Northern Finland and Arctic Norway June 2021

Saturday 5th - Sunday 13th June 2021

 

Contact us on info@birdwatchingtrips.co.uk for details of our 2021
Northern Finland & Arctic Norway Birdwatching Trip

 



Pine Grosbeak 1

Pine Grosbeak, one of our top target birds



Join us in Northern Finland and Arctic Norway to experience some of Europe’s finest birdwatching as we journey north of the Arctic Circle. Northern Europe holds some of the most sought-after species and we will be searching for the cream of these. We will be looking for very special birds indeed and our experience guiding here will ensure an excellent chance of encountering them. Species such as Hawk Owl, King Eider, Steller’s Eider, Pine Grosbeak, Bluethroat, Lapland Bunting, Shore Lark, Arctic Redpoll, Long-tailed Skua, Brünnich’s Guillemot, Red-necked Phalarope and Temminck’s Stint to name just a few. We also have a great record of finding rare birds in the beautiful wild landscape too including Gyr Falcon, Snowy Owl, Stejneger’s Scoter, Black-headed Wagtail and more!

We will travel north to Ivalo, Finland here visiting a variety of habitats including vast forests, lakes, rivers, marshes and moors to experience a wonderful mix of species. We will then cross the border into Norway and travel to the famous Varanger Fjord with its spectacular wild scenery and very special birds. Here we will take a boat trip out to an island with a huge breeding colony of seabirds including the much sought-after Brünnich’s Guillemot. The fjord also holds many other exciting species and we hope to see breeding-plumaged White-billed Divers, breeding Bluethroats, Red-throated Pipits and Arctic Redpolls. We hope to see around 140 species on this exciting trip.

Our tour is unique for only having six participants with two guides on the trip. This means that the whole group travels in one minibus, maximising the chances of everyone enjoying all the species encountered on the trip while travelling. Of course this makes for a far better experience when birding in the forests and all other habitats as our ratio of guides to guests is exceptionally high.

Siberian Jay 2015 4

Siberian Jays are as curious to see us as we are keen to see them!



Proposed Itinerary

Day 1:

The tour begins at Ivalo Airport, in Northern Finland, early afternoon. We transfer to our first hotel just a short drive away in Ivalo and after checking in, we will head out to look for our first exciting birds. A nearby lake may well hold Velvet Scoter, Smew, Red-necked Phalaropes, Wood Sandpipers and more. Overnight at Ivalo.

Day 2:

There will an optional pre-breakfast birding excursion to local woodlands to look for Little Bunting, Willow Grouse and more. After breakfast we drive north from Ivalo birding along the way when we might encounter Black-throated Divers, Whooper Swans, Siberian Tit, Siberian Jay, breeding-plumaged Ruff, Golden Plover, Little Gull and many more. Lunch will be taken at a café where we will look for Pine Grosbeak, a huge finch and a much sought-after species, and we may also enjoy superb views of red squirrels here. Overnight at Ivalo (optional post-supper birding is offered most nights on this trip).

Day 3:

Optional pre-breakfast birding. After breakfast, we check out and drive north towards Norway again birding along the way. We will keep our eyes peeled for Hawk Owls along this wonderful route through forests, past many lakes and over moors. Progress will be slow with lots of birding stops with so many birds to see in the spectacular scenery. We cross the high fells as we near our destination – Batsfjord. After dinner at our hotel in Batsfjord there will optional after-dinner birding either around the harbour or if the weather is fine, back on the fells. Overnight at Batsfjord.

Day 4:

Optional pre-breakfast birding. After breakfast, we drive west from Batsfjord first over fells and then following the coastline. Here we will search for sea-duck and divers hopefully including the impressive White-billed Diver. Bluethroats should be a regular sight and sound, plus masses of seabirds offshore with excellent chances of seeing Arctic, Long-tailed and Pomarine Skuas. Beaches and bays will be checked for migrant waders all in their smart breeding plumage. Overnight at Batsfjord.


