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A Report from

From S Sweden to the Barents Sea and back to the North Sea Coast - July 2002,

Lutz Lücker

5, Fort-L'Ecluse - 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 Odense.

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

I had only few days with persistent rain, mostly only a few, sometimes heavy showers and 7 days without a single drop. Above all, there were virtually NO mosquitoes in Arctic Scandinavia this year!
My main target species were Brown Bear and Red-flanked Bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus); I managed to see them both during the first 4 days; the rest I considered as a bonus! I will include a few observations made by my friend Daniel Nussbaumer from Switzerland.

28th June:
Arrival at Store Mosse National Park. 16 Whooper Swans (Cygnus cygnus), 11 Crane (Grus grus), displaying Snipe (Gallinago gallinago), Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus), 6 Roe deer and male and female Elk, 2 more (female + calf) SW Norrköping. Night N Norrköping, with Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) display. Sunny+showers.

29th June :
Västeras, Sala. Wanted to rest in a wood near the highway. Crossed 2 more Elk on a forest road. They approached to watch my car from 15 m, then disappeared slowly after a few minutes' hesitation! Gävle, Hudiksvall (9 Lesser White-fronted Geese (Anser erythropus) at the traditional moulting site) , Rämtöfjärden/Ranea (1 more Elk + 10 Little Gull (Larus minutus)), Haparanda (first Red-breasted Mergansers (Mergus serrator), Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) and another Elk!). Sunny + showers.

30th June :
Kemi (Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola), first Arctic Hare), 1 Merlin (Falco columbarius) W Pudasjärvi, Peranka, Justusranta, Martinselkonen Brown Bear Reserve. Sunny + heavy showers.
Everything worked according to schedule! I arrived just in time at the Wilderness Centre, 1 km from the Russian border, to watch the. World Championship Football Final. Lunch at 15.00 h, departure at 16.00 h. After 20 min. drive and 30 min. walk through dense spruce forest (1 Hazel Grouse (Bonasa bonasia) with 5-6 chicks) we (4 people) arrived at a log cabin for up to ten (reclining seats, beds for 6, toilet.), and a few moments later a family of 4 Brown Bears arrived to feed on fish offal. When the first males approached, the female and the 2-year-old cubs retreated. More and more males arrived (up to 8 simultaneously) until a 300-kilo alpha male chased them briefly away. But there were no skirmishes or open conflicts. 4 Cuckoos (Cuculus canorus) came feeding on insects around the dead fish. Since it never got really dark, video filming was possible all night. The last bear vanished at 8 am and we could retreat for a copious breakfast. According to our guide we had seen at LEAST 12 different bears.Cost: all in all 150 Euros. More details from!

1st July:
Kuusamo, Ruka, Vikkula road, Kontainen and Valtavaara hills. When arriving at the famous car park I immediately spotted an unexpected family of Rustic Buntings (Emberiza rustica), a lifer for me! Splendid adult male feeding young.
Went uphill and met a pair of alarming Red-flanked Bluetails (Tarsiger cyanurus), both carrying insects! Glorious views; they were just far enough to fit in my scope! Had to retreat because of a storm, then went up again to get some video footage. Lots of mosquitoes, but the birds were still there! So far for the target species. Another Elk with 2 calves N Sodankylä.

2nd July :
Spent night at Petkula bog. No broad-billed sandpiper (Limicola falcinellus) but a Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus). First Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus) S Utsjoki. No Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus) this year at the Tana Valley site but the first Rough-legged Buzzards (Buteo lagopus), Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) and Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus). 1 Merlin (Falco columbarius) km 8 NE Austertana. Another Rough-legged Buzzard (Buteo lagopus) near Gednje (Batsfjord road), Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus) + 2 more male Elk at km 8, crossing miles of bare TUNDRA ! There were lots of rodents in Arctic Norway this year (except Mountain Lemming.) so the Buzzards (Buteo buteo) were everywhere! Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus) were also numerous, even in non-coniferous woodland.
Met my friend Daniel who had arrived from Ivalo. He had spent the previous night in Pasvik valley and seen Arctic Warbler (Phylloscopus borealis) near Noatun, feeding Hawk Owls (Surnia ulula) near Steinbakk and a Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa) at km 33.5 N Vaggatem!
No dotterel (Charadrius morinellus) on Oarduvarri but Lapland Bunting (Calcarius lapponicus), 4 Long-tailed Skuas (Stercorarius longicaudus), Red-throated divers (Gavia stellata), 1 Black-throated diver (Gavia arctica), Turnstone (Arenaria interpres), Dunlin (Calidris alpina). Finally spotted 5 female Dotterel (Charadrius morinellus) on a plateau near Oarduvarri. Splendid display flights in the Midnight sunlight, and another female Elk crossing the tundra not far away! Spent night on spot.
Few morning showers, then fine weather.

