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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
From S Sweden to Lapland - July 2001,
5, Fort-LEcluse CH-1213 Pt.-Lancy/Geneva / Switzerland
By car from Geneva. Petrol less expensive in Finland,
most expensive in Norway.
Crossed Baltic Sea at Fehmarn (Puttgarden/Rödby) and Helsingör.
Beware! In late July, waiting queues in Rödby can be long; better use the bridge near Trelleborg.
Maps : used mainly the Norwegian 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 very good. There are better maps for hikers (1 :50.000), but very small and expensive. An excellent bargain is the Statoil Scandinavia atlas NORDEN for 160 skr: the whole of Scandinavia on a 1:300.000 scale! But it does have some imperfections: a yellow road may turn out to have thousands of potholes.
Daily route, weather and highlights
Generally, it was a windy month of July. No long periods of sunshine, but not too much rain either. But the wind often kept birds and animals hidden and difficult to observe.
My main target species were Gyrfalcon, Moose and Whales; I managed to see them all during the first week; the rest I considered as a bonus! Ended up with 15 raptor species, all except Hen Harrier!
29th June :
After an overnight stay in Hamburg and a stopover on Fehmarn island (Red-necked Grebe..), arrived near Store Mosse National Park near Värnamo, south of Jonköping/SE. Weather OK.
30th June :
Glorious sunrise in Store Mosse with Cranes feeding on the Stora Gungflyet marshes SW of Hillerstorp, 3 Ospreys fishing simultaneously over Kävsjön lake and a Moose cow with calf in the birch trees SE of the 3 storey bird tower, just 2 minutes from the car park! Whooper swans, Montagus and Marsh Harrier, Golden Plovers, its a small paradise in the very south of Sweden!
Went on to Tinäset Färnebofjärdens National Park/Österfärnebo, W Uppsala. Good site for owls, grouse and rare woodpeckers. Few birds on a windy mid-afternoon; some 5 crossbills, probably Parrot crossbill (voice!) and a Jack Snipe on the Östavik track. To go north to Bärrek, a ferry is inevitable. The tracks to the sanctuary are all closed to car traffic. 1 Osprey at Ista after sunset, a dead Arctic hare on the road.
Sky becoming more cloudy (morning), sunny later; quite windy.
Several Cranes along the road to Gävle, a Caspian tern at Axmarby (south of Söderhamn). At the well-known moulting site in Hudiksvall 6 unringed Lesser white-fronted geese! Much less shy than on the Lapland breeding sites! 2+3 Woodcock displaying NW Boden.
Sunny at first, cloudy with showers later.
2nd July :
Cloudy, showers, little sunshine.
First Rough-legged Buzzards near Jokkmokk, 1 short-eared Owl N Porjus ( a Little Bunting site). Went NW to Stora Sjöfallet National Park. NW Saltoluokta a family of Willow Grouse crossing the road and 1 km SE Stora Sjöf. my first Hawk Owl! Nice close roadside views. Always watch out for Owls when passerines (Brambling!) are getting noisy! Roadside Rough-legged Buzzard nest W Vakkotavare, together with Kestrel. More R.l.Buzzards, another Short-eared owl and a Hawk owl, a Merlin pair with nest along the Ritsem road. Must have been a good forest rodent year. Lots of Whimbrel NE Stora (road to Satihaure), but no Gyrfalcon!
Night in cottage hotel in Stora Sjöfallet. Evening meal simple, breakfast ample (690 skr altogether).
3rd July :
Rain first, cloudy with sun later.
2 Great grey shrike at Satihaure, 2 Greenshank W Stora, still the same Hawk Owl there.
2 Whooper Swan N Porjus T-junction. No Dotterel on Dundret mountain /Gällivare, but many Snow buntings. Nearly killed (my first ever!) Pine Grosbeak sitting on the Avvakko track NE Gällivare, never to see it again. A bit frustrating as a life tick! The first Black-throated Divers near Lappojokka/Kautokeino.