Hawk Owl - owl or raptor? You decide!



Day 5:

Optional pre-breakfast birding. After breakfast, we head back over the fells this time heading towards Varanger Fjord, without doubt one of our favourite birding places in the world. As we cross the fells we keep our eyes peeled for Ptarmigan, Shore Lark, Lapland Bunting, Long-tailed Skua, and breeding waders which could include stunning Dotterel. When we reach the west end of Varanger Fjord we look for more sea-duck, waders and White-tailed Eagles. Overnight in Vadso.

Day 6 and Day 7:

Optional pre-breakfast birding. After a wonderful breakfast at our hotel we spend both these days exploring the fantastic Varanger Fjord with its spectacular scenery and birds to match. One day we will take a short boat ride, even Alan has never been seasick, to a magical bird island where we will be surrounded by thousands of breeding birds, also a chance of Gyr Falcon here. Other highlights will include Bluethroats, Arctic Redpolls, Shore Larks, Lapland Buntings, Red-throated Pipits, King Eider, chance of Steller’s Eider, White-billed Diver, Rough-legged Buzzard, many White-tailed Eagles, waders, terns, gulls and so much more! It really is a staggering place to enjoy birds and we know you will love it! Overnight in Vadso.

Day 8:

We make another early start in order to drive south back to Ivalo, in northern Finland. Of course, we will be making plenty of birding stops en route and if time permits, we will climb up a hill for the chance of Dotterel. A breath-taking walk, as much for the glorious views for miles around as for the climb itself. Our last night is in Ivalo in a comfortable riverside hotel.

Day 9:

After some optional pre-breakfast birding we have breakfast and then check out and transfer to Ivalo Airport where the tour concludes.

Norway border

Wild pristine landscapes in Arctic Norway



We try to offer as much variety of birding as possible during this tour. This means that we will be visiting some reserves with their boardwalks and viewing towers, birding by the roadside, following woodland trails, hiking up sometimes rough and steep forest tracks and forging our own way cross-country. Of course, with two guides and just six participants, we are able to offer options of sitting out particular activities if you think them unsuitable for you and a guide will always remain with you while the rest of the group continues with the activity.

We may encounter snow, and some areas may be boggy so sturdy waterproof footwear is essential. We do supply our Travellers Tips and packing suggestions ahead of the tour to give you an idea of what to bring, and we always strongly recommend you bring plenty of warm layers and heavy-duty waterproof jackets and waterproof trousers, hats and gloves with you. Sometimes the weather is warm and sunny even in the far north, but we will be high above the Arctic Circle, so do be prepared for extremely cold weather and snowy conditions at times. Thermals will be essential!

The accommodation we use is always clean and ranges from comfortable to extremely comfortable. You can be sure of a warm welcome and a warm temperature indoors wherever we stay, and all the hotel staff are English-speaking. Towels are provided throughout, and shower gel/shampoo and hairdryers are available everywhere. A laundry service is available at Ivalo and Vadso. We will enjoy our breakfasts and evening meals at the hotels and they are always plentiful and good. Lunches are not included on this trip to give you the flexibility to choose what you’d like to eat midday. The currency in Finland is the Euro (€) and in Norway is the Norwegian Krone (NOK), both are readily available in the UK.

Stellers Eider drake 10

Handsome drake Steller's Eider, what a stunner!



Our holiday includes 8 nights’ ensuite accommodation on a Dinner, Bed & Breakfast basis, guiding by Alan and Ruth during the trip, transport in a comfortable minibus during the tour, boat trip at Varanger Fjord (weather permitting), use of our field guide and top-of-the-range telescopes, and individual checklists of the birds we will be looking for.