3rd July :
First Shore Lark (Eremophila alpestris), 4 fabalis Bean Geese (Anser fabalis) feeding near a small lake, 2 Long-tailed Skuas (Stercorarius longicaudus). 16 Long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis) in Batsfjord with a family of 7-8 Twite (Carduelis flavirostris)! 16 more long-tailed ducks (Clangula hyemalis) on Syltefjord road. Weather too unsettled to go to Syltefjordstauran bird colony.
Met Mr and Mrs Kraatz from Greifswald/Germany who had been studying 4 dotterel (Charadrius morinellus) territories + nests for 4 weeks.
Sunny morning, then dull, rain later.

4th July :
Were shown 3 dotterel (Charadrius morinellus) nests, one with hatched chick. Heavy showers, continued to Varangerfjord. 50 Bar-tailed Godwits (Limosa lapponica) at Nesseby church. 40 Red-necked Phalaropes (Phalaropus lobatus) on Vadsöya/Vadsö, first Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus). More Phalaropes at Salttjern and Ekkeröy. 1 adult male King Eider (Somateria spectabilis) E Krampenes. Spent night on Storskog plateau, but no Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca)!
Little sunshine dr. morning, then heavy showers, late afternoon + evening fine.

5th July :
1 female Peregrine (Falco peregrinus), 2 White-tailed Eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) and 1 King Eider (Somateria spectabilis) near Skallneset. 1 adult Great Northern Diver (Gavia immer) at km 4, one more White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) and 2 Gannets (Sula bassana) at km 6 between Kvalneset and Komagvaer. 2 juvenile and 2 immat. White-tailed Eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) at nest site near Vadsö-Vardö road. S Persfjord 1 Long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis) with 7 chicks, 1 Gannet (Sula bassana). Vesterelva bay: 130+ Long-tailed ducks (Clangula hyemalis), 1 male King Eider (Somateria spectabilis), 17+ Scoter (Melanitta nigra), 12+ Grey Seals. On Hamningberg road (km 4) a Twite (Carduelis flavirostris) family, 20 Long-tailed Ducks (Clangula hyemalis), 1 more King Eider (Somateria spectabilis) and Gannet (Sula bassana). Night in Vardö Hotel (500 nkr for 2, comfortable.)
Dull, rain in afternoon, evening dry.

6th July :
Morning showers, noon fine, 4pm afternoon showers, nice evening, then dull.
1 immat. Arctic Redpoll (Carduelis hornemanni) on Vardö West coast stockfish racks, Snow Buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis), a flock of 30 fem.+immat.King Eider (Somateria spectabilis) on W coast.
Lots of Brunnich's Guillemot (Uria lomvia) (can be seen in the harbour, too..) Razorbills (Alca torda) and Puffins (Fratercula arctica) on Hornöya island. Normal price 160 nkr. Beware! The boatman charges twice as much at weekends!  1 visiting White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla). 5 roadside Phalaropes on Domen hill, breeding Dunlin (Calidris alpina) near Kramvik, breeding Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica) near track 2 km S Skallelv (1 large blackish (Wood?) lemming or vole). 3 ad. + 1 imm. Black-throated divers (Gavia arctica) near Ekkeröy, 2 ad. White-tailed Eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) W Krampenes. The same Peregrine (Falco peregrinus) near Skallneset.

7th July
Drizzle + fog, then fine, showers, fine evening + night.
On Ekkeroy 1 sick Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), a Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) (female?) caught a gull chick at 12.05 pm. Great sight but very short!
1 White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) + 2 Ruff (Philomachus pugnax) at Salttjern, 1 Shore lark (Eremophila alpestris) at Vadsö TV tower. 2 Short-eared owls (Asio flammeus) + Sedge warblers (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus) E + W Nesseby My friend Daniel left me, heading tw. Finland where he had several Rustic bunting (Emberiza rustica) families in Kevo National park. I drove to Pasvik. 1 more Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus) at Ferdesmyra. 4 red Foxes between Varangerfjord and pasvik valley? They are everywhere, except on the highes fjells. I had never seen so many foxes in my life!
8th July:
fine, windy, rain at 11 pm
Arrival in Pasvik after midnight. Between Brattli and Morud roadside Hazel grouse (Bonasa bonasia) and Willow grouse (Lagopus lagopus), 2+2 Black-throated divers (Gavia arctica), Arctic Hare, 4 Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus), no arctic Warbler (Phylloscopus borealis) at Noatun but a family of Lesser spotted Woodpeckers (Dendrocopos minor)! 4 more Black-throated divers (Gavia arctica) at Hestefoss with Great grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor), 2 Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus) and a family of Siberian Tits (Parus cinctus). 4 more Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) at Skogly (chasing insects from roadside wires at km 4), and a Musk Rat. Another Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor) at km 33 N Vaggatem, 4 more Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) on National Park track, the 15th Elk (!) and a Greenshank (Tringa nebularia).