4th July :
Arrived after a 4500 km drive at the well-known Gyrfalcon nest in the Tana valley. (Precise location withheld. Sadly, this nest has already been advertised on several internet sites, and I saw quite a few birders who seriously disturbed the feeding of the young.) Spent whole day (9 hrs) in car, watching the birds through scope. One of the young had already fledged. The adults were easy to distinguish (size and moult). They did not bring a lot of food to the nest but seemed to lure the remaining young away from the nest.
Cloudy, windy, no sunny spells.
5th July :
Had another look at the Gyrfalcons and headed for Batsfjord. 2+3 Long-tailed Duck at Leirpollskogen, another Merlin pair near nest, 5 km down the Hanadalen track (go no further; very difficult to turn round later!), some Bluethroats and Pied Flycatchers there. Supposed to be a good site for Little Bunting and Arctic Warbler.
On the Kongsfjordfjellet more Long-tailed ducks, first Red-throated pipits and Long-tailed Skuas. 3 Scaup at the 890/891 T-junction.
Sunny with clouds first, heavy rain from 13 h, so took excellent Havli fishermen hotel in Batsford. 480 nkr with supper (simple but ample) and breakfast. First class rooms, but noisy air conditioner in fish factory opposite the inn.
6th July :
Cloudy but dry before evening shower; windy.
Back to Oarduvarri/Batsfjordfjell. Found last years Dotterel nest. Spotted a female bird 500 m further up. When it vanished between the rocks, I went straight after it, only to stumble upon the breeding male! Left him 30 min. to calm down, came slowly back; spent hours watching the bird have a snooze on the clutch. Purple Sandpiper (same place as last year) and Shorelark (songflight). 3 Black-throated Divers and 2 Long-tailed Ducks at Gednje, probably a Twite in Batsfjord port, as well as 2 suspicious looking 2nd cal.y. gulls, probably Herring gulls or Glaucous/Herring Gull hybrids, with extremely pale outer primaries.
On Batsfjordfjell the Dotterel was still there, Temmincks stint, Turnstone. Took Syltefjord dirt road. More R.l.buzzards, 10+9 Long-tailed duck, first Red-necked Phalarope, 4 Velvet Scoter, Shag colony at Hamna Skarveskiten, with first White-tailed Eagle. Wanted to go back to Syltefjordstauran colony. Hired a boatman (400 nkr!) who showed me round the entire colony (90 min. trip). No Brünnichs Guillemot but 7 White-tailed Eagles preying on the Kittiwakes! The boatman left me at Sandfjord village beach (Ytre Syltefj.) so I could walk up the cliff in 80 min. instead of walking 11kms across boulder slopes from Syltefjord. Arrived around midnight, had a good view of a sleeping eagle and Gannet colony. Suddenly, two large longish white things in the water. Supposed they were Beluga whales, but actually, they were the pectoral fins of a 40-50 ft. Humpback Whale!!! Seems to be quite rare in the area. Saw him come up and dive 3 times, then he vanished. With a sharp breeze and showers starting, I had to wait until 4.30 for the boatman who had been in Vardö for a drink with his friend. The vibrations of the boat shattered their windscreen on their way back and they had to sail at 7 knots instead of 30. Nearly froze to death on the beach, but I had seen my whale!
(Sunny with short showers, very mild evening, cold, windy night)
8th July :
(Sunny but very variable with showers, strong wind !)
Back to Batsfjorfjell. 1 pair of Long-tailed Skuas with chick and a Turnstone on a motor sledge at km 13.8! Road to Berlevag. At Rijsfjord 200 Mergansers, and a probable but funny young King Eider with a black breast (but orange-red-lined beak as usual).
The young Gyrfalcons had all left the nest. After waiting for 2 hrs, they all appeared on top of the cliff and did some nice flight exercises. But no trace of the adults (disturbances from other birders running around).
