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Great grey, brown and white Owls.,
4th journey from S Sweden to the Barents Sea - July 2003
Lutz Lücker 5, Fort-L'Ecluse - CH-1213 Pt.-Lancy/Geneva / Switzerland
Introduction (same as in 2002):
By car from Geneva. Petrol less expensive in Finland, most expensive in
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..
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 200 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, a red one may not be tarmaced.
Daily route, weather and highlights
I had only one day with persistent drizzle, otherwise only a few, sometimes heavy showers and lots of days without a single drop. Above all, there were only few mosquitoes in Arctic Scandinavia this year, not more than in central European wetlands!
I spent most nights camping rough or in the car, except for the last 12 nights in T.Kristoffersen's house on Store Ekkeroya. I am very much indebted to him.
My main target species was Great Grey Owl; I managed to see it on the third day; the rest I considered as a bonus!
It was a little too late for passerines so I did not go to the Pasvik valley this year, preferring to explore a high tundra plateau more thoroughly. One cannot do everything at the same time. Distances are just too far in the Arctic!
I will include a few observations made by my German friends Uli Eidam and Karl-Heinz Heyne, as well as by my French friends Marc Crouzier and Francis Desjardins. Many thanks to all as well as to Bo Fagerström and Ove Stefansson, for their help!
Arrival at Store Mosse National Park. 1 Whooper Swan, 6 Crane, displaying Snipe, 1 Osprey. 9 roadside cranes S of Hillerstorp, 2 more near Mjölby. Sunny + showers. The usual Arctic Divers by Högbäcka car park N of Gävle, 25 km S of Hudiksvall 2 Whooper Swans.
29th June :
16 Lesser White-fronted Geese at the traditional moulting site in Hudiksvall. I stayed at Bo Fagerström's, a doctor I had met 15 years ago back home near Geneva. Cool, windy and rain showers. Fair later.
30th June :
Arrived in Boden early morning. A singing Rustic Bunting near Holstvatnet (Klarträsk)/Ljusa and Little Gulls on the river. 1 female Elk by the road near Kvarnbo. Afternoon at Ove Stefansson's, the Swedish specialist for Great Grey Owls. He led me to an enormous Goshawk nest with 2 young owls (still too little to jump) and the big Female watching us from a distance of 40 yards. A great, magical moment. The male must have been close because the female and the chicks started begging but it was impossible to get a glimpse of this stealth vagabond of the Northern Forest. First Bohemian waxwings and Red-backed Shrikes. As there was time left, we drove 40 km to check on some Ural owl chicks that had jumped from their nest box a few days ago. After a long search we found one 500 yards further on with both his parents at close range. but no, they did NOT attack! An unforgettable evening without a single cloud !
On to Kemi, then,10 km W of Pudasjärvi, the first female Capercaillie with 3 chicks. Another female elk near Ranea. Next stops: Peranka, Juntusranta. Just before Martinselkonen Brown Bear Reserve, a female Blackcock with her chicks. Everything worked according to schedule! I arrived just in time at the Wilderness Centre, 1 km from the Russian border, Lunch at 15.00 h, departure at 16.oo h. After 20 min. drive and 30 min. walk through dense spruce forest, we (9 people) arrived at 2 log cabins for up to twelve (reclining seats, beds for 6, toilet.), and a few moments later the first Brown Bears arrived to feed on fish offal. More and more arrived (up to 5 simultaneously) until a 300-kilo alpha male chased them briefly away. But there were no skirmishes or open conflicts. One rare bird for Northern Finland: a Black Kite! Heard a male Willow Grouse call. Since it never got really dark, video filming was possible all night. The last bear vanished at 6 am and we could retreat for a copious breakfast. According to our guide we had seen at LEAST 10 different bears! Spent all morning in bed. Cost: all in all 170 Euros. More details from www.finnature.com!