9th July :
fine and warm, rain in evening, then fog and sunny night.
2 calling Cranes (Grus grus) at 2am with midnight sun and fog.(km 05/18.8 N Nyrud), what an eerie atmosphere! On forest trail going south at km 05/24.1, I surprised a Willow grouse (Lagopus lagopus) family with 10+ very small but fledged chicks. Another Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor) at km 05/13.6. . Night in excellent Pasvik Taiga hotel (nkr 900 with breakfast and sublime dinner: willow grouse and king crab!)

10th July :
cloudy (little sun and showers, drizzly evening.
Took track fr. Noatun to Lyngmo where a border patrol had seen a brown bear the previous morning. 1 Siberian Jay (Perisoreus infaustus), + a few Siberian Tit (Parus cinctus). In the marsh between Noatun and Nyrud 1 Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus), 1 Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor) and 1 calling Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus). On the Myrbekken-Ryeng track 5+3 Siberian Jays (Perisoreus infaustus), 1 Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus). Left Pasvik , drove to Neiden. Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor) near Steinnes, no Arctic Warbler (Phylloscopus borealis) at Neiden Churchyard!

11th July :
cloudy, fresh and windy, fine after 4pm.
5 Black-throated divers (Gavia arctica) at Sandtangen, 1 Peregrine (Falco peregrinus) at Ramnfjellet, 1 Rough-legged Buzzards (Buteo lagopus) between Munkneset, Karlebotn and Vestre Jakobselv, 1 Merlin (Falco columbarius) in Karlebotn, 1 Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) (!) E Nesseby, but no Sabine's Gull (Larus sabini); an ad. Little Gull (Larus minutus) instead! 3 Gannets (Sula bassana) and 2 Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis).

12th July :
fine, fresh wind!
Visited Sami site at Mortnensnes: Museum exhibition closed but free access onto site.
Met the Eidam family from Frankfurt at Ekkeröy. A 16+ Willow grouse (Lagopus lagopus) family near Skallneset. Still the Peregrine (Falco peregrinus) there, possible Arctic Redpoll (Carduelis hornemanni).

13th July
Fine, cool + windy, dull at 11 pm.
1 Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) and 1 rare dark phase Pomarine Skua (Stercorarius pomarinus) on Ekkeröy!
25+ Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus) along Golnes -Laugsmedvatnet track. 3 Long-tailed Skua (Stercorarius longicaudus) + 1 breeding Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica). Dunlin (Calidris alpina), 1Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis) + 7 chicks, Lapland Bunting (Calcarius lapponicus) (very uncommon this year!)

14th July :
Cloudy, warm, , fine evening.
A White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) at Ekkeröy colony at 10 am, the Peregrine (Falco peregrinus) at 11 am. 4 Red-necked Phalaropes (Phalaropus lobatus) at the top pond, still the sick Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), 5 Black-throated Divers (Gavia arctica) and 1 Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) near the beach. 2 roadside Arctic Redpolls (Carduelis hornemanni) W Krampenes, one a splendid adult male! Shore Lark (Eremophila alpestris) with young on Storskog track. 15 Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) on Ekkeroy N shore + 1 Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus).

15th July :
cloudy, windy, sunny later.
A large Falcon in Ekkeröy colony at 9 am, 3 Brünnich's Guillemots (Uria lomvia) (!), 1 Stoat near quarry.,

16th July :
Fine but cool.
1 Peregrine (Falco peregrinus) + Rough-legged Buzzard (Buteo lagopus) on Ekkeröy, Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus) W Golnes and Vadsöya, 3 Little Stint (Calidris minuta) there, 180 Red-necked Phalaropes (Phalaropus lobatus), 22+ Ruff (Philomachus pugnax).