9th July :
(Sunny morning but drizzle + rain nearly all afternoon, night windy but sunny !)
A Temmincks stint at Hoyholmen reserve. The young falcons were still present, no adults. Took road to Pasvik/Kirkenes. Shag colony at Vagge. More Merlins and R.l.buzzards along the road. Down in the Pasvik valley, at Hestefoss, a mother Brown bear with 3 cubs had been seen the night before (from km 24 viewpoint; sand + gravel pit near Noatun), but no luck. Just 2 Cranes near Hestefoss dam, 2 Whooper Swans along Grensevatn track , Greenshank and first Siberian Jay there.
10th July :
Stayed up till 5, saw Willow grouse with 4 chicks on Ellenelva track, 2+2 Waxwings and another Siberian Jay. Then a hot violent wind made any birding impossible (30 °C, hottest spot in Norway) . Went to Svanvik Svanhovd Miljösenter and took a first class room for 370 nkr. After a long siesta, it had become cooler after a thundery shower. Family of Great grey Shrike at Vaggatem. 2 Smew at Skogfoss, 1 Short-eared Owl at Overli.
2-3 S.Jays at km 33.5. 1 Red Fox. Back in bed at 2 a.m.
11th July :
Rain in the morning, then variable and mild; evening: rainy and cool.
Took track to Björnehi Bear hole near Strand. More S.Jays, Waxwing, Greenshank etc.
Back to Varangerfjord. 35 Shelduck at Nesseby. But no waders!
12th July :
Morning: drizzle, persistent. P.m.: sunny and mild.
2 Great northern Divers at Nesseby (ad.+imm.), both Krampenes White-tailed Eagles on the dunes as usual, 25 Stellers Eiders at Salttjern (no spring plumage males). Had a walk with J.A.Olsen, a local guide from Krampenes on Skallneset plateau. Arctic Skua with chicks but very windy. On Domen hill/Vardö 1 Arctic Redpoll 2nd cal.y., Red-throated Pipit, Red fox, but not the promised Snowy Owl! Lots of Red-throated divers on the lakes between Smalrör and Barvik. Another Great Northern Diver on Persfjord, lots of auks, 1200 odd Common Eiders, 80 Common Scoter. At Hamningberg another Red fox, 1 Grey Seal (Kegelrobbe, Phoque gris).
Sunny, mild, windy, p.m.: 1 shower.
After spending the night in the middle of a Reindeer herd, some animals 10 ft from the car, no luck at Hamningberg (too windy). 32 Long-tailed Duck at Prestnaeringen, (km 9), min. of 4 King Eiders (one adult male), 25 C.Scoter. At Barvikmyra, 2 Black-throated Divers, in Vardö harbour 2 Brünnichs Guillemot preening. Between Vardö and Vadsö a roadside White-tailed Eagles nest (1 ad. and 2 big juveniles), 6 Red-throated Divers N Ekkeroy. But NO Snowy Owl preying on the colony AND no adult White-billed Diver!
14th July :
Sunny and mild, 1 thundery shower.
On Krampenes plateau (Storskog) 2 Shorelark nests with eggs and chicks. Saw a pair of splendid snow-white Arctic Redpolls on a dry stone wall 500 yds from village, but dipped on Gyrfalcon and Snowy Owl at Ekkeroy Cliff. 35 Stellers Eiders in the bay, 1 Ruff.
15th July :
a.m.: sunny, then cloudy with 1 shower, p.m.: windy with showers, evening dry.
Went back to Gednje area with U.Eidam and K.H.Heyne and family from Germany. Dotterel still on nest, 7 Long-tailed Skuas along track to Oardujavri lake. Spent evening, night and morning with the 3 (or 4 ?) young Gyrfalcons.
16th July :
Sunny, then cloudy with persistent drizzle.