Kuusamo (14 Smew from Bird tower at SW edge of Toranki Lake), Ruka, Virkkula road, Kontainen and Valtavaara hills. 2 p.m., too windy, no birds. Went via Sondankylä to Petkula bog. The usual 2 Whooper Swans and Curlew at the car park, the first flock of 10 Wood Sandpipers and a Willow Grouse family S of the crossroads near the bird tower. Waited until 10.30 p.m., then used car tape recorder to lure the elusive Broad-billed Sandpiper.and it worked! Two displaying males flew just over my head several times. Splendid! Hadn`t seen any for more than 30 years! Night in Sompio Nature Reserve with a male Willow grouse and 3 chicks by the car park.
3rd July :
1 female Capercaillie in Sompio park. Arrived at 7 a.m. on top of Kaunispää Hill. Wanted to have breakfast 100 yds. from the Skier's restaurant. Difficult job because there was a family of about a dozen Willow Grouse on the one side of the car and a male Dotterel with 3 chicks on the other!!! No Gyrfalcons at the Kevo National park site; just a calling Merlin, a Rough-legged Buzzard and (the only) Siberian Jay. Two young Gyrfalcons at the Tana Valley site, fed by an adult, probably the male at 7.30 p.m. . (Both sites have been repeatedly published on the Internet; I do not want to contribute to the birds' fame..) Beautiful morning but fresh and overcast later. Night in car.
4th July :
Uneventful rainy day spent in car reading. Only one Gyrfalcon feeding scene at 9.10 a.m. Met F.Desjardins who had seen a Hawk Owl twice, 19 kms north of Tana (eastern riverside). Another had been seen on the western side at km 29. I dipped on both repeatedly. (Cool, cloudy + rainy)
A 1000+ Goosanders and Mergansers at Hoyholmen (Tana mouth). First 3 Temminck's stints, 1 imm. White-tailed Eagle on the sand banks.
Another Rough-legged Buzzard near Gednje (on Batsfjord road), 8 Long-tailed duck at Gednje crossroads, first Snow Buntings! There were lots of rodents on the Varanger coast this year (except Mountain Lemming.), but not on the high plateaus.
Went to see my friend S.Kraatz's study area in the Gednje area. Spotted 1 Dotterel immediately. Later, 2 females and 1 male were feeding simultaneously; the male then disappeared. The females spent a lot of time calling and flying around. Overcast, cool.
Worst day of my 5-weeks' stay. Cold, windy and drizzly. Found a pair of Willow Grouse in this universe of only inch-high vegetation with NO scrub or dwarf bushes anywhere. Discovered a male dotterel with 3 chicks at 9.30 a.m. but had to watch them from a distance because of the cold. Brooding periods 4-5 times longer than feeding. First long-tailed Skua. Night in Havly Hotel in Batsfjord.
Spent rainy morning writing e-mails at Fywillighetscentren in Batsfjord (small fee). First Steller's Eider at river mouth, a flock of Twite near the harbour with the usual whitish-winged Herring Gulls (Glaucous x Herring hybrids?).
Back to Gednje area to see what was happening in the study area I had followed since July 2000.
Huge Snowdrifts on the mountain slopes and large ice floes on one lake. Summer had not started yet, it seemed. After a short walk, a nice surprise: immediately I caught sight of 3 female Dotterels that disappeared in the scree. Spent an hour or so looking for them on the vast, wet mountainside when I flushed.. this beautiful immature male.. SNOWY Owl!!! I remembered that someone had seen this species not far away in 2002. Spent whole afternoon and evening watching the big bird. It hunted very little and did not catch anything. I systematically looked for pellets around its perches (some of which were used repeatedly) but found none. First Shore larks, Lapland Buntings, Dunlins, Turnstones, Long-tailed and Arctic Skuas, Golden Plovers and a male ptarmigan (half a mile from the nearest snow drift), a very curious but elusive Purple Sandpiper. Afternoon dry, evening sunny with showers, night in car.
Lots of Dotterels this morning: 3 individual females, a flock of 3. and a wandering male who seemed to be so intrigued by my appearance that I suspected he was having a problem. Sure enough, after 10 min. he squatted on his clutch, less than 100 yds from the spot where I had found my first nest in 2000, again just a few feet from a derelict reindeer fence.
