilus
Recorded almost daily with peak counts of 25.
Spotted Flycatcher (Grauschnäpper) Muscicapa striata
1-2 in a few widely scattered localities
Pied Flycatcher (Trauerschnäpper) Ficedula hypoleuca
Very few , S of Arctic Circle.
Siberian Tit (Lapplandmeise) Parus cinctus
A pair near Kiellatupa coffee house (km 38,5) NW Kaamanen and at Valtavaara car park were our only encounters with this species.
Willow Tit (Weidenmeise) Parus montanus
Singles, e.g. Tana area.
Great Tit (Kohlmeise) Parus major
1-2 at widespread woodland localities
Crested Tit (Haubenmeise) Parus cristatus
Can't remember where, Valtavaara ? ?
Red-backed Shrike (Neuntöter) Lanius collurio
one fem. S Umea
Jay (Eichelhäher) Garrulus glandarius
1-2 in widepread woodland localities in the south
Siberian Jay (Unglückshäher) Perisoreus infaustus
Usually encountered in small flocks. 1 at Valtavaara, a flock of 6 in Pasvik park (Ellenelvkoja area) This species is quite approachable.
Magpie (Elster) Pica pica
Recorded almost daily.
Jackdaw (Dohle) Corvus mondeula
Only recorded S Haparanda, where up to 20 were noted.
Hooded Crow (Nebelkrähe) Corvus corone cornix
Recorded almost daily
Raven (Kolkrabe) Corvus corax
Small numbers seen in scattered localities,
Starling (Star) Sturnis vulgaris
only S Arctic circle
House Sparrow (Haussperling) Passer domesticus
1-3 in a few scattered localities, even Varanger area
Chaffinch (Buchfink) Fringilla coelebs
Common and widespread, though largely absent from the north and usually replaced by Bramblings (Bergfink) in such areas.
Brambling (Bergfink) Fringilla montifringilla
Small numbers noted in most northern wooded localities,
Greenfinch (Grünfink) Carduelis chloris
1-2 at a few localities
Siskin (Erlenzeisig) Carduelis spinus
Noted mainly in woodland sites
Twite (Berghänfling) -Carduelis flavirostris - Berghänfling - Linotte à bec jaune
2 at Vardö north point
Redpoll (Birkenzeisig) Carduelis flammea
Small numbers at widespread sites, mainly birch woodland
Arctic Redpoll (Polarbirkenzeisig) Carduelis hornemanni
2 W of Skallelv and 1 at Sandfjord and W Nordfjord were our only sure records. Species not always easy to identify.
Parrot Crossbill (Kiefernkreuzschnabel) - Loxia pytopsittacus - Kiefernkreuzschnabel - Beccroisé des pins
Most crossbill (Fichtenkreuzschnabel) sightings involved birds flying over, and were thus often  left as common crossbills (Fichtenkreuzschnabel). 5 Birds near Pasvik park were identified by  telescopic views and voice as Parrot C.
Bullfinch (Gimpel) Pyrrhula pyrrhula
Small numbers noted at widespread localities. Dear Ludwig,
Lapland Bunting (Spornammer) Calcarius lapponicus
Fairly common on tundra from Sennalandet to Vardö.
Snow Bunting (Schneeammer) Plectrophenax nivalis
Recorded only on high ground or marine tundra in the Syltefjord/ Batsfjord/Varangerfjord area, where up to 6 were noted.
Yellowhammer (Goldammer) Emberiza citrinella
Recorded at widespread localities south of the Arctic Circle.
Reed Bunting (Rohrammer) Emberiza schoeniclus
Up to 10 noted at widely scattered localities.

Unsure species : one small bird off Ekkeroya on 14th could have been a Leach's petrel (Wellenläufer) Oceanodroma leucorhoa (Pêtrel culblanc, Wellenläufer)

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