1 Twite on Vadsöya, 90 Red-necked Phalaropes! First 4 Bar-tailed Godwits at Krampenes.
17th July :
Cloudy, p.m.: a little sunshine
E Skallelv: 150 Common Scoter and a Seal, Sedge Warbler near Kramvik, more roadside Phalaropes, and a large female Peregrine that caused a mass panic among the Kittiwakes, it had obviously just had a big lunch! 40 Stellers Eiders at Salttjern.
18th July :
Cloudy, then persistent rain
Some more 74 Stellers Eiders at Salttjern, one with radio tag! 11 Bar-tailed Godwits, some Dunlin and Ruff.
19th July :
Pouring rain, windy later drizzle.
Last straw decided to go south. 6 more BT Godwits and an imm. Great Norther Diver at Nesseby. Went to Neiden Church yard, but no Arctic Warblers. Took direct road to Inari. 2 roadside Waxwings. The Kilpylää Spa hotel being full, stayed in Riekonkieppi cottage hotel in Saariselkä. 450 FMK with breakfast and supper.
20th July :
Cloudy, windy, showers then sunny.
9 + 12 Whimbrel on Kaunispää near Ivalo. No Dotterels but a Shorelark. Then a 20 yd flyover of an imm. Golden Eagle just S Tankavaara, near U. Kekkonen National Park (Nice walking on prepared paths, but no Siberian Jays, too windy.) Took the Sompio Nat.Park track at the northern entrance of Vuotso. After a few potholes very well preserved road, not tarmaced but surfaced with some very dense dark grey ash. You cross the southern corner of Sompio Park (another Bear area!) after 10 kms. 45 min walk to Pyhänattanen hill summit. Flushed a male Capercaillie, but no grouse. More waxwings, Great grey Shrike AND a roadside Two-barred Crossbill, the least expected tick of the journey! 1 Osprey 9 km N Peurasuvanto, 7 Waxwings by the bird tower. 5 Swifts in the Petkula area, and a moose cow on the road at midnight near Raudanjoki, N of Rovaniemi. Arctic Hare there, too.
Sunny morning, rainy afternoon, sunny with showers in the evening.
Woke up in a Sand Martin colony W Rovaniemi! 1 Little Gull in Swedish Hirvijärvi, no Great Grey Owls in Lulea/Boden area, one more Hawk Owl between Slagnäs and Sorsele!
Sunny morning, then cloudy, drizzle in evening.
E Sorsele. Another Two-barred Crossbill during breakfast. Very distinctive call, not to be overheard. One more Arctic (Blue) Hare. NW Kradsele 2 Black-throated Divers near the road; terrific views! In Ammarnäs (excellent visitors centre and exhibition!), E Tjulträsk, 1 fem. Capercaillie with 1 chick on the road. Teal family and min. Bluethroat at 3 sites near the Reindeer Slaughtering pen at Höbakken. Drove to Juktan valley in SW of Vindelfjällen Park. 50 kms of forest track. Sparrowhawk on dead Willow Grouse road victim; another live grouse a bit further. 2 Woodcock (display) at midnight at Skirknäs. 1 Arctic hare near Tallasfällen.
Fog and drizzle, then sunny.
2 Black-throated divers on river Juktan, N Dikanäs (terrible pothole road) 2 juv. Merlins, 2 Slavonian Grebes and 1 Velvet Scoter. At Dorris near Stalon another fem. Capercaillie on road, Buzzards, Kestrel and Honey Buzzard on the road to Vilhelmina + Strömsund. 3 Families of feral Barnacle Geese near Krokom, 4 Canada Geese near Lake Annsjön at Handöl. Stayed in cottage hotel (Pensionat Handöl), run by 6 charming sisters , good homemade food and very cheap (250 skr incl. supper and breakfast)! Should have stayed there longer, but there were virtually no birds in the area.
Sunny and windy, 1 shower later.
