Guaranteed Christmas Delivery for all orders placed by 09:00 am EST on 12/16/19
NEWS

Birding on the Varanger peninsula in summer

July 15 2016

#Travel experience #Bird watching

Birding on the Varanger peninsula in summer
Birding on the Varanger peninsula in summer
Birding on the Varanger peninsula in summer
Birding on the Varanger peninsula in summer
Birding on the Varanger peninsula in summer
Birding on the Varanger peninsula in summer
Birding on the Varanger peninsula in summer
Birding on the Varanger peninsula in summer
  • Birding on the Varanger peninsula in summer
  • Birding on the Varanger peninsula in summer
  • Birding on the Varanger peninsula in summer
  • Birding on the Varanger peninsula in summer
  • Birding on the Varanger peninsula in summer
  • Birding on the Varanger peninsula in summer
  • Birding on the Varanger peninsula in summer
  • Birding on the Varanger peninsula in summer
  • For quite some time, Norway's Varanger peninsula has been rising high as a much desired European birdwatching destination. It was time for me too, to check out never-ending days, impressive bird cliffs, breathtaking landscapes and Arctic Redpolls – Varanger in summer.

    Famed as „the worlds easiest accessible arctic birding destination“, Varanger attracts birdwatchers with a wide variety of mouth-watering species. While the alleged main stars – huge flocks of overwintering Steller's Eiders and King Eiders - leave the area by spring, the breeding season offers unique birdwatching opportunities in stunning sceneries as well.

    The birder friendly hotel in Vadsø served as a superb platform to explore the arctic coastline. Wrapped in a warm jacket and equipped with my trusted Swarovski Optik EL50 and ATX85 I first checked the birds just around my stay, on the small island of Vadsøya. I was surprised to immediately find several arctic beauties performing well in front of my scope! Some late King and Steller's Eiders were swimming close to the shore, where hundreds of Black-legged Kittiwakes and arctic waders such as Bar-tailed Godwit and Red Knot were roosting.

    In the freshwater pools of the area, the amazing Red-necked Phalarope was a common breeding bird and I was lucky to observe courtship and mating of this species with „reversed“ gender roles. Ruffs could be seen in full breeding plumage at their famous lekking sites in the tundra further inland - side by side with Common and Arctic Redpolls which frequented the scattered bushes and gave a welcome identification challenge.

    Special highlights along the coast where the magnificent seabird colonies. Most well known is the island of Hornøya off the coast of Vardø, where approximately 100.000 birds come together to breed. The list of species easily observed there is impressive: Brünnich's Guillemot, Puffin, Common Guillemot (including birds of the subspecies hyperborea), Razorbill, Shag, White-tailed Eagle, Rock Pipit and Red-throated Pipit are among the commonest birds and even Gyr Falcons regularly drop by to get some food.

    My days on Varanger were amazing but much too short as usual. If you plan to visit this magic place, please take enough time to fully appreciate the wonders of the arctic!

     

    About the author

    Leander Khil is an ornithologist, birdwatcher and wildlife photographer from Graz, Austria. Driven by his love for birds, adventure and the outdoors he travels the world since he was a child. Visit his webpage at www.leanderkhil.com

     

    Back to Top