The price of the trip is £2,250* per person based on two people sharing an ensuite twin or double room assuming we have our maximum of six participants on the trip. Sorry but we do have to pass on the single room supplement of £300*. This will be a small group with a maximum of six participants to ensure everyone has individual attention and the best chance of catching up with some of the very special forest birds. We will all be travelling together in the same vehicle at all times so you will not be separated from the rest of the group. Many other tour companies take much larger groups of up to 14 participants split across two vehicles, so do check carefully if you are comparing our trip with others.

*We will do our utmost to maintain prices but we reserve the right to adjust the final price if there should be any major currency fluctuations. This could of course work in your favour if we are able to reduce the price.

The cost does not include: international and internal flights (we will advise which internal flights you need to book and we can offer advice on international flights; we always book through Trailfinders who are able to get a better price for a combined internal and international ticket), personal travel insurance, lunches, alcoholic and additional drinks, travel to and from your UK airport, any items of a personal nature, tips for local guides and boatmen.

During our tour we will be looking for:

White-billed Diver, Tundra Bean Goose, King Eider, Steller’s Eider, Velvet Scoter, Smew, White-tailed Eagle, Goshawk, Rough-legged Buzzard, Golden Eagle, Gyr Falcon, Willow Grouse, Ptarmigan, Dotterel, Temminck’s Stint, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Long-tailed Skua, Little Gull, Glaucous Gull, Brünnich’s Guillemot, Black Guillemot, Puffin, Hawk Owl, Shore Lark, Red-throated Pipit, Waxwing, Bluethroat, Siberian Tit, Great Grey Shrike, Siberian Jay, Arctic Redpoll, Pine Grosbeak, Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting, Rustic Bunting, Little Bunting, and any other scarce or rare birds that we may encounter.

We hope that you are able to join us and if you have any questions about the trip, please email us on

info@birdwatchingtrips.co.uk

Good accommodation in the wilderness areas we will be visiting is very limited and we need to book quickly to ensure our places. We look forward to hearing from you and sharing Northern Finland and Arctic Norway’s fabulous birdlife with you!


Bluethroat really lives up to its name!



General Tour Information:

Difficulty:

Easy. This tour to Northern Finland and Arctic Norway is generally along level trails and tracks or close to our vehicle. We may include optional uphill hikes on trails over uneven terrain. You should be able to walk up to a mile unaided. We also take a very short 15 minute boat ride to Hornoya in Norway which involves a narrow gangplank and climbing into and out of a boat. Please contact us if you have any concerns over your participation.

Payment:

Payment can be made by cheque or electronic bank transfer. We ask for 20% deposit upon booking with the balance due by 70 days before travel. Full details are provided on our Booking Form. Please ensure you also see our Terms and Conditions and Booking Confirmation Statement which we will send out when we have received your deposit payment. We are compliant with the Packaged Travel Regulations 2018 and have Financial Failure Insurance in place to give you and your money the fullest possible protection.

Accommodation:

Accommodation will be in a lovely country house hotel. All bedrooms are ensuite. Please note that lifts are not available, but we are on hand to help you with your luggage should you wish.

Transport:

We will be travelling in a comfortable air-conditioned minibus throughout the trip.

Participants:

This tour will run with six guests. The tour will go ahead provided six guests have booked by 70 days before the start of the tour.



Visas:

At the time of writing, visas are not required for visitors to Norway or Finland from the UK or USA. If this situation should change, we will advise you as soon as possible.

Health and Coronavirus:

Travel and Medical Insurance is a requirement of this trip. We are constantly monitoring the situation regarding the impact of Coronavirus on travel to Finland and Norway and will advise if there are any specific requirements in relation to this tour. Please consult your own doctor for advice.



Cancellation:

Please see the full details on our Booking Form and our Terms and Conditions on our website here: Terms and Conditions. Please ask us if you would like us to send you a copy.

Travel and medical Insurance:

Please make sure you have the correct insurance cover in place for this tour before the start of the trip. We will ask you for your insurance policy company, your policy number and emergency claim telephone number for your policy before the tour starts.


Ruff stuff! An astonishing wader in its breeding plumage!





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