Finland And Arctic Norway Birdwatching Trips Tour May June 2022

Seeing breeding plumaged Ruff displaying up close just one of so many highlights on this wonderful tour!

We have just returned from a wonderful two-week Birdwatching Trips Tour in Finland and Arctic Norway where we enjoyed over 200 species of birds. The encounters we enjoyed with the amazing birds in such stunning locations have made lasting memories. Huge thanks to Helen and Gary, Chris and Mike, Sharon and Lois for making it such a wonderful tour.

A few highlights we enjoyed are listed below hopefully we will be able to post lots more pictures and blogs soon.

May 21 2022

This Icterine Warbler showed off singing above us on day one of the tour.

We began the tour in Helsinki, meeting up with our local guide Touku, and enjoying some birding close to the city before heading north. We had some very nice “bonus” birds including a singing Firecrest – rare in Finland, Caspian Terns, a very showy Icterine Warbler and two Tawny Owls the first of seven species of owls enjoyed on the tour. That evening we added Ural Owl to that list.

May 22 2022

This Grey-headed Woodpecker posed in the sunshine for us - superb bird.

Birding started in the hotel grounds with Black Woodpecker, Wryneck and Common Rosefinch before breakfast – you know it is going to be a good day. This was followed by our best ever views of Grey-headed Woodpecker and breeding plumaged Slavonian Grebes just yards away such gorgeous birds. We watched a Goshawk soar above us and three Hobby hunting for insects then wonderful views of a singing Thrush Nightingale.

May 23 2022

Before moving on further north we enjoyed White-backed Woodpecker and brief views of a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Mostly a driving day as we reached Oulu on the Baltic Coast but we did see four Short-eared Owls alog the way and such “regular” birds as Common Crane, Whooper Swan and Black Woodpecker!

May 24 2022

This beautiful Great Grey Owl peered down at us oh what a wonderful bird!

What a day! We started on the coast with a host of waders including breeding plumaged Ruff, Little Stints, Wood Sandpiper and many more. Great sightings of White-tailed Eagles here including being mobbed by Marsh Harriers. We found a Pallid Harrier in an area of wet fields then headed north. We were thrilled to see three species of owls in this new area near the Swedish border. First came a wonderful Tengmalm’s Owl that was nesting in a friend of ours' garden! Then perhaps the ultimate owl – Great Grey Owl and oh what a bird! We enjoyed fantastic views of this most beautiful bird and were all elated at the encounter. Then just a few miles away we watched a pair of Hawk Owls with recently fledged young – another fantastic encounter they just keep coming on this tour. We then headed east to Kuusamo for three nights.

May 25 and 26 2022

This gorgeous Siberian Jay showed off for us in an area of wonderful old forest.

Wonderful birding around Kuusamo with so many great birds encountered and the great weather continued too so lucky this year. Sadly Lois was taken ill, a pre-exiisting condition, and was unable to continue the tour. Luckily with our tours we have more than one guide so Ruth was able to stay with Lois and ensure she had the best possible treatment and arrange her travel home. Ruth later flew north to re-join the tour, had we only had one guide on the tour it would have been delayed and possibly cancelled as of course Lois needed the best possible care. The birds came thick and fast in this amazing area and just a few of the highlights included great views of Capercailles, singing Rustic and Little Buntings, singing male Red-flanked Bluetail, fantastic encounters with Siberian Jays, displaying Black Grouse and so much more!

May 27 2022

We headed north for Ivalo, without Ruth and Lois sadly, and again enjoyed super views of Rustic and Little Buntings before leaving Kuusamo. On the journey north we picked up another wonderful bonus bird with a Nutcracker! Other highlights this day included crossing the Arctic Circle and a visit to the Andy McNab statute which our local guide Touku was very excited about, the rest of us went along!

May 28 2022

We enjoyed a wonderful encounter with this female Capercaillie near Ivalo - photo by Gary Evan Smith.

We said good-bye to Touku as he flew back south early morning and Alan guided the group as Ruth was still with Lois. The birding around Ivalo is always amazing and we enjoyed super views of impressive Pine Grosbeaks at close range along with both Siberian and Willow Tits and oh so many breeding plumaged Brambling. Great views of a drake Velvet Scoter and a self-found Hawk Owl and flock of Taiga Bean Geese were all added to the impressive trip list.