Tried the hills and the Storulvan fjell road above Handöl, but no birds, due to the strong wind. (The road to Bränna is private ; leads to a quarry.) Nothing on Lake Annsjön either but splendid views from hill opposite waterfall. Access by suspended bridge in upper village. Drove down to Hudiksvall where there were 7 unringed + 3 ringed Lesser white-fronted Geese now. Managed to approach them at less than 5 yards. One has to imitate morning joggers and they wont budge. But do not stop and look at them!
Sunny and warm ( of course)!
Drove through Tiveden National Park, supposed to be good for Hazel Grouse and Capercaillie. A Sparrowhawk family in the trees. Evening in Store Mosse on the birding tower by the main road near Kittlakull. 12 odd Roe deers, the males frantically chasing females, 34+ cranes , some feeding in pairs, others roosting by the lake, Marsh Harrier, Osprey, Hobby with juveniles calling, 9 Whooper Swans, 2 Black-throated Divers 30 + Canada geese . And a young Moose bull! Smashing sights as a curtain to the end of my trip. Unforgettable!
This list is not complete. I left out Robins, Blackbirds
(which I know are very rare in the Varanger area....) and many others
Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata
Common on large and small lakes north of Vardö, Ekkeroy etc ...
Black-throated Diver Gavia arctica
Several pairs :from Store Mosse on roadside lakes up to Juktan valley + the Gednje - Batsfjord area.
White-billed Diver Gavia adamsii
1 adult bird had been seen by several birders N Ekkeroy.
Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena
3 on Fehmarn near Puttgarden/ N Germany...
Slavonian Grebe Podiceps auritus -
2 near Dikanäs/Sw.
Gannet Sula bassana -
Some at Hamningberg, and hundreds in colony at Syltefjordklubben.
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Recorded only at Varangefjord.
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis
Only recorded at Varangerfjord
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus
Up to 9 at Store Mosse Kävsjön. Others near Porjus, Pasvik valley etc.
Common at Store Mosse and in the north of central and baltic Sweden
Greylag Goose Anser anser
Common in Hudiksvall. Some at Store Mosse.
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
35 at Nesseby.
Wigeon Anas penelope
A family on Vadsöya where there were rumours of an American Wigeon.
Teal Anas crecca
1-6 at several sites (Ammarnäs )
Pochard Aythya ferina
Singles south of Polar Circle.
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
1-10 at widespread localities
King Eider Somateria spectabilis
One adult male in eclipse plumage with at least 3 immat. at Persfjorden/Vardö. One juv. At Rijsfjord/Kongsfjord.
Eider Somateria mollissima
Common on the coast. Large shoals between Hamningberg and Vardö.
Steller's Eider Polysticta stelleri
Only recorded in the Syltefjord/Varangerfjord area, up to 74 (Salttjern, Ekkeroy...)
Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis
Up to 10 between Batsfjord and Syltefjord, Kongsfjordfjellet pass
Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca
Most in the Varangerfjord area
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra
Up to 150 (W Skallelv) in Varanger area.
Goldeneye Bucephala clangula
Fairly common and widespread..
Smew Mergus albellus
2 in Pasvik valley were the only records.
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator
All records were north of the Arctic Circle, e.g. in the Varangerfjord area; up to 200.
Goosander Mergus merganser
Main concentrations were in the Varangerfjord area and Tana valley
White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla
Commonest raptor in the north! Min. 7 ( ! ) soaring together at Syltefjordstauran, others at Ytre Syltefjord, Syltefjord, Krampenes, nest with 2 juv. near Vardö !
Golden Eagle - Aquila chrysaetos
One near Kekkonen National Park/Tankavaara.
Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus
Several at Store Mosse
Montagus Harrier Circus pygargus
1 ad. Male at Store Mosse, but NO Hen Harriers!
Goshawk Accipiter gentilis
crossing the road near Gränön/Sw.
Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
some in the south, a family in Tiveden N.Park/SW.
Buzzard Buteo buteo
Not recorded north of the Arctic Circle.
Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus
1 above the road S Strömsund/Sw.
Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo lagopus
Very common this year; More than 20 birds recorded. Nest in Stora Sjöfallet Park.
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
3 fishing simultaneously at Kävsjön/Store Mosse. Another in N Finland (Peurasuvanto) and at Tinäset/Sw..
Kestrel Falco tinunculus
Most south of the Arctic Circle but nests in Stora Sjöfallet.
Merlin Falco columbarius
Many roadside birds; nests in Stora Sjöfallet, Hanadal/Austertana, near Dikanäs/Sw and Pasvik valley.
Peregrine - Falco peregrinus
A female in Ekkeroy colony where a male had been seen, too.
Gyr Falcon Falco rustcolis
The Tana valley pair had at least 3 juv. Site disturbed by many birders.
Hobby Falco subbuteo
1 ad. with juv. Calling at Store Mosse
Willow Grouse Lagopus lagopus
Families at Stora Sjöfallet, in Pasvik valley SW Vaggatem, roadside birds in Vindelfjällen N.Park and elsewhere.
Capercaillie Tetrao urogallus
1 male in Sompio N.Park, females with chicks in N Sweden (Ammarnäs, Dorris/Stalon )
Crane Grus grus
Up to 34 at Store Mosse, a few in Tinäset N.Park, otherwise rare.
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
Up to 30 in the Varangerfjord area and elsewhere on the coast.
Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
Dotterel Charadrius morinellus
Probably the same pair as last year on the slopes of Oarduvarri/Batsfjorfjellet.
Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria
Common in bogs and heather from Store Mosse up N
Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
At widespread localities south of the Arctic Circle.
Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii
Several localities : Vadsoya, Syltefj.-Batsfjord road, Tana valley
Dunlin Calidris alpina
Up to 10 in the Varangerfjord area.
Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima
One, breeding on Oardovarri.
Ruff Philomachus pugnax
Not very common, north of the Arctic Circle, in the Varangerfjord area (Vadsoya, Ekkeroya...)
Woodcock Scolopax rusticola
Several pairs near the Arctic Circle (Jokkmokk, Juktan valley/Vindelfjäll..).
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
Only recorded in the Varanger area, with a max of 11 at Salttjern.
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Small numbers seen at widespread localities. Best places: Kaunispää (9+ 12) and Stora Sjöfallet.
Curlew Numenius arquata
Widespread but not common.
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
Redshank Tringa totanus
Up to 20 in the Varangerfjord area
Greenshank Tringa nebularia
In Pasvik valley, N Vaggatem and elsewhere, Stora Sjöf.
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
Breeds in bogs at many localities.
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
1-2 at widespread localities.
Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Up to 6 in the Varangerfjord and Batsjord area; Commoner than last year. Breeds W Skallelv and at Skallneset
Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus
Recorded only in the Varangerfjord area, where max of 90 on a pool at Vadsoya
Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus
Common in the Batsfjord/Varangerfjord area. (Skallelv, Krampenes plateaus...)
Long-tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus
Best place : Kongsfjord- and Batsfjordfjellet. Up to 7; one pair with a chick. Food problems: there being few mountain lemmings.
Little Gull Larus minutus
Only 1 recorded at Hirvijärvi/SW.
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
Recorded almost daily.
Common Gull Larus canus
Widespread and fairly common.
Herring Gull Larus argentatus
Small numbers seen in widespread localities, with largest numbers in the Varangerfjord area.
Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus
3 suspicious-looking birds in Batsfjord and Vadsö harbour. Very pale outer primaries, typical pink/black beak. But size and proportions not entirely correct. Maybe Herring gull hybrids.
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
Most recorded in the Varangerfjord area
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla
Large numbers in the Varangerfjord area. Big colonies on Ekkeroy and Syltefjordklubben
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Small numbers at widespread localities south of the Arctic Circle.
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea
Mostly recorded north of the Arctic Circle, where common. Largest numbers recorded in the Varangerfjord area.