17th July :
Fine but cool.
Drive to Hamningberg with the Eidams. 1 Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus) near Kramvik, 12 King Eider (Somateria spectabilis) on Vardö W coast, + 2 Twite (Carduelis flavirostris), 1 Steller's Eider (Polysticta stelleri) in Svartnes harbour, 1 male King Eider (Somateria spectabilis) in Persfjord, + 2 White-tailed Eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla), 1 Gannet (Sula bassana), NO White-billed Divers (Gavia adamsii)!! Night near Svartnes, Snow Buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis) at midnight.

18th July :
Rain, no wind, fine after 6 pm.
A Temminck's stint (Calidris temminckii) family and 60 Long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis) at persfjord, 3 Twite (Carduelis flavirostris) and 1 King Eider (Somateria spectabilis) on Vardö W coast, several Brünnich's guillemot (Uria lomvia) in Harbour and off Vardö. 2 Steller's Eider (Polysticta stelleri) at Svartnes port, the only ones this year! Night at Vardö hotel.

19th July :
Sunny with clouds.
Shore Lark (Eremophila alpestris) on Domen, 8 King Eider (Somateria spectabilis) at Indre Kiberg bay + 4 Rough-legged Buzzards (Buteo lagopus) on track to Olskardvatnet. 1 Lapland Bunting (Calcarius lapponicus) and 13 Long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis) in the bay. 4+ Velvet Scoter (Melanitta fusca) + 40+ Common Scoter (Melanitta nigra) at Komagvaer, 2 White-tailed Eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) W Kvalneset, 2 Lapland Bunting (Calcarius lapponicus) and several Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) pairs on fjell plateau there.

20th July :
Sunny + clouds.
1 flying Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) on Ekkeröy, 4 Little Stint (Calidris minuta) near former breeding site, 2 Short-eared owls (Asio flammeus), 5 Lapland Bunting (Calcarius lapponicus), 15+ Red-necked phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) on E pond.

21st July
Rain, persistent, late evening fine.
I leave the Varanger area for Gamvik. On Ifordfjell between km 04/13 and 20: 3 Long-tailed Skua (Stercorarius longicaudus), Arctic Redpoll (Carduelis hornemanni), Temminck's Stint (Calidris temminckii). At Reinoksvatna 1 very confiding Ruff (Philomachus pugnax), 1 more Long-tailed Skua (Stercorarius longicaudus). North Lakselv
27 Common Seal at Stabbursnes Valdak Reserve/Porsangerfjord, 1 Siberian Jay (Perisoreus infaustus) in Pine forest.

22nd July
Drizzle in morning, fine late afternoon.
Pond S Garadakvatn road fork: 1 Smew (Mergus albellus) (as in 2000)! (E6/14/km 1). Hatter pass/NE Skaidi: 8 long-tailed Skuas (Stercorarius longicaudus)! Sennalandet 4 Lapland Buntings (Calcarius lapponicus). Visited 6000-year-old rock carvings at Alta, very impressive and well preserved, a real must! At km 17 S Alta: Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) family. Road 93/03/km19: 1 Scaup (Aythya marila). Aiddejavri, N Finnish border: 1 Merlin (Falco columbarius). Supper in Enontekiö. Night at Raattama mountain hotel car park with Siberian Jay (Perisoreus infaustus) and Siberian Tits (Parus cinctus).

23rd July
Sunny with clouds, a shower in Abisko.
Explore Pine and spruce forest W Raattama hotel site on Montell trail up to tree line. Many Bluethroats (Luscinia svecica). 1 Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus) in Spruce trees, more Siberian Jays (Perisoreus infaustus) and Siberian Tits (Parus cinctus). Several flocks of (mostly) Two-barred Crossbills (Loxia leucoptera), feeding on Birch! 2 very confiding Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus) on Pallastunturi road. Drive to Abisko in NW Sweden and on to Björnfjell at Norwegian border. Night in Youth hostel, Björkliden.

24th July
Rain, sunny afternoon + showers.
Ammarnäs visit and Whale watching trip to Vesteralen cancelled due to heavy rain.
10 km NE Moskosel , Piteälv bridge car park (N of the river!): 2 Rustic Buntings (Emberiza rustica)! Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) S Vilhelmina.

25th July
Sunny + heavy evening showers.
Common Crossbills (Loxia curvirostra) S Vilhelmina.
On the N90, 3 km N Forsvik, 2 roadside Crane (Grus grus) and 7+ Parrot Crossbills (Loxia pytyopsittacus)! 14 moulting Lesser white-fronted Geese (Anser erythropus) in Hudiksvall. Night near Uppsala.

26th July
Sun, showers. 11oo km drive to German-Danish border.
2 Whooper Swans (Cygnus cygnus) and 7 Crane (Grus grus) at Store Mosse Park.