The Snowy owl was sitting on the same rock as it had been on when I had gone to sleep! It seemed to have a very small range of action and lots of long-standing habits so it was easy to find in mornings and evenings. But it was invisible once the weather got hot.
The place could be as still as an empty recording studio when the wind died down and the mosquitoes had not yet realized their luck. Not a sound except the blood in your veins! But I counted no less than 26 species within a few days in a 3-sq.mile area at an altitude of approx. 400 m a.s.l.! Besides the ubiquitous Ringed Plovers, there were Herring Gulls, White Wagtails, Redwings, Redpolls, Wheatears, Raven, a Red-throated Pipit and even a White-tailed Eagle that had followed a Salmon river to its source and descended another one on the other side of the pass. Sunny but cool. Night camping rough.
When checking on "my" breeding Dotterel I spotted another (adult male) Snowy Owl about ¾ mile west to the nest. I had just left "my" imm. Snowy Owl ¾ mile to the east! When the Owl disappeared after some time in the opposite direction I walked back to "my" owl and found it 50 yds from where I had left it 45 mins. before. So there WAS another owl here! And perhaps there had been a breeding pair in 2002 or 2001! Sadly, in spite of miles of search walks I never found the adult owl again!
Went back to the lake at km 3.5 east of Gednje. 3 Long-tailed Skuas, one of which seemed to be breeding. I managed to get as close as 7 ft. . but there were no eggs! Those birds just like to lie down when they rest. More singing Lapland Buntings, Shore larks and Red-throated Pipits.
Drove back to the Tana valley to check on the Gyrfalcons. Sure enough, the young birds had left the eyrie and were difficult to find in the cliffs, not always sitting on the edge.
Sunny and cool on the Fjell, hot by the river, lots of small flies and big gnats, insect-eating Skuas at 9.50 p.m.!
Back to the Gyrfalcon site. The juveniles have moved half a mile down south and are more difficult to see. One adult perches on the edge of the cliff and has a long nap. I meet a French family of five, the Crouziers. They had been looking for the falcons at the wrong spot and are happy to be told where to look. As they are also heading for the Kongsfjord-Batsfjord area I offer to show the children a Dotterel. On the way up we see Rough-legged Buzzard, a family of 7 Long-tailed duck and 2 Scaup, as well as a lost Greater Black-backed Gull. We find the Dotterel all right and then -surprise (because I had not told them anything) - there it is, Harry Potter's Bird, the legendary Snowy Owl. Sometimes it is nice to see so many happy faces. It is of course out of the question to sleep elsewhere! (Cloudy and fresh/ morning, sunny and warm/ evening..)
The Crouziers are leaving and I stay to look for more Snowy Owls.to no avail. More long-tailed skuas and a Common Gull. Drive to Berlevag. 5 male Scaup 1 km N Gednje, Sunny but very windy and fresh on coast. No mosquitoes!
Still both juvenile Gyrfalcons in Tana valley. Meet R.Förster from Germany who is in a hurry to do some backpacking in Swedish no-man's land. Find a roadside nest of a Red-throated Diver W of Gednje. Arrive at Nesseby/Varangerfjord. Dip on 2 ad.Sabine's Gulls and a White-billed Diver but find a flock of 20 Steller's Eider; 10 times more than last year! Sunny and warm, rain late evening.
80 odd Red-necked phalaropes on Vadsoya's big pond, with 2 Little stints (breeding, according to M.Crouzier). A Ruff tries to mislead me faking a broken wing. No Steller's at Salttjern this year but a White-tailed Eagle on a pole and an Arctic Redpoll in the Willow scrubs. A juvenile Great Northern diver between Golnes and Ekkeroy, more eagles. At least 6 Black-throated Divers between Krampenes and Skallneset (no Snowy owls there.), Rough-legged Buzzard at nesting site, and at least 9 fem. King Eider. One more at Indre Kiberg with 4 Long-tailed duck and 5 Common Scoter.