Guillemot Uria aalge
Common in the Varangerfjord area.
2 in the harbour of Vardo was my only sighting. Colonies on Hornoya/Vardö and Syltefjordklubben.
Razorbill Alca torda
Common in the Varangerfjord area.
Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle
Varangerfjord area, with most birds seen at Vardo and Store Ekkeroya.
Puffin Fratercula arctica
Common at Vardo and Syltefjordstauran.
Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus
Common and widespread south of the Arctic Circle.
Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
1-4 were seen at widespread localities, though not recorded in the extreme north.
Snowy Owl Nyctea scandiaca
One male was seen twice on Domen N Kiberg. Another bird was seen twice preying on Kittiwakes at Ekkeröy.
I dipped on both birds!
Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides tridactylus
Skylark Alauda arvensis
Small numbers at scattered sites up to the Arctic Ocean.
Shorelark - E.alpestris flava
Much more common than last year.
2 pairs with nests on plateau W Krampenes (with juv.), others on Batsfjordfjell, Kramvik, Kaunispää/Fi. etc.
Swallow Hirundo rustica
Recorded almost daily.
House Martin Delichon urbica
Recorded on most days.
Swift -Apus apus Mauersegler
Saw the first birds N Petkula/Arctic Circle !
Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
Small numbers were noted in most woodland areas.
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
Small numbers recorded in widespread localities, most in theVarangerfjord area.
Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus
Much more common than last year.
Most recorded in the Varangerfjord area, best places : Ekkeroya + Vadsoya
Yellow Wagtail Motocilla flava
1-4 in widespread localities, often funny forest habitats (Pasvik Valley )
White Wagtail Motocilla alba
1-6 recorded in many localites,
Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus
Less common than last year; in wet and dry woodland : up to 7 from Jokkmokk/Sw. and Peurasuvanto/Fi. to Pasvik.
Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
1-4 in woodlands (central Sweden)
Bluethroat Luscinia svecica
Much less common than last year, except in Ammarnäs: 3 sites just below the tree line.
Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
1-3 were recorded in a number of woodlands by the Arctic circle
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
1-3 at scattered sites , up to Ammarnäs area.
Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
1-4 at scattered sites , most in the Varangerfjord area.
Fieldfare Turdus pilaris
The commonest turdus sp with almost daily sightings.
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
1-3 at woodland sites in the south
Redwing Turdus iliacus
Slightly less common than Fieldfare, though almost as widespread. Birch and willow shrubs. Beware of the locally extremely different songs !
Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
One near Kramvik/Varanger !
Garden Warbler Sylvia borin
Some recorded at scattered sites in the south, one in Pasvik valley!
Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
Recorded almost daily.
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
1-2 in a few widely scattered localities, even near Varangerfjord.
Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca
Not very common; N up to Hanadalen/Austertana.
Willow Tit Parus montanus
Singles, e.g. Tana area.
Great Tit Parus major
1-2 at widespread woodland localities
Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor
2 families in Pasvik valley. More further south.
Jay Garrulus glandarius
1-2 in widepread woodland localities in the south
Siberian Jay Perisoreus infaustus
Some individuals, only in Pasvik valley (Ellenelva area) This species is quite approachable.
Magpie Pica pica
Recorded almost daily.
Jackdaw Corvus mondeula
Only recorded S Rovaniemi, mostly on town park lawns.
Hooded Crow Corvus corone cornix
Recorded almost daily
Raven Corvus corax
Small numbers and a few nests seen in scattered localities, with rocky habitat.
Starling Sturnis vulgaris
Only S Arctic circle
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
1-3 in a few scattered localities, even in Varanger area
Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Common and widespread, though largely absent from the north and usually replaced by Bramblings in such areas.
Brambling Fringilla montifringilla
Small numbers noted in most northern wooded localities,
Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
1-2 at a few localities S of Ammarnäs.
