Birding trip to Varanger Fjord – Norway

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Spring has arrived in Utsjoki!

Every day now we can hear birds singing and the sun is already warming our cheeks. One sunny Wednesday morning in the middle of March we packed our company´s van with lots of camera gear and joyful spirit. It was time to hit the road towards Norway and its blue skies and open fjord waters. We were on an important mission, to find birds! And not just any birds, something rare too was on the list. We had a lovely couple staying as our guests and they were enthusiastic bird watchers so a birding trip was a perfect way to spend a day outdoors.

Varanger Fjord in Norway. Photo Emilia Tuomi
Purple Sandpiper by Rayann Elzein Photography

The Varanger Fjord in Norway is one of the best locations here to do birding trips. There are several great places where different bird species winter because it is quite shallow and sheltered fjord. Due to the warmth of the Gulf Stream the fjord is kept ice free. Last summer we did a birding trip to Hornøya but now our goal was closer. During the day we visited Nesseby, Vestre Jakobselv and last but definitely not least Vadsø harbor which has a great birding shelter by the way.

The first stop in Nesseby was inspiring. We got a good start with White-tailed Eagle and sandpiper sighting. Not to forget several reindeer. In Vadsø we saw some eiders and ducks close by. On the drive back eagles showed up again.

White-tailed Eagle by Rayann Elzein Photography
Long-tailed Duck by Rayann Elzein Photography

In the end of the trip our list was nice and long. White-tailed Eagle, Common Eider, Steller´s Eider, Purple Sandpiper, Long-tailed Duck and different gulls to name the best ones. What we didn´t see this time was King Eider and some divers. One encounter with an otter was also listed. That was definitely a nice bonus!

Did you know that Steller´s Eider is a rare bird anywhere in the world? Varanger fjord is one of the easiest accessible places to see them during winter. On the contrary, Common Eiders are found in great numbers all year round in the harbor of Vadsø. Long-tailed Ducks are often seen there too. White-tailed eagle can be spotted regularly near the coastline. Although we didn’t see King Eider this time it´s still one of the main species to occur in Varanger fjord too.

Steller’s Eiders. Photo: Rayann Elzein Photography
Seagulls are common visitors in harbors. Photo Emilia Tuomi
Low tide at Vestre Jakobselv. Photo Emilia Tuomi

Let us know if you are interested in or planning a birding trip in the nearby areas, we are happy to help! The trip can be customized to suit your needs. Contact us by email and let us know if we can plan a birding trip for you.

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