Another Arctic Redpoll and a Sedge Warbler in Kramvik. Further on, a juv. White-tailed Eagle on the old eyrie with its parents close by. Night in view of the eagles' nest.(Sunny and warm.)
Lots of Redpoll at Indre Kiberg with one Arctic Redpoll. 1 more Rough-legged buzzard. I drive on and pass Vardö; a Skylark near Persfjord is a surprise. 2 more eagles on the rocky beaches. One perches obligingly near the car. Since it is not too hot, the photos are great! 7 King Eider (young m. and fem.), 30 odd Long-tailed ducks. Before arriving in Hamningberg it gets very windy; I see 25 gannets and 3 Fulmars, one "Blue"-phased bird. In H., 25 more Fulmars, 2 more eagles and 8 Brünnich's Guillemots that fly home to the Syltefjord colony. Back to Skallelv where I count a 100 odd Common Scoters, and in the bays of Ekkeroy 4 Red-throated divers, 6 more Black-throated divers and the imm. Great Northern. Sunny, fresh + windy)
4 King Eiders, 10 Black-throated Divers and 1 swimming Fulmar between Ekkeroy and Krampenes. ( First fair, then rain.)
15 Bar-tailed Godwits, 1 Steller's Eider and Lapland Bunting on Ekkeroy. Fog arrives. Drive to Nesseby, expecting to see sea birds. Only 2 Gannets and 4 Fulmars (1 "blue" phase), as well as 14 Steller's Eiders. (Fair, then foggy, drizzle + rain later..)
Several eagles at Mortensnes and Salttjern. One Little Stint on Vadsoya with 3 Sand Martins. Cloudy, fresh, showers.
3 eagles between Krampenes km 11 and Salttjern. On Storskog plateau (N Krampenes)1 Arctic Redpoll, Lapland Bunting, Shore lark, Golden Plover and Whimbrel families. I learn the strange call of a flock of 5 Common scoter on the lake. No Snowy Owls! A nearly fully fledged but still downy juv. Dunlin on Ekkeroy where I meet the Alber family from Brittany. (Fair, moderate wind, fresh.)
Back to Hamningberg with the Albers. We see a few porpoise (Schweinswal, Marsouin) near Skallneset and a family of Twite at Kramvik. A colour-ringed Temminck's Stint (Left: white+ white, right: green+aluminium) under a bridge after Persfjord. In H., more gannets, 1 Brünnich's Guillemot, 16 King Eiders (west beach) and 2 young foxes at midnight on the artillery hill.
Perfect weather so we stay there!
1 Twite at the schoolhouse in the morning. We drive down a narrow track from Sandfjord to Syltevikmyra bog and lake but no uncommon birds there. Picnic at Finnvik with 3 King Eiders, 1 eagle, 1 Rough-legged Buzzard that starts alarming because of what must have been a Gyrfalcon. Alas! We only see the bird for a split second. Another eagle at Persfjord. They ARE REALLY EVERYWHERE! The Albers leave towards Tana and I stay, waiting for my friend U.Eidam to arrive at Ekkeroy. First night in a bed since Batsfjord...! (Fair, then thundery but no rain..)
Shopping in Vadsö. 1 Arctic Hare (Schneehase/ Lièvre variable) on Vadsoya. The first 3 migrating Spotted redshanks. One obliging Long-tailed Skua N Krampenes in valley on sea-level. Fem. Common Scoter at Storskog with 7 chicks. 1 Bar-tailed Godwit up there. We have to move to another, much nicer house on the beach. Thanks, Tor! (Sunny, then overcast.)
Same weather, lazy day with a good read..