Siskin Carduelis spinus
Noted mainly in woodland sites S Rovaniemi and Ammarnäs.
Twite -Carduelis flavirostris -
One at Batsfjord harbour and on Varsöya.
Redpoll Carduelis flammea
Small numbers at widespread sites, mainly birch woodland. Numerous flocks S Ammarnäs.
Arctic Redpoll Carduelis hornemanni
1 second cal.y. on Domen/Kiberg and an adult pair N Krampenes on a dry stone wall were our only sure records. Species not always easy to identify.
Parrot Crossbill - Loxia pytyopsittacus
Most crossbill sightings involved birds flying over, and were thus often left as Common crossbills. 5 Birds in Tinäset N.Park/Sw. were identified by their voice as Parrot C.
Two-barred Crossbill Loxia leucoptera.
One E Sorsele/Sw. ; another E Vuotso in Sompio NP. Easy to identify through distinctive call weet weet -- check check!
Pine Grosbeak Pinicula enucleator
One on dirt road near Avvakko/Gällivare. No more despite thorough search of old pine woods (Pasvik, Vindelfjällen NP) After last winters invasion, their population may have crashed.
Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula
Small numbers noted at widespread localities.
Lapland Bunting Calcarius lapponicus
Fairly common on tundra from Batsfjordfjell to Vardö.
Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis
Recorded only on high ground or marine tundra in the Syltefjord/ Batsfjord/Varangerfjord area and on Dundret, where up to 6 were noted.
Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
Recorded at widespread localities south of the Arctic Circle. A tame bird in a picnic area SE Annsjön.
Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus
Noted at widely scattered localities.
Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae
One adult at Syltefjordstauran Gannet colony.
Moose Alces alces
One male and one female with calf at Store Mosse Kittlakull watchtower, one fem. On road N Rovaniemi at midnight.
Roe deer Capreolus capreolus
Common at Store Mosse
Reindeer Rangifer tarandus
Everywhere from Jokkmok to Hamningberg
Red fox - Vulpes vulpes
Several between Pasvik and Hamningberg
Arctic fox Alopex Lagopus
Rare but according to Ammarnäs Field Station (Excellent!) still present at Ammarnäs /Vindelfjällen.
Brown Bear - Ursus arctos
Norwegian Birdwatchers saw a female with 3 cubs in Pasvik near Noatun/Hestefoss (from main road).
Badger Meles meles
2 road victims in central Sweden.
Blue hare Lepus timidus (Schneehase, Lièvre variable) :
From Tinäset NP in the S up to Pasvik valley.
Brown hare - Lepus capensis
Also in Tinäset area/Sw.
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus
One at Hamningberg
Vole/ Mouse/ Lemming sp. : several on forest road in Juktan valley/Vindefjällen.
According to S.Wikan in Svanvik the spring counts of 4 species in Pasvik valley were the best since 1997.
Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus
Some road victims in central and S Sweden.
Red Squirrel Sciurus vulgaris
Live and dead animals from S Sweden to Pasvik.
Postscripts from www.birdingnorway.no
Large numbers of Common Crossbills are currently invading NW Europe, and flocks are everywhere in Norway. A few Two-barred Crossbills are also reported, so far four reports involving a total of six birds from Norway north of Trondheim.
Feltornitologen, the organization behind the Norwegian pager system Bombevarslern organized a ten day trip to Varanger and Pasvik in Finnmark the last days of June and the first week of July 2001. The best finds were a White-rumped Sandpiper and a Red Phalarope, but the participants could also enjoy around 10 Little Buntings, 6-7 Arctic Warblers, Hawk- and Snowy Owls, Broad-billed Sandpiper, several Manx Shearwaters, plenty of skuas of all four species, lots of King Eiders, Stellers Eiders, Brunnichs Guillemots, Red-throated Pipits, Shore Larks, Arctic Redpoll, Siberian Tit, Siberian Jay, Three-toed Woodpecker, Hazel Grouse and Brown Bear!