27th July
Sunny with clouds. Quite warm.
German North-Sea coast south of Danish border:
Met my friend Nikolas Haass who showed me my first White-rumped Sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis) at Rickelsbüller Koog with a few Bearded Tits (Panurus biarmicus). A total of 5 Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus), several groups of Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta), many Curlew Sandpipers (Calidris ferruginea), 2 Marsh Sandpipers (Tringa stagnatilis) , Several Grey Plovers (Pluvialis squatarola) and Green Sandpipers (Tringa ochropus), but we dipped on the Broad-billed Sandpipers (Limicola falcinellus) seen in the area on the previous day. At Hauke-Haien-Koog 1 Richarsdon's Canada goose (Branta canadensis), 1 (ringed) Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis), 2 Snow Geese (Anser caerulescens), 1 Brent Goose (Branta bernicla), several White-fronted Geese (Anser albifrons) and many Barnacle Geese (Branta leucopsis) with lots of the craziest hybrid forms. God Knows which were NOT escapes! Night in Hamburg.

28th July
Sunny and very hot
Mad drive to Friesland/Holland. A Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Calidris acuminata) had been staying for 4 days at Ezumakeech/Lauwersmeer. We dipped on that one too, but there was a dazzling breeding plumage pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva) instead, another lifer on my last day! I also scored the only Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus) of the journey and 2 Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)! A tremendous curtain to my third Lapland trip! Thanks to all those who contributed!

Systematic List

This list is not complete. I left out Robins (Erithacus rubecula), Blackbirds (Turdus merula) (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 Pasvik + the Gednje - Batsfjord area.

White-billed Diver Gavia adamsii
1 unconfirmed sighting near N Ekkeroy. 3 were reported from Hamningberg, but search unsuccessful.

Gannet Sula bassana -
Some between Hamningberg and Nesseby.

Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo

Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis
Only recorded between Varangerfjord and Alta

Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus
Up to 16 at Store Mosse Kävsjön. Others near Petkula, Pasvik valley etc.

Canada goose
Common at Store Mosse and in the north of central and Baltic Sweden. 1 Richardson's type at Hauke-Haien-Koog/Germany. Escape?

Greylag Goose Anser anser
Common in Hudiksvall. Some at Store Mosse.

Bean Goose Anser fabalis f.
4 near small lake E Gednje/Batsfjordfjell.

White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons
A dozen in Hauke-Haien Koog/G, probably summering birds.

Lesser White-fronted goose Anser erythropus
9 in late June, 14, 4 of which were ringed in late July in Hudiksvall at their traditional moulting place.

Snow Goose
2 at Hauke-Haien Koog/ German North Sea coast. Escapes?

Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
Up to 35 at Nesseby.

Wigeon Anas penelope
A family on Vadsöya. Many in Norther Germany and Holland.

Teal Anas crecca
1-2 at several sites

Pochard Aythya ferina
Singles south of Polar Circle.

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
1-10 at widespread localities

Scaup Aythya farina
1 S of Alta, road 93/03/km19

King Eider Somateria spectabilis
Adult males in eclipse plumage between Persfjorden/Vardö and Krampenes. Up to 30 fem. + imm. On Vardö W coast.

Eider Somateria mollissima
Common on the coast. Large shoals between Hamningberg and Vardö.

Steller's Eider Polysticta stelleri
Only recorded 2 in Svartnes harbour.

Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis
Up to 16 between Batsfjord and Syltefjord, Kongsfjordfjellet pass., females with chicks near Persfjord and Golnes. Up to 130 between Persfjord and Hamningberg.

Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca
Only in the Varangerfjord area: 4 near Komagvaer.

Common Scoter Melanitta nigra
Up to 40 in Varanger area, Komagvaer and Persfjord.

Goldeneye Bucephala clangula
Fairly common and widespread..

Smew Mergus albellus
1 south of Ytre Gadarak , Porsanger Fjord is the only record.

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
2nd commonest raptor in the north, from Hamningberg to Krampenes;  nest with 2 juv. near Vardö !

Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus
Several at Store Mosse

Montagu's Harrier - Circus pygargus
5 in German-Danish border area.

Hen Harrier - Circus cyaneus
1 in Ezumakeech/Lauwersmeer/Holland.

Buzzard Buteo buteo
Not recorded north of the Arctic Circle.

Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo lagopus
Very common this year; More than 40 birds recorded. Mainly along Varanger fjord.