100 mile journey to the Tundra plateaus. Rough-legged Buzzards near Nesseby and Vestre-Jakobselv. We have a surprising Common redstart in Tana Bru. The 2 juv. Gyrfalcons are sitting on a large sand bank in the Tana river, visibly suffering from the heat. On the Fjell, we have 2 fem. Ptarmigan, 1 with aprox.8 chicks. "My" Dotterel is still on his clutch and the Purple Sandpiper still at the usual spot. We also spot 3 Ruffs/Reeve, find a Pintail with chicks and another Long-tailed Skua. And the Snowy Owl is still only a few yards from one of its favourite perches..On our way home we see Red-throated Divers with chicks near Gednje, 2 Scaup, and a Merlin near Harrelv/Tana on a pole. Last midnight sun of our stay over the Tana river. (Warm, sunny, 1 heavy shower/ afternoon..)
Lazy day on the beach. Sunny and warm, the odd shower...
Rainy morning. Still 1 Fulmar at Krampenes , first Curlew sandpiper and Sanderlings on Ekkeroy.
We decide to have another go at divers. We find 4 Scaup at Skallelv, and 1 Eagle and 3 Velvet Scoter by km 2,5, with 3 imm. White-billed Divers and 5 Spotted redshank. Near Komagvaer, 2 more eagles, 30 Long-tailed Duck and 1 more ad. + 1 imm. White-billed Diver! A sixth one by the café where we can eat as much fresh Salmon as we want for a modest 50 nkr! 1 km east , there is imm. White-Billed Diver no.7 !- At Indre Kiberg we explore the lake on the plateau. Rough-legged buzzard, Long-tailed Skua, but no Snowy Owls.. And W of Kramvik, we spot imm. WBD no.8! E of Krampenes, both EAGLES are asleep on a twin high voltage pole; we can drive up to it at less than 100 yds.! And see 3 more Long-tailed Skuas on sea level.
(Cool, cloudy, showers..)
There they are: the first 8 migrating Purple Sandpipers on Ekkeroy! Because of the strong wind, we go sea-watching to Skallneset. And there is some reward: 1 Gannet, 1 Brünnich's Guillemot, 5 Fulmars. and , surprise, our first little Auk! (K.H.Heyne had 10 more the next day at Nesseby!) (Sunny, cool, windy.)
3 more Purple Sandpipers at Salttjern, 5 Sanderlings and 18 Bar-tailed Godwits at Ekkeroy beach. (Sunny, thundery showers.)
We drive to Ivalo to fetch my friend's wife at the airport. Between Karlebotn and Neiden we find a pair of Golden Eagles with a juvenile begging somewhere on the mountain. They are attacked by a Kestrel. I had already seen one Eagle here in 2000. One Rough-legged Buzzard here, another near Ferdesmyra, km8.5.
Coming back from Ivalo, a family of Common Scoter at km 30, some 60 km SW of Utsjoki. 2 Short-eared Owls, one at Polmak (west bank), one at Seida. A Merlin at km 40 N of Tana Bru. Long-tailed Skua at Gednjejavri. We arrive on the High Tundra fjell after 10 p.m. Sure enough, the Snowy Owl is still there.. And even our Dotterel is still on his nest. One chick 2 feet away, another with egg no.3 in the nest. This clutch must have been laid when the first chicks in S.Kraatz's study area had already hatched! 9 Reeve and 1 Ptarmigan in the same spot. We arrive on Ekkeroy at sunrise. The White-tailed Eagle we had seen at Salttjern on the previous morning is still there. (Sunny, sometimes cloudy, very cool on the Fjell, ..)
Just a few Sanderlings and Purple Sandpipers. (Cool, foggy, then sunny.)
Long drive along the Varanger coast. 2 Willow Grouse families near Skallneset colony, one with 2 small, the other with 10 big chicks! King Eider and probably Norway's northernmost Greenfinch family at Skallelv. Still 1 imm. White-billed Diver at Kramvik, as well as 2 Eagles. 2 more imm. White-billed divers at Persfjord. 8 King Eiders and 2 Steller's Eiders at Hamningberg west beach. Gannets and a few auks by the harbour. (Fog, sun, cool.)
Hot and calm. The perfect weather for a swim in the Barents Sea! 40 Sanderlings on Ekkeroy!
