Northern Finland To The Norwegian Border Fantastic Birds

We enjoyed wonderful views of this stunning male Bluethroat.

We said goodbye to our superb Finnish guide Tuomas and thanked him for finding all our target birds on the first leg of our Finland and Arctic Norway tour.

Now we were going to guide the second part and perhaps there was a tiny bit of nervousness in the group? No local guide? Would they still see all the birds they hoped for?

Early morning we were walking along a track through birch scrub, we knew this place well and soon heard a distant song, Little Bunting! We had tried for this bird earlier, knowing it was early for them to be back, and not seen them. Now could we find it? Yes, we could! A male Little Bunting was picked out high in a birch tree and we moved forward for better views. As we enjoyed this subtle little bird we spotted a second male singing nearby, just brilliant! Little Bunting are tricky to find so early in the Spring so we were elated to find them, the first ones in this area.

Pine Grosbeak Finland 2015

Male Pine Grosbeak poses for our cake eating group, does life get much better?

We drove north through beautiful forests and alongside gorgeous lakes. Stopping by one of the many lakes we walked into the forest a little way, another spot familiar to us, and soon found the hoped for Siberian Tit. This large tit showed really well in the sunshine and at times was almost overhead. Further north again and we stopped at a wonderful café that has well stocked bird feeders. The ground below the feeders was a mass of orange, black and white, Bramblings! So many with most in their smart breeding plumage, looking very different from the ones we see in winter in the UK. The Bramblings were stunning but not “the” bird we had come for. A quick scan of the branches above the mass of finches and bingo Pine Grosbeak and a handsome red male too! This monster finch, the size of a thrush, posed for us and we soon realised that there were at least five Grosbeaks here. The female Pine Grosbeak is a lovely grey and orange bird and we enjoyed wonderful close views as we tucked into doughnuts and coffee, perfect! A few Common Redpoll joined the feeding frenzy along with the cutest red squirrels right on the window ledge. A wonderful place that it was hard to leave.

Next morning we again drove north, this time heading for Norway and lots more amazing birds. At first we drove through forests again passing many lakes but then the trees became smaller and more birch than pine then open moorland type habitat. With the change in habitat we had a break, at a spot we often pause at, and quickly heard a Bluethroat singing. We followed the song to the edge of a lake where Little Gulls hawked for insects over the mirror like water. A bit of scanning and then we spotted the songster in a small birch tree. What a bird to see, a male Red-spotted Bluethroat in full song really showed off for us, a thrilling encounter. We watched this stunning Robin sized bird for ages and also enjoyed beautiful Grey-headed Wagtails, singing Bramblings, Wood Sandpipers and a Rough-legged Buzzard.

What a fantastic, crazy looking bird the male Ruff is in breeding plumage!

We set off north again but didn’t get far, Alun spotted some Ruff literally on the roadside, amazing. These spectacular males were “lekking” – displaying – right on the verge so close to us. To have views like this of Ruff in full-breeding plumage was just breath-taking and we spent a long time watching their crazy antics. Each male Ruff has a unique plumage pattern, the only species of bird to have this.

It was hard to make progress along this wonderful Arctic highway so much to see! On the way back, along this same stretch of road we watched a Hawk Owl and it was here in 2018 that we jammed in on a roadside Gyr Falcon! No wonder we love this tour so, so much!

We enjoyed breath-taking views of Hawk Owls on this years tour.

Gyr Falcon Finland 2018 1

We were so lucky to see this Gyr Falcon in 2018, we enjoyed them further north this year.

For details of our Finland and Arctic Norway Birdwatching Trip in 2020, or any of our tours, please email us here....

We look forward to enjoying amazing birds and wildlife with you soon!

Amongst the many highlights of this years tour, (2019), we enjoyed the following species of birds...

Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, White-billed Diver, Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Whooper Swan, Tundra Bean Goose, Taiga Bean Goose, King Eider, Garganey, Long-tailed Duck, Smew, White-tailed Eagle, Hen Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Rough-legged Buzzard, Osprey, Merlin, Hobby, Gyr Falcon, Hazel Grouse, Willow Grouse, Ptarmigan, Black Grouse, Capercaillie, Common Crane, Dotterel, Temminck's Stint, Purple Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, Ruff, Jack Snipe,Woodcock, Whimbrel, Spotted Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Long-tailed Skua, Little Gull, Glaucous Gull, Iceland Gull, Caspian Tern, Brunnich's Guillemot, Puffin, European Pygmy Owl, Great grey Owl photo above, Short-eared Owl, Hawk Owl, Tengmalm's Owl, Ural Owl, Wryneck, Black Woodpecker, Three-toed Woodpecker, Red-throated Pipit, Waxwing, Thrush Nightingale, Red-spotted Bluethroat, Red-flanked Bluetail, River Warbler, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Siberian Tit, Crested Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Siberian Jay, Rose-coloured Starling, Common Rosefinch, Arctic Redpoll, Pine Grosbeak, Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting, Little Bunting, Rustic Bunting.

We also enjoyed some amazing mammals too - brown bears, moose, minke whale and lemming amongst them.

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