Merlin Falco columbarius
Few roadside birds; Karlebotn, Austertana/N, Pudasjärvi/F, Norw-Finn border,

Peregrine - Falco peregrinus
A young female regularly on Ekkeroy colony and Skallneset, another on Ramnfjellet W Neiden.

Gyr Falcon Falco rustcolis
The Tana valley pair had not bred at the usual site, disturbed by many birders. One bird at Ekkeröy colony. Some people might have misidentified the large young female Peregrine.

Willow Grouse Lagopus lagopus
Many pairs and large families in Pasvik valley, Golnes plateau, roadside birds near Skallneset, on Pallastunturi road and elsewhere.

Capercaillie Tetrao urogallus
Daniel N. saw 1 female with chicks on the Pasvik National Park track,

Crane Grus grus
Up to 11 at Store Mosse, 2 in Pasvik and S Vilhelmina, otherwise rare.

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
Up to 30 in the Varangerfjord area and elsewhere on the coast.

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula

Dotterel Charadrius morinellus
None on Oarduvarri/Batsfjorfjellet but 5 females + 4 breeding males + 1 chick in the same area (study area, precise location withheld).

Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria
Common in bogs and heather from Store Mosse up N

Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva
One ad. at Ezumakeech/Lauwerszee in N Holland./Friesland.

Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
At widespread localities south of the Arctic Circle.

Temminck's Stint Calidris Temminckii
Several localities : Vadsoya, Syltefj.-Batsfjord road, Hamningberg road, Tana valley. 

Little Stint Calidris minuta
One pair on Vadsöya pond, 4 near former breeding site on Ekkeröy N coast.

White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis
One at Rickelsbüller Koog near German-Danish North Sea coast border.

Dunlin Calidris alpina
Only a few in the Varangerfjord area. Breeds on fjell plateaus (Golnes, Skallelv, Hamningberg..)

Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima
Only seen by U.Eidam on Ekkeröy after my departure..

Ruff Philomachus pugnax
Not very common, north of the Arctic Circle, in the Varangerfjord area (22 on Vadsoya, a few on Ekkeroya...)

Woodcock Scolopax rusticola
Several pairs, mainly in Sweden.

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
Only recorded in the Varanger area, with a max of 50 at Nesseby. Breeds near Golnes and Skallelv.

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Small numbers seen at widespread localities, mainly fjell plateaus (Skallelv, Komagvaer.)

Curlew Numenius arquata
Widespread but not common.

Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
Only two breeding sites in Pasvik: S Noatun marsh and SW Ryeng track.

Redshank Tringa totanus
Up to 20 in the Varangerfjord area

Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Only in Pasvik valley.

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
Breeds in bogs at many localities.

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
1-2 at widespread localities.

Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Up to 4 in the Varangerfjord and Batsjord area; Commoner than last year. Breeds W Skallelv, Skallneset, Golnes, Hamningberg area, ..

Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus
Recorded only in the Varangerfjord area, where max of 180 on a pool at Vadsoya, 15 on Ekkeroy E pond and N shore.

Black-winged Stilt himantopus himantopus
2 at Ezumakeech/Lauwersmeer/Holland

Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus
Common in the Batsfjord/Varangerfjord area. (Skallelv, Krampenes plateaus...)

Long-tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus 
Best places : Kongsfjord- and Batsfjordfjellet with up to 8 on Ifjordfjell; Food problems: there being no mountain lemmings.

Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus
One dark phase off Ekkeröy, being chased by arctic Skuas, the difference in size and wing-beats was evident.

Little Gull Larus minutus
Only in Pasvik (near Svanvik), near Ranea/S and Nesseby.

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
Recorded almost daily in suitable places.

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.

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
1 in Justusranta (Martinselkonen Brown Bear site), feeding on fish offal in forest! Otherwise uncommon and coastal.

Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus
1suspicious-looking bird in Batsfjord  harbour. Very pale outer primaries, typical pink/black beak. But size and proportions not entirely correct. Maybe another Herring gull hybrid. 2 of the same type on Vardö.

Great Black-backed Gull  Larus marinus

Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla
Large numbers in the Varangerfjord area. Big colonies on Ekkeroy and Hornöya.

Sabine's Gull Larus sabini
Had been seen E Nesseby with Kittiwakes. Search unsuccessful.

Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Small numbers at widespread localities south of the Arctic Circle. 1 at Nesseby!

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.

Brunnich's Guillemot
2-3 in the harbour of Vardo, 3 off Ekkeröy. Colonies on Hornoya/Vardö

Razorbill Alca torda
Common in the Vardö area.

Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle
Varangerfjord area, with most birds seen at Vardo and Store Ekkeroya.

Puffin Fratercula arctica
Common at Vardo , one at Ekkeoy, a few off Nesseby.

Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus
Common and widespread south of the Arctic Circle.

Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
1-4 were seen at widespread localities (Martinselkonen!), though not recorded in the extreme north.

Snowy Owl Nyctea scandiaca
One unconfirmed bird reported to be preying on Kittiwakes at Ekkeröy.

Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus
Pairs E Nesseby and on Ekkeröy. 1 at Ferdesmyra /Neiden and near Noatun/Pasvik.

Great Grey Owl Strix nebulosa
Daniel N. saw one cross the road at km 33.5 n of Vaggatem

Hawk Owl Surnia Ulula
Daniel N. saw one feeding 2 young near Steinbakk/Pasvik

Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides tridactylus
One W Raattama in Pallastunturi park.

Skylark Alauda arvensis
Small numbers at scattered sites up to the Arctic Ocean (Ekkeröy).

Shore Lark - E.alpestris flava
Much more common than last year.
Pair with nest on track W Krampenes (with juv.), others on Batsfjordfjell, Kramvik, Vadsö fjell,  etc.

Swallow Hirundo rustica
Recorded almost daily.

Swift -Apus apus  Mauersegler
Saw the first birds N of Arctic Circle near border S Kautokeino !

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
Less common than last year.
Most recorded in the Varangerfjord area, best places : Ekkeroya + Vadsoya, Batsfjord road.

Rock pipit Anthus petrosus
Uncommon, on Ekkeröy and in similar maritime habitats.

Yellow Wagtail Motocilla flava
1-4 in widespread localities, often funny forest habitats (Pasvik Valley.)

White Wagtail Motocilla alba
1-6 recorded in many localities,

Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus
More common than last year; in wet and dry woodland : up to 6 from Utsjoki and Alta to Neiden and Pasvik.

Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
Only in woodland (central Sweden)

Bluethroat Luscinia svecica
Common, even in very  short tundra vegetation

Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
1-3 were recorded in a number of woodlands by the Arctic circle

Red-flanked Bluetail tarsinger cyanurus
A pair feeding chicks near Valtavaara-Kontainen car park.

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
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; they imitate Scarlet Rosefinches near Krampenes!

Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Several in Varanger area (Nesseby/Varanger) !

Garden Warbler Sylvia borin
Some recorded at scattered sites e.g.Neiden church!

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
Recorded almost daily.

Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis
Daniel N. saw one sing by the river at Noatun cottages. One had been seen and heard at Neiden churchyard but search unsuccessful.

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
1-2 in a few widely scattered localities, even near Neiden/Varangerfjord.

Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca
Not very common this year.

Bearded Tit Panurus biarmicus
Families just S of the German-Danish border/Rickelsbüller Koog.

Siberian Tit Parus cinctus
Several families in Pasvik valley, Raattamaa mountain hotel car park and Montell trail.

Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor
Most in Pasvik valley.

Siberian Jay Perisoreus infaustus
Some groups or individuals, mostly in Pasvik valley, Pallastunuturi park and Stabbursdalen pine forest.  This species is quite approachable.

Magpie Pica pica
Recorded almost daily.

Jackdaw Corvus mondeula
Only recorded S polar Circle, 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, e.g. Krampenes and Batsfjord.

Siskin Carduelis spinus
Noted mainly in woodland sites S arctic Circle

Twite -Carduelis flavirostris -
One family at Batsfjord harbour and 1 on Vardö. A few near Hamningberg.

Redpoll Carduelis flammea
Small numbers at widespread sites, mainly birch woodland.

Arctic Redpoll Carduelis hornemanni
1 second cal.y. on Vardö W coast and 2 adults W Krampenes  were our only sure records. Species not always easy to identify.

Parrot Crossbill -  Loxia pytyopsittacus
1 family S Vilhelmina, 3 km N Forsvik.

Two-barred Crossbill - Loxia leucoptera.
2 flocks on Montell trail W Raattumaa/Pallastunturi. Easy to identify through distinctive call "plitt plitt".

Lapland Bunting Calcarius lapponicus
Not very common this year; on tundra from Batsfjordfjell to Ekkeröy..

Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis
Recorded only on high ground or marine tundra in the Syltefjord/ Batsfjord/Varangerfjord area and on Vardö where up to 6 were noted. None on Ekkeröy.

Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
Recorded at widespread localities south of the Arctic Circle.

Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus
Noted at widely scattered localities e.g. Pasvik.