I have to leave Norway, can't help it! See a Great Grey Shrike on Petkula bog/FI. The road from Sodänkylä to Pello/FI has 50 kms of unsurfaced track. Beware if you are in a hurry! But lots of nice (empty) habitats! (Fair, windy, heavy rain at night.)
Another Short-eared owl by the river N of Övertornea /SWE. And a roadside Three-toed Woodpecker on a dead tree W of the same town. A Black-necked Diver flyby near lake E of Posjärv/SWE. First Honey Buzzard near Kalix, 2 or 3 Caspian Terns over the Baltic Sea 1 km from Trafikplats Västerbotten filling station. (Fair, 1 diluvian, thundery shower..)
Some Cranes wake me to another beautiful day S of Storvik/Avesta/SWE. I leave Sweden in late afternoon. When shall I be back???
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, the Fjell between Tana and Batsfjord. etc ...
Black-throated Diver Gavia arctica
Several pairs: from Hudiksvall to the Gednje - Batsfjord area.
White-billed Diver Gavia adamsii
Unconfirmed sightings near N Ekkeroy and Nesseby. Up to 8 between Skallelv and Kramvik.
Great Northern Diver Gavia immer
One ad. E of Ekkeroy, 1 imm. near Golnes harbour.
Manx Shearwater - Puffinus puffinus
A few, seen in Nesseby and Skallneset by U.Eidam and K.H.Heyne in late July/early Aug.
Gannet Sula bassana -
Some between Hamningberg and Vardö.
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis
Only recorded on Varangerfjord, most near Vardö.
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus
1 seen at Store Mosse Kävsjön. 2 more pairs near Hudiksvall and Petkula.
Common at Store Mosse and in the north of central and Baltic Sweden.
Greylag Goose Anser anser
Common in Hudiksvall. Some at Store Mosse.
Bean Goose Anser fabalis f.
Lesser White-fronted goose Anser erythropus
16 in late June in Hudiksvall at their traditional moulting place.
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
Up to 30 at Nesseby.
Wigeon Anas penelope
A family on Vadsöya.
Pintail Anas acuta
A fem. with chicks on Batsfjordfjell, km 13
Teal Anas crecca
1-2 at several sites (Nesseby.)
Pochard Aythya ferina
Singles south of Polar Circle.
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
1-10 at widespread localities
Scaup Aythya farina
Only near Gednje, up to 5, no chicks.
King Eider Somateria spectabilis
Adult male in eclipse plumage in Persfjord with 10 fem. + imm.males. Up to 15 on Hamningberg west beach. Single birds or small groups elsewhere (Ekkeroy, Krampenes.)
Eider Somateria mollissima
Common on the coast. Large shoals between Hamningberg and Vardö.
Steller's Eider Polysticta stelleri
Up to 20 at Nesseby church and river mouth. Single birds at Ekkeroy, Hamningberg..
Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis
Up to 10 between Batsfjord and Kongsfjordfjellet pass., female with chicks near Gednje. Groups of up to 30 near Komagvaer or between Persfjord and Hamningberg.
Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca
Only in the Varangerfjord area: 3 near Skallelv.
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra
Up to 100 in Varanger area, Skallelv and Indre Kiberg. Breeds on Storskog/Krampenes and S Utsjoki.
Goldeneye Bucephala clangula
Fairly common and widespread..
Smew Mergus albellus
14 on Toranki Lake/Kuusamo 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, at least 7 territories from Hamningberg to Salttjern; nest with 1 juv. near Vardö !
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; Kevo Park/FI, Harrelv/Tana, Austertana.
Peregrine - Falco peregrinus
Gyr Falcon Falco rustcolis
The Tana valley pair had bred at the usual site. No birds at Ekkeröy colony. 1 short glimpse at Finnvik/Hamningberg.
Willow Grouse Lagopus lagopus
Many pairs and large families from Petkula to Batsfjordfjellet and elsewhere.
