Norwegian fishing village

Finland & Arctic Norway

May 18 - June 3, 2024

Leader: Jan Hansen

$8,195 from Oulu

Temminck's Stint

Temminck's Stint

A visit to Scandinavia may not be high on the bucket lists of many North American birders, but this new tour offering to Finland and the high Arctic regions of Norway may give many who have never previously considered such an adventure, reason to reconsider their upcoming travel priorities. The chance to see some of the Old World's most sought after avian species aside, the incredible landscapes we will pass through during this tour may be reason enough for you to consider adding these dates to your calendar. The tour will begin in the town of Oulu, situated in the vast taiga region of central Finland. To the uninitiated the extensive birch and pine forests in this part of the world may appear monotonous and uninspiring, but such an impression belies the richness of the flora and fauna that can be found there. Central Finland is especially rich in breeding owls and during our time there we will have the chance to see as many as 8 species including Great Gray, Northern Hawk, Boreal, Eurasian Pygmy, Ural and both Long-eared and Short-eared. However owls will not be the only draw. Several species of grouse dwell in these forests and if we are lucky we may see the spectacular courtship displays of Black Grouse and Western Capercaillie. Boreal woodpeckers will also be well represented here and will include Black, Eurasian Three-toed and White-backed. Finally, northern finches with a decidedly Old World flavor will be in abundance and will include among others, European Greenfinch, Eurasian Siskin, Common Rosefinch and Brambling. From Oulu we will travel east to Kuusamo for several nights where the birds will take on a Siberian flavor and will include species like Red-flanked Bluetail, Siberian Jay, Gray-headed Chickadee and Rustic Bunting. From Kuusamo we will drive north, crossing the Arctic Circle enroute, to Norway's Varanger Peninsula located on the rugged coast of the Barents Sea. The scenery here is absolutely spectacular studded with stunning sea cliffs, rocky fjords and a plethora of small offshore islands filled with innumerable breeding seabirds. The birding here is wonderful with White-tailed Eagles patrolling the coastal areas, breeding Bluethroats singing from willow thickets, Ruffs decked out in full breeding regalia displaying in roadside puddles and noisy Black-legged Kittiwakes sitting on their messy nests under the eaves of homes in every coastal Norwegian village. We will have nearly four full days to explore this high Arctic avian wonderland and on one of these days will take a short boat trip to a small island that is home to an excellent variety of nesting seabirds including Atlantic Puffin, Razorbill, Thick-billed Murre, Black Guillemot and European Shag. The birds here are often just an arm's length away from observers and the photo opportunities are endless and amazing. After four days of birding in this high Arctic environment, we will fly south to Helsinki, the capital of Finland, where we will spend the final few days of the tour. Located in far southern Finland, Helsinki will offer an entirely different set of birds than we will have encountered to this point. The climate here is more temperate and the habitats will include mixed deciduous forests, extensive marshes, agricultural fields and damp grasslands. Here we will have a chance to find birds more closely associated with Central Europe including Bearded Reedling, Gray-headed Woodpecker, Tawny Owl, Red-backed Shrike, Thrush Nightingale, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Broad-billed Sandpiper and River Warbler. Throughout the tour we will have access to the expert local knowledge of our Finnish co-leader and will stay in quaint and comfortable hotels close to the birding venues we will visit. Finally, though we will be birding in some of Europe's most remote wilderness areas, participants will be amazed by the quality of the roads and travel conditions, even well above the Arctic Circle. So in addition to an amazing list off birds, participants on this tour can expect to see some of northern Europe's most unspoiled and stunning scenery while traveling in a level of comfort not usually associated with the world's high Arctic regions. I hope you will consider joining us on this Scandinavian adventure.

Tour Map