May 29 2022

Ruth flew into Ivalo early morning, and we all headed north for Norway. On the way we again enjoyed super views of Pine Grosbeak and Siberian Tit. At an estuary we watched a Rough-legged Buzzard mobbing a huge White-tailed Eagle and new birds came thick and fast including Arctic Skuas, Sanderling and a lovely breeding plumaged Red-throated Pipit.

The views of displaying Ruff were just fantastic on this tour a major highlight for everyone.

Crossing into Norway we climbed up on to the snow covered fjells (fells) where we encountered the first singing male Bluethroat. It was stunning scenery and especially under the blue sky, small areas free of snow held breeding plumages waders including spectacular Ruff, European Golden Plover, Temminck’s Stints and also beautiful Long-tailed Skuas what a place!

Dropping down off the hills we reached Batsfjord our base for two nights and enjoyed Purple Sandpipers and Long-tailed Ducks in the harbour under the sun that didn’t set.

May 30 2022

A full day exploring this Arctic area and enjoying wonderful birds and again superb weather. We were amazed by the number of King Eider we found, first three birds which we were thrilled to see but finished the day with a total of over 200!! Other highlights included Tundra Bean Geese, Lapland Buntings, Shore Larks, Red-necked Phalaropes and a surprise northerly Common Rosefinch.

May 31 2022

We drove back over the Fjells and enjoyed great views of five Rock Ptarmigan, more Shore Larks, Lapland Buntings, amazing views of lekking Ruff, Long-tailed Skuas and singing Bluethroat.

Then we drove to Varanger Fjord for a three night stay. When we arrived the weather had become cloudy and windy but luckily soon cleared and back to sunshine in the afternoon. So many White-tailed Eagles and great to see lots of Rough-legged Buzzards too. Super views of Red-necked Phalaropes on a small pool were another highlight as masses of Kittiwakes fed offshore pursued by Arctic Skuas. A minke whale surfaced just offshore and many Arctic hares were enjoyed here. But THE highlight was an awesome Gyr Falcon sparring with two Arctic Skuas over the moorland so lucky to encounter this ultimate raptor.

June 1 2022

Today we headed for “bird island” a fantastic sea bird colony in the fjord and always one of the highlights of our Finland and Arctic Norway tours. It is only a very short boat trip out to the island and we enjoyed the fantastic sight of this sea-bird city. Thousands of Kittiwakes nest here and the noise is wonderful. Lots of Atlantic Puffins were posing for photos in the glorious sunshine – we were too hot! Above us Brunnich’s Guillemots were on the cliffs alongside Common Guillemots and Razorbills while Shags were literally at our feet. Two Twite showed briefly and White-tailed Eagles, Arctic Skuas and Ravens all looked for meals around the packed cliff faces what a wonderful place.

June 2 2022

A full day exploring the coastline of Varanger Fjord in all its scenic glory and again in glorious sunshine under the bluest sky. Despite nearing the end of the trip we added an impressive six new species of bird. Three Pink-footed Geese were in coastal fields, we found a first summer Glaucous Gull in a roadside pool showing very well indeed. Then a tip off from our friend Hannu led to us seeing two White-billed Divers, a Great Northern Diver and a singing male Ring Ouzel all close to one spot! Add to these singing male Bluethroats, Tundra Bean Geese, masses of Long-tailed Ducks, more White-tailed Eagles and Rough-legged Buzzards, hundreds of Purple Sandpipers, Temminck’s Stints, Wood Sandpipers, our first Hen Harrier of the trip and so much stunning scenery it was a mind-blowing day!

June 3 2022 Sadly we said good-bye to Varanger Fjord such an awesome place to enjoy birds and headed south back to Ivalo. For once the weather was not so good but we could not complain after such glorious conditions for the majority of the tour. Of course we did enjoy more birds along the way including Rough-legged Buzzards, Pine Grosbeaks, Siberian Tit, drake Smew and more. We also encountered three moose on the way south such huge animals.

We then took a flight south to Helsinki where the tour ended. A wonderful adventure packed with amazing birds. Our 2023 Finland and Arctic Norway Tour is already fully booked do contact us if you would like to join us in 2024.

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