Capercaillie Tetrao urogallus
2 females with chicks at Pudasjärvi/FI and in Sompio Park.,
Crane Grus grus
Up to 9 near Store Mosse and a few near Avesta. That is all!
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
Up to 30 in the Varangerfjord area and elsewhere on the coast.
Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula tundrae
Dotterel Charadrius morinellus
1 Male with chicks on Kaunispää/Ivalo. Up to 3 females, 1 breeding male + 1 with chicks in Gednje area (study areas, precise location withheld).
Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria
Common in bogs and heather from Petkula up N
Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
Only south of the Arctic Circle.
Temminck's Stint Calidris Temminckii
Several localities : Vadsoya, Austertana-Batsfjord road, Hamningberg road, Tana valley.
Little Stint Calidris minuta
One pair on Vadsöya pond.
Dunlin Calidris alpina
Only a few in the Varangerfjord area. Breeds on fjell plateaus ( Skallelv, Hamningberg..) and Ekkeroya. About 100 at Nesseby in August.
Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima
Up to 8 on Ekkeröy, 1 breeding bird in Gednje area. .
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
Only one on Ekkeroy, late July.
Ruff Philomachus pugnax
Not very common north of the Arctic Circle; in the Varangerfjord area (22 on Vadsoya, a few on Ekkeroya and along Krampenes road, up to 9 in Gednje area....)
Woodcock Scolopax rusticola
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
Only recorded in the Varanger area, with a max of 30 at Nesseby, Ekkeroya and Vadsö. Breeds near Krampenes/Storskog.
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Small numbers seen at widespread localities, mainly fjell plateaus (Storskog.)
Curlew Numenius arquata
Only at Petkula bog.
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
Only a few (3-5) on Varanger coast , late July.
Redshank Tringa totanus
Up to 20 in the Varangerfjord area
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
Breeds in bogs at many localities.
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
1-2 at widespread localities, mainly rivers close to Arctic circle.
Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Up to 4 in the Varangerfjord and Gednje area; Breeds on Ekkeöya, W Skallelv, Skallneset, Golnes, Hamningberg area, ..
Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus
Recorded only in the Varangerfjord area, where max of180 on a pool at Vadsoya, 5 on Ekkeroy E pond and N shore.
Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus
Common in the Gednje/Varangerfjord area. (Skallelv, Krampenes plateaus...)
Long-tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus
Best places : Kongsfjord- and Batsfjordfjellet; near Krampenes on sea level; Food problems: there being no mountain lemmings.
Little Gull Larus minutus
Only near Boden/SWE.
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
Recorded in suitable places like Nesseby.
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
Suspicious-looking birds in Batsfjord harbour, at Skallneset and at Nesseby river mouth. Very pale outer primaries, typical pink/black beak. But size and proportions not entirely correct. Maybe another Herring gull hybrid
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 Hornöya.
Sabine's Gull Larus sabini
2 had been seen at Nesseby with Kittiwakes in early July. Search unsuccessful.
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.
Up to 8 at Hamningberg harbour. Colonies on Hornoya/Vardö and Syltefjordstauran.
Razorbill Alca torda
Only in Vardö area, 1 in Hamningberg.
Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle
Varangerfjord area, with most birds seen at Vardo, Hamningberg and Store Ekkeroya.
Puffin Fratercula arctica
Common at Vardo, a few off Hamningberg.
Little Auk Alle alle
One near Skallneset, about 10 off Nesseby in late July.
Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus
Common and widespread south of the Arctic Circle.
Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
not recorded in the extreme north.
Snowy Owl Nyctea scandiaca
One unconfirmed bird reported to be preying on Kittiwakes at Ekkeröy. 2 males (ad.+ imm.) in Gednje area.
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus
3, only in Tana and Kalix valley.
Great Grey Owl Strix nebulosa
A pair with 3 chicks near Boden.
Ural owl Strix uralensis
2 with 1 chick near Boden.
Hawk Owl Surnia Ulula
Only 2, 19 and 29 km N of Tana Bru. Unconfirmed report from Domen hill/Vardö.
Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides tridactylus
1, W Övertornea.
Skylark Alauda arvensis
Small numbers at scattered sites up to the Arctic Ocean (Hamningberg road/Persfjord!).
Shore lark - E.alpestris flava
Pairs with juv. on track W Krampenes (with juv.), others on Batsfjordfjell , etc.
Swift -Apus apus Mauersegler
Saw the first birds N of Arctic Circle near Petkula !
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
Small numbers recorded in widespread localities, most in theVarangerfjord area.
Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus
Much less common than last year.
Most recorded in the Varangerfjord area, best places : Ekkeroya + Vadsoya, Gednje, Batsfjord road.
Rock pipit Anthus petrosus
Uncommon, on Ekkeröy in maritime habitats.
Yellow Wagtail Motocilla flava
1-3 at Nesseby and in Pine Forests/Finld.
White Wagtail Motocilla alba
Common; recorded in many localities,
Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus
Less common than last year; only near Boden.
Bluethroat Luscinia svecica
Less common than previously, Nesseby, Vestre Jakobselv, Salttjern, Krampenes..
Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Only 1 at Tana Bru hotel.
Red-flanked Bluetail tarsinger cyanurus
Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
1-4 at scattered sites , most in the Varangerfjord and Gednje 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 (Kramvik) !
Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
Recorded almost daily.
Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis
5 reported from Sör-Varanger but none on North Coast..
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
1-2 in a few widely scattered localities.
Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca
None this year.
Siberian Tit Parus cinctus
Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor
1 on Petkula bog.
Siberian Jay Perisoreus infaustus
Only 1 near Kevo Nat.Park , S Utsjoki.
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 (Ekkeroya..).
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 Skallelv., Krampenes...
Siskin Carduelis spinus
Noted mainly in woodland sites S arctic Circle
Twite -Carduelis flavirostris -
2 families at Batsfjord harbour and in Kramvik.
Redpoll Carduelis flammea
Small numbers at widespread sites, mainly birch woodland.
Arctic Redpoll Carduelis hornemanni
3 second cal.y. birds at Storskog/Krampenes, in Salttjern and Indre Kiberg were our only sure records. Species not always easy to identify.
Parrot Crossbill - Loxia pytyopsittacus
Two-barred Crossbill - Loxia leucoptera.
Pine Grosbeak Pinicula enucleator
Lapland Bunting Calcarius lapponicus
Not very common this year; on tundra from Batsfjord to Skallelv and Ekkeröy..
Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis
Recorded only on high ground or marine tundra in the Gednje/Varangerfjord area. None on Ekkeröy.
Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
Recorded at widespread localities south of the Arctic Circle.
Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus
Noted at widely scattered localities.
Rustic Bunting Emberiza rustica
Only 1 male near Boden (Klarträsk/ Ljusa).
Moose - Alces alces
Only 2 roadside females near Boden and Haparanda.
Roe deer - Capreolus capreolus
Common at Store Mosse
Reindeer - Rangifer tarandus
Everywhere from Sodankylä to Hamningberg
Red fox - Vulpes vulpes
Many between Tana Bru and Hamningberg
Arctic fox - Alopex Lagopus
One was recorded IN Tana Bru by F.Desjardins. (Fur farm escape?
Brown Bear - Ursus arctos
At least 10 different bears at Martinselkonen Reserve.(Suomossalmi community)/F.
Badger - Meles meles
Many road victims in S and central Sweden.
Blue hare - Lepus timidus (Schneehase, Lièvre variable) :
Few; most in Finland, 1 on Vadsöya.
Common Seal Phoca vitulina
At least 1 on Varanger coast.
Grey Seal - Halichoerus grypus
Several near Persfjord/ Hamningberg,
Vole/ Mouse/ Lemming sp. :
less numerous than last year, but there must have been quite a few between Hamningberg and Neiden.
Hedgehog - Erinaceus europaeus
Some road victims in central and S Sweden.
Red Squirrel - Sciurus vulgaris
Live and dead animals in Sweden and FI.