Rustic Bunting Emberiza rustica
3+ at Valtavaara-Kontainen car park, 2 N Piteälven bridge near Moskosel/S.

Mammals :

Elk/ Moose - Alces alces
One male and one female at Store Mosse Kittlakull watchtower, the only place where I had Elk repeatedly. 15 Elk in all, from S Sweden to Batsfjord tundra (3) and Pasvik valley.

Roe deer - Capreolus capreolus
Common at Store Mosse

Reindeer - Rangifer tarandus
Everywhere from Vilhelmina to Hamningberg

Red fox  - Vulpes vulpes
Many between Pasvik and Hamningberg

Arctic fox - Alopex Lagopus
Rare but according to Ammarnäs Field Station workers still present at Ammarnäs /Vindelfjällen.

Brown Bear - Ursus arctos
Norwegian Border guards saw one in Pasvik near Noatun (from Lyngmo road).
At least 12 different bears at Martinselkonen Reserve.(Suomossalmi community)/F.

Badger - Meles meles
Many road victims in S and central Sweden.

Stoat Mustela erminea
One at Ekkeröy quarry.

Blue hare - Lepus timidus (Schneehase, Lièvre variable) :
Few; most in Pasvik valley.

Common Seal Phoca vitulina
At least 27 at Stabbursnes Valdak Marshes

Grey Seal - Halichoerus grypus
Several near Persfjord/ Hamningberg, 

Vole/ Mouse/ Lemming sp. : widespread, even more numerous than last year, except Norway Lemming.
According to S.Wikan in Svanvik the spring counts of 4 species in Pasvik valley were the best since 1997.

Muskrat Ondathra zibeticus
One near Skogli in Pasvik. Km 05/12.2

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

As usual at this time of the year quite a lot of birders are visiting Pasvik and the Varanger Peninsula in Finnmark, North Norway. This year the rodent populations are high up there, and plenty of Rough-legged Buzzards and Short-eared Owls are found along the road, Short-eared Owl in largest numbers on the Varanger Peninsula. Hawk Owl has bred several places in the area, and Great Grey Owl has been reported at least twice during the last few days. We hope visiting birders understand that we can't give any locations for the latter two species. So far only one site for Arctic Warbler has been found, and no Little Buntings have been found despite searching by several teams. In Pasvik, numbers seems to be above the average for Waxwing and at least 5-6 Broad Billed Sandpiper, 3-4 Jack Snipe, 15-20 Siberian Jays, around 50 Siberian Tits, 3 Three-toed Woodpeckers, 2 juvenile Two-barred Crossbills, 2 Pine Grosbeaks, good numbers of Capercaillie and lots of Little Gulls have been reported there since the 1st July. At Varanger, surprisingly few Steller's Eiders are summering this year. The only more or less reliable bird has been a first-summer male that frequents the area close to the harbour at Ytre Kiberg, though a few other birds are also in the area but hard to find. The best spot for King Eiders at the moment seems to be on the inside of the island where Vardö town is situated, a flock of 33 mainly second-year birds were present at least on the 1st-2nd and around 10 more birds have been reported scattered around. Also reported during the last week were ca. 5 Glaucous Gulls, a few Glaucous x Herring Hybrids, one Golden Eagle, lots of White-tailed Eagles, Gyrfalcon, and a single Snowy Owl (around 10 days ago). As usual lots of Red-throated Pipits around, and Arctic Redpolls are not difficult to find (Sandfjorden a few kiometers east of Hamningberg is a good place to look for AR). Long-tailed Skuas may be easier to find along some of the gravel side-tracks to the main road that give access a few kilometer inland. Flocks of up to 17 birds have been seen a week ago. These side-tracks can also be good for Shore Lark and Ptarmigan.

A Birding Norway trip to Pasvik and the Varanger Peninsula on the 29th June- 4th July logged species such as Common Crane (2), White-tailed Eagle (6), Osprey, Taiga Bean Goose (7), King Eider (33), Steller's Eider, Smew (4), Spotted Redshank, Jack Snipe, Red-necked Phalarope (300+), Long-tailed Skua, Little Gull (30), Glaucous Gull, Brünnich's Guillemot (lots), Hawk Owl (2), Short-eared Owl (ca. 8), Shore lark, Red-throated Pipit (lots), Arctic Warbler, Siberian Tit (8-10), Waxwing (10-15), Great Grey Shrike (2), Siberian Jay (3), Arctic Redpoll (2) and Two-barred Crossbill (2) . Only one day was spent in